The Financial Conduct Authority has provided an update on support for consumers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The guidance reveals that firms should not enforce mortgage repossessions, except in exceptional circumstances, before 1 April 2021.
From 1 April, firms can enforce repossessions, but only if they act in accordance with the FCA’s guidance, and regulatory requirements, which mean that repossession should only take place as a last resort if all other reasonable attempts to resolve the position have failed.
Firms will also need to comply with any relevant legislative requirements, which may prevent firms from enforcing repossession in certain parts of the UK.
The FCA is seeking comment on these proposals by 10am on 10 March 2021.
Looking to consumer credit, in January, the FCA updated its credit Tailored Support Guidance so that firms were able to repossess goods and vehicles from 31 January 2021.
However, only as a last resort, and in accordance with all relevant government public health guidelines and regulations, including social distancing and shielding, when taking possession.
Furthermore the FCA outlines that the deadline for applications for new payment deferrals under the Payment Deferral Guidance (PDG) is 31 March 2021.
Only consumers still in a payment deferral (under the PDG) on 31 March will be able to extend their payment deferral beyond that date.
All deferrals under that guidance will end by 31 July 2021 at the latest.
From 1 April 2021, consumers who are newly impacted by coronavirus or who find themselves impacted again, whether or not they have previously had a payment deferral, should receive support from their lender in the form of tailored support under the TSG, which reflects their individual needs and circumstances.
According to the FCA, this could include short-term support such as a payment deferral, if it is appropriate, although this would be subject to normal credit reporting.
Looking to the implementation of the TSG, the FCA said it intends to continue to monitor and supervise how firms are implementing its guidance, to ensure that they continue to provide consumers with support that reflects the challenges that they face.
As well as this, it will publish the findings of its initial supervisory work in this area by the end of March.
Phil Bailey, director at Twenty7Tec, said: “Bank of England figures clearly showing the ongoing demand and need for mortgages in the UK. Broker activity in 2021 is already reaching new highs over the previous year, even prior to the pandemic.
“The growing number of available mortgage products in the market is also showing the increased confidence lenders have, reaching their highest level since pre-COVID.
“We expect this appetite and increased demand to continue as buyers, home movers and even lenders look for one more chance to benefit from the stamp duty reduction.”