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FCA to extend property repossessions ban until April

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  • 13/01/2021
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FCA to extend property repossessions ban until April
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is planning to extend its ban on mortgage repossessions to 1 April.

 

The regulator said this takes account of the worsening coronavirus situation and the government’s tighter coronavirus-related restrictions, which mean consumers could experience significant harm if forced to move home as a result of repossession.

The regulator recognised there were also government bans on evictions in some nations, which could prevent firms from enforcing home repossessions.

The FCA is inviting comments on the proposals until 10am on 18 January with a view to updating the guidance before the current iteration expires on 31 January.

“We want to act quickly to continue to protect consumers in these difficult times,” the FCA said.

“We consider that the delay involved in publishing a formal consultation accompanied by a cost benefit analysis would be prejudicial to consumers’ interests. We are therefore not doing so.”

The current guidance on mortgage repossessions, last updated in November, means firms should not enforce repossessions before 31 January 2021 except in exceptional circumstances, such as a customer requesting that proceedings continue.

The November guidance also tackled how firms should handle borrowers taking payment deferrals or coming into arrears or under financial pressure during the pandemic.

Furthermore, it urged second charge lenders to consider cutting interest rates and potentially even remove interest altogether for borrowers requesting payment holidays.

And it set out how lenders should report consumer borrowing and deferrals to credit reference agencies, emphasising that firms should ensure they are clear about the credit file implications of any forms of support they offer customers, including rescheduling or refinancing of accounts.

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