StepChange welcomes mortgage holiday extension and asks “what about tenants?”

StepChange Debt Charity welcomes today’s proposals from the Financial Conduct Authority to extend the window for mortgage borrowers whose finances are negatively affected by coronavirus to apply for a payment holiday to 31 October. The charity also welcomes the clear expectation set out by the FCA to firms that those who continue to need help should continue to get help, after their initial 3-month payment holiday ends.

StepChange Head of Policy Peter Tutton says: “Given that there will undoubtedly be people currently furloughed who are subsequently made redundant, it’s very clear that some mortgage holders who are going to need help perhaps don’t even realise it yet. This extension is therefore essential. At the same time, a further temporary extension also makes sense for others who are unable to get back to their normal financial situation as soon as they had hoped, but who will do before long. We strongly support firms signposting all negatively affected customers to debt advice: charities like StepChange can help people think through their whole financial situation, not just their mortgage.

“The mortgage extension does beg the question about whether similar interventions will be forthcoming from the Government to protect tenants in a similar way. The FCA cites “keeping a roof over people’s heads during a public health crisis” as part of its rationale for intervention, and this applies as much in the rented sector as to the mortgage sector.”