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News & Updates

When does the stamp duty holiday end?

The chancellor's policy of suspending of stamp duty on the first £500,000 of all property sales in England and Northern Ireland has helped boost house prices.

August saw the highest monthly price rise in more than 16 years, says the Nationwide. It describes the housing market recovery as "unexpectedly rapid".

So what has Chancellor Rishi Sunak done to try to help homebuyers?

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax paid by people buying properties, although it varies slightly across the UK.

In England and Northern Ireland buyers pay Stamp Duty Land Tax.

In Scotland it is Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, while in Wales buyers pay Land Transaction Tax.

The amount handed to the government depends on where you are in the UK, and the price of the property.

The changes to stamp duty only apply to buyers in England and Northern Ireland.

What has changed?

The government has temporarily increased the stamp duty threshold to £500,000 for property sales in England and Northern Ireland, until 31 March 2021,

Anyone completing on a main residence costing up to £500,000 before then will not pay any stamp duty, and more expensive properties will only be taxed on their value above that amount.

This will save buyers as much as £15,000, if they are buying a property of £500,000 or more.

The move was aimed at helping buyers who have taken a financial hit because of the coronavirus crisis.

It was also intended to boost a property market hit by lockdown, which - according to the Halifax - saw house prices fall for four months in a row.

The average stamp duty bill will drop by £4,500, Mr Sunak has suggested, with nearly nine out of 10 people buying a main home this year paying no stamp duty at all.

However, critics worry it could encourage people who were planning to buy next year to accelerate their plans to take advantage of the tax break. This could lead to a slump in demand when the tax break ends.

woman looking at houses for saleImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

How much stamp duty will I pay now?

If the property purchased is your main home, you won't pay any stamp duty on it at all if it costs £500,000 or less.

The next portion of the property's price (£500,001 to £925,000) will be taxed at 5%, and the £575,000 after that (£925,001 to £1.5m) at 10%.

The remaining amount (over £1.5 million) will be taxed at 12%. You can calculate how much you are liable to pay here.

Before the announcement, stamp duty in England and Northern Ireland was paid on land or property sold for £125,000 or more, while first-time buyers did not pay any stamp duty up to £300,000. But this stamp duty holiday replaces the first-time buyer discount.

Landlords and second home buyers are also eligible for the tax cut but will still have to pay the extra 3% of stamp duty they were charged under the previous rules.

Table of stamp duty rates

What about Scotland and Wales?

In Scotland, the rates on Land and Buildings Transaction Tax are 2% on £145,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£325,000, 10% on £325,001-£750,000, and 12% on any value above £750,000.

Scottish landlords pay an extra 4% Land and Buildings Transaction Tax on top of standard rates.

In Wales, the rates on Land Transaction Tax are 3.5% on £180,001-£250,000, 5% on £250,001-£400,000, 7.5% on £400,001-£750,000, 10% on £750,001-£1.5m, and 12% on any value above £1.5m.

Welsh landlords pay an extra 3% Land Transaction Tax on top of standard rates.

Family being shown around a houseImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

How much does stamp duty raise?

The government's annual take from stamp duty is around £12bn, according to the latest figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

That's roughly equivalent to 2% of the Treasury's total tax take.

The nine-month stamp duty holiday in England and Northern Ireland - from July 2020 to March 2021 - will cost the Treasury an estimated £3.8bn.

Innovator visa

Overview

You can apply for an Innovator visa if:

Funds you’ll need

You must have at least £50,000 in investment funds if you want to set up a new business. You do not need funds if either:

  • your business is already established and has been endorsed for an earlier visa 

  • you’ve changed your business and already agreed it with your endorsing body

Getting endorsed

You must be able to show that your business idea is:

  • new - you cannot join or invest in a business that is already trading
  • innovative - you must have an original business idea which is different from anything else on the market
  • viable, with potential for growth

Read the endorsing bodies list - you should only approach ones that are suitable for your business idea.

How long it takes to get a visa

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before you travel.

ExampleYou can apply from 16 March if you plan to travel on 15 June.

You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks when you apply from outside the UK.

Find out about paying for a faster decision.

Fees

How much you pay for an Innovator visa depends on your situation and where you apply from.

Who you’re applying for Apply (outside the UK) Extend or switch (in the UK) You £1,021 £1,277 You (if you’re from Turkey or Macedonia) £966 £1,222 All dependants £1,021 each person £1,277 each person

Healthcare surcharge

You’ll also have to pay the healthcare surcharge as part of your application. Check how much you’ll have to pay before you apply.

If you’re applying to extend or switch in the UK

You’ll need to pay £19.20 to have your biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) taken.

How long you can stay

You can stay for 3 years if you:

You can apply to extend for another 3 years when your visa is due to expire. There’s no limit on the number of times you can extend.

You may be able to apply for settlement (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’) once you’ve been in the UK for 3 years.

If your endorsement is withdrawn

Your visa may be cut short if your endorsement is withdrawn. If you want to stay longer, you must re-apply with a new endorsement before your current visa expires.

What you can and cannot do

You can:

  • set up a business or several businesses
  • work for your business - this includes being employed as a director, or self-employed as a member of a business partnership
  • bring family members with you

#Solicitors #Leicester #Hounslow #Immigration #Wills&Probate #LegalAdvice #FamilyLaw #PropertyLaw #Matrimonial #SaifeeSolicitors

source:https://www.gov.uk/innovator-visa

You cannot:

  • do any work outside your business, for example work where you’re employed by another business
  • work as a doctor or dentist in training
  • work as a professional sportsperson, for example a sports coach
  • get public funds
Coronavirus: Wills witnessed by video link to be made legal

Wills witnessed remotely via video link will become legal in England and Wales to make it easier for people to record their final wishes during the pandemic.

The change to the law will be backdated to 31 January, the date of the first confirmed coronavirus case in the UK, the government said.

It means any will witnessed remotely from that date onwards will be legally accepted.

This measure will remain in place until January 2022.

The time period could be shortened or extended if deemed necessary, the Ministry of Justice said.

Under the current law, a will must be made in the physical presence of at least two witnesses but social distancing measures have made this difficult.


For a will to be legally valid, as the law stands you must:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Make it voluntarily
  • Be of sound mind
  • Make it in writing
  • Sign it in the presence of two witnesses who are both over 18
  • Have it signed by your two witnesses, in your presence
  • You cannot leave your witnesses (or their married partners) anything in your will

During lockdown, lots of people have turned to video conferencing software as a communication solution, using platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime.

Ministers said wills witnessed using this sort of technology would be deemed legal, as long as the quality of the sound and video was sufficient to see and hear what was happening at the time.

The change to the legislation to include video-witnessing of wills will be made in September.

Two witnesses - who are not beneficiaries - will still be required, helping to protect people against undue influence and fraud, the government said. Electronic signatures will not be permitted.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said: "We know that the pandemic has made this process more difficult, which is why we are changing law to ensure that wills witnessed via video technology are legally recognised.

"Our measures will give peace of mind to many that their last wishes can still be recorded during this challenging time, while continuing to protect the elderly and vulnerable."

However, the government said the use of video technology should remain a last resort and people must continue to arrange physical witnessing of wills where it was safe to do so.

Wills witnessed through windows are already considered legitimate, provided there is clear sight of the person signing it.

Emily Deane, technical counsel at Step, a professional body comprising lawyers and accountants, said: "We are delighted that the government has responded to the industry's calls to allow will witnessing over video conference.

"By removing the need for any physical witnesses, wills can continue to be drawn up efficiently, effectively and safely by those isolating."

She also welcomed the move to apply the change retrospectively, saying it would provide reassurance to anyone who had had no choice but to execute a will in this manner prior to this legislation being enacted.

source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53530228

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Stamp Duty Land Tax: temporary reduced rates

Reduced rates of Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) will apply for residential properties purchased from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021 inclusive.

 

Published 8 July 2020 From:  

Contents

  1. Residential Rates on purchases from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021
  2. Higher rates for additional properties
  3. New leasehold sales and transfers

Residential Rates on purchases from 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021

If you purchase a residential property between 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, you only start to pay SDLT on the amount that you pay for the property above £500,000. These rates apply whether you are buying your first home or have owned property before.

You can use the table to work out the SDLT due:

Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,000 Zero The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 5% The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 10% The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 12%

From 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021 the special rules for first time buyers are replaced by the reduced rates set out above.

Use the SDLT calculator to work out how much tax you’ll pay.

Higher rates for additional properties

The 3% higher rate for purchases of additional dwellings applies on top of revised standard rates above for the period 8 July 2020 to 31 March 2021.

The following rates apply:

Property or lease premium or transfer value SDLT rate Up to £500,000 3% The next £425,000 (the portion from £500,001 to £925,000) 8% The next £575,000 (the portion from £925,001 to £1.5 million) 13% The remaining amount (the portion above £1.5 million) 15%

New leasehold sales and transfers

The nil rate band which applies to the ‘net present value’ of any rents payable for residential property is also increased to £500,000 from 8 July 2020 until 31 March 2021.

The following rates will apply:

Net Present Value of any Rent SDLT rate Up to £500,000 Zero Over £500,000 1%

Companies as well as individuals buying residential property worth less than £500,000 will also benefit from these changes, as will companies that buy residential property of any value where they meet the relief conditions from the corporate 15% SDLT charge.

On the 1 April 2021 the reduced rates shown in the above tables will revert to the rates of SDLT that were in place prior to 8 July 2020.

Published 8 July 2020
Home Office does not know how many people are in UK illegally, National Audit Office report finds

An estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the UK has not been produced for 15 years, the National Audit Office says.

An up-to-date estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom has not been produced for 15 years, according to a report.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said the last estimate in 2005 suggested there were around 430,000 people in the country with no right to remain.

 

But independent research since has put the figure at more than one million, Whitehall's spending watchdog said.

Priti Patel says over eight million people are economically inactive           February: Priti Patel on immigration overhaul

The NAO's report into the Home Office's immigration enforcement directorate said the department had estimated demand for immigration enforcement activity.

This was put at between 240,000 and 320,000 cases a year.

 

But the report said there was no baseline given against which progress can be measured or to demonstrate whether demand is rising or falling.

The watchdog concluded that despite collecting information around its mission and objectives, the Home Office often cannot demonstrate whether its measures are working.

source: https://news.sky.com/story/home-office-does-not-know-how-many-people-are-in-uk-illegally-national-audit-office-report-finds-12008373

Coronavirus Q&A: Family law

Common questions answered around family and children’s law during the Covid-19 outbreak

Q. How is the outbreak affecting domestic abuse victims and their ability to access the help they need?

A. The Covid-19 lockdown has had a devastating effect on domestic abuse victims and their ability to seek help.

 

Refuge has reported a 25% increase in calls to the national domestic abuse helpline. A high number of deaths have also been reported and it is likely this will increase as isolation measures continue.

 

The government’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ campaign – to raise public awareness of domestic abuse and signpost resources – and investment in domestic abuse helplines is welcome but there is still much more to be done.

 

It is encouraging to see government guidance for emergency injunctions – which stop abusers harming or threatening victims – now acknowledges that victims may not be able to get time and space away from their abuser to fill in an application, provide a witness statements and attend a telephone hearing.

 

However, strict legal aid criteria leave many victims navigating the process unrepresented. Making non-means tested legal aid available for domestic abuse cases would allow all victims access to legal support.

 

The government should further relax the usual ’gateway’ evidence requirements during the pandemic so that solicitors – as well as doctors and other professionals – can certify an individual has experienced domestic abuse, allowing them access to legal aid. Doctors and other frontline professionals are simply too busy to provide evidence at this time.

 

The Covid-19 lockdown is an incredibly dangerous time for domestic abuse victims and now more than ever, they must be able to access the help and support they need.

 

Every effort must be made to put the necessary funding into refuges and accommodation – giving victims and their children a space they can feel safe in during this pandemic.

 

The national domestic abuse helpline number is 0808 2000 247.

 

Q. If I have a shared custody agreement, can I still take my child to see their other parent?

A. Yes, the government has announced that children under 18 who have separated parents are free to go between households.

 

However, this becomes more complicated if the child has to go into isolation because they or someone in their home are displaying Covid-19 symptoms, or if one parent is in an ‘at risk’ category.

 

Family Courts still encourage parents with contact orders to stick to those orders as far as they can, including by finding creative alternatives. For example, using FaceTime or other forms of remote contact if face-to-face interactions are not possible.

 

In all circumstances, parents should consider the welfare interests of their child and work together to find the best solution in line with the government’s isolation guidelines.

 

Q. How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect those going through the divorce process?

A. Divorces can still be issued online in the usual way. They can - in principle - proceed online all the way to decree absolute and if the couple has no children or money issues (not forgetting property and pensions) this may suit them very well; divorce itself is an administrative process, after all.

 

If the separating couple needs to ask the court to consider any aspect of their divorce, they could encounter delay. Courts are currently having to prioritise their work and some categories are deemed ‘essential’ while others are not. If the court can deal with a case it is likely to do so remotely – as long as this will not prejudice a fair hearing.

 

Divorce and separation are stressful processes and being forced by public health restrictions to live together with your soon-to-be ‘ex’ may not be easy. If separating couples need advice on any aspect of their relationship breakdown, they should contact a solicitor. Most solicitors firms are providing a full range of legal services, albeit remotely for now.

 

 

Q. How is the Covid-19 lockdown affecting children’s care proceedings?

A. The protection of vulnerable children is a continuing, critical concern for professionals working in the field. Local authorities have adopted protocols to protect the health of their staff as well as the families they work with – allowing social workers’ visits and checks to continue as safely as they can.

 

The ‘lockdown’ undoubtedly places extra pressures on families already under strain. Schools stayed open for children who are under child protection, but only a minority of eligible children have been turning up. This means that, worryingly, an important layer of safeguarding for these children has been removed.

 

In short, local authorities remain busy with all aspects of child protection work, including public law proceedings, which are still going ahead via remote hearings.

 

As a necessary alternative during the pandemic, this can be a little unsatisfactory: parents often need extra help with the court process and with everyone ‘dialling in’ separately from their own home or laptop, this might not be available.

 

If someone’s child is being removed from their care, or even adopted, they may feel understandably let down if they cannot participate to their fullest within the court process. The family courts are alive to these problems and research is underway which should quickly lead to clear guidance about which cases may be conducted remotely, and which cannot.

 

For other types of events, such as Public Law Outline (PLO) meetings, local authorities and solicitors continue to work together to make it possible for parents to participate, with support.

 

Where a parent should be having contact with their child in care, and face-to-face contact is impossible because of Covid-19, social workers will work with parents and carers to find alternatives, such as Zoom or WhatsApp.

 

All those who work in this area understand that, for a parent, this type of case is one the hardest things they’ll ever have encountered, as the stakes could not be higher.

 

If you are the parent of a child subject to the PLO process or a court application brought by a local authority, you are automatically entitled to legal aid. Contact a solicitor on the Law Society’s children’s panel to access expert legal help.

 

source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice-points/coronavirus-qanda-family-law/5104009.article

 

Wills & Lasting Powers of Attorney

 

WILLS

We can draft a will which allows you to set out exactly how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death. This ensures that your wishes are adhered to when you pass on

 

LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’). There are two different powers – one for health and one for finance /property

 

Here at Saifee Solicitors, we can help you prepare any type of will or power of attorney. Please contact Husein on 07539 456 528 or 07908 414 420

#Solicitors #Leicester #Hounslow #Immigration #Wills&Probate #LegalAdvice #FamilyLaw #PropertyLaw #Matrimonial #SaifeeSolicitors

Coronavirus: Renters threatened with eviction 'should stay put'

People living in rented accommodation in England and Wales who have received an eviction notice have been urged not to move out.

The government announced a three month ban on evictions as part of emergency coronavirus legislation.

But the ban only covered new eviction proceedings, not people already in the court system.

Last week, ministers caved in to pressure from Labour and charities and announced a complete ban on evictions.

The courts in England and Wales have been instructed to "suspend all ongoing housing possession action", the government said in a statement.

The suspension "will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed", the statement added, with all private and social renters, as well those with mortgages, to be protected.

'Good news'

The move is thought likely to affect about 20,000 people who had been facing repossession.

In Scotland, MSPs are planning introduce a temporary ban on evictions in their emergency coronavirus legislation, but it will only covers new evictions, not people already facing court proceedings.

Housing charity Shelter fears some people in England and Wales, who might not be aware of their rights, are still being forced out of their homes by their landlords.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: "The government's blanket ban on evictions is good news for millions of renters who can now safely remain in their homes.

"It's crucial people know they're protected and that no legal action can be taken to evict them for at least the next three months.

"Even if they receive an eviction notice from their landlord in the coming weeks they should not feel any pressure to leave until this crisis is over, and should stay where they are."

The charity's advice for private rented, council or housing association tenants is:

  • It is illegal if your landlord makes you leave without notice or a court order - or locks you out of your home, even temporarily
  • If you have had an eviction notice from your landlord you should stay in your home
  • In most cases, if an eviction notice is issued between 27 March and 30 September, the landlord must wait three months before they can apply to court
  • If your landlord has already applied to court then your case will be put off for 90 days
  • The court will tell you when any new hearing is but this may take some time

The government is advising people to continue paying their rent - and for those struggling financially to speak to their landlords about setting up a payment plan or to seek help through the benefit system.

Big arrears

It says lenders will support struggling landlords, and those with buy-to-let mortgages will be entitled to a three month payment holiday.

But campaign group the London Renters Union is calling on the government to suspend all rent payments - and to protect people from having to pay big arrears when the crisis has eased.

The group says thousands of people are continuing to have to go to work because of pressure from landlords, meaning they are unable to follow the government's social distancing guidelines.

In a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, the group said: "Urging landlords to 'show compassion' does nothing in reality to protect renters. The government has left renters to fend for themselves.

"As the government's recent guidance clearly states, tenants are still legally obliged to pay rent and landlords are still able to issue eviction notices to renters who enter into rent debt.

"The eviction process will begin as soon as the temporary ban on evictions is lifted."

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a response.

'More help needed'

The government is temporarily making the housing benefit system more generous to help people struggling to meet rent payments, by increasing it to cover 30% of the market average rent in each area.

Image copyright Shelter Image caption Polly Neate: Make help available from day one

The move was welcomed by Shelter, but the charity is urging the government to go further and increase the Local Housing Allowance - the housing component of Universal Credit for private renters - to more of local market rates, and to end the five-week wait for new claimants.

The charity says there has been a surge in people applying for benefits, in many cases for the first time.

Ms Neate said: "At Shelter we're receiving daily calls from people up and down the country who are worried about how they'll pay the rent, keep the lights on and put food in the fridge in the coming weeks and months.

"That's why we're urging the government to go even further on its welfare measures to help people through the financial shock created by this pandemic.

"To prevent households slipping into poverty and debt, the government should temporarily increase housing benefit so that it covers the average cost of local rents.

"And to make sure help is available from day one it must end the five-week wait for universal credit, by turning advance payments into a grant instead of a loan."

source:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52108344?at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=%40BBCPolitics&at_campaign=64&at_custom4=twitter&at_medium=custom7#

 

Coronavirus: People urged not to move house

The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.

Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.

Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.

Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.

The government said that while there "is no need to pull out of transactions", "we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times".

If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals.

But if the house is occupied "we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move".

Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicts housing transactions will drop by up to 60% over the next three months.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of sales that had been agreed before the lockdown are falling through.

The property listings site said the UK housing market had a strong start to the year before the coronavirus outbreak crushed demand.

The pandemic has led to a "rapidly increasing" proportion of sales falling through, as would-be buyers "reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times".

Rival Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been "significant".

"The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters' protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents," it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.

In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers' Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.

"Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed," UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.

"Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful," he said.

"To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date."

source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52051174#

Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

See GOV.UK for the government response to the coronavirus outbreak.

See the NHS website for health advice. 

Information on this page

The page is updated regularly. Last update 20 Mar 2020


Eviction

Can my landlord evict me straight away because of coronavirus?

It's illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps.

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence - coronavirus doesn't change this.

It's likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • makes you leave without notice or a court order
  • locks you out of your home, even temporarily

You can get help from the council or the court if your landlord prevents you accessing your home.

What if I'm a lodger?

Your landlord still needs to follow the correct process even if you live with them.

They don't need to go to court but you're usually entitled to notice before you can be made to leave.

What if I've had notice from my landlord?

You should stay in your home.

Evictions take time and you don’t have to leave at the end of your notice under current law.

The government have also announced a new law that is expected to come in very soon.

Landlords won’t be able to take you to court for eviction for at least 3 months.

What if my landlord has already applied to court?

It isn't clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied to court.

Courts are staying open for the moment in line with government guidance.

If you have a hearing you can expect it to go ahead unless your county court tells you of a change.

The court may arrange a phone or video hearing.

If you are self isolating, then you should not attend. Contact your court to let them know of your situation.

 

Rent payment problems

I'm worried about rent arrears. What should I do?

Speak to your landlord if you're struggling to pay rent. 

They could be sympathetic especially if you've lost your job or seen your income reduce suddenly.  

They might agree to a rent reduction or to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing.

Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.  

Find out more about how to deal with rent arrears.

 

Mortgage arrears and repossession

I'm worried about mortgage arrears. What should I do?

Mortgage lenders have announced they won't apply to court to repossess homeowners for 3 months starting from 19 March.

They will also allow a 3 month payment holiday for those struggling to cover their mortgage because of coronavirus.

Be aware that this option may mean your monthly mortgage payment goes up after the payment holiday ends.

Check if you have insurance that will cover your mortgage payments instead. For example, mortgage payment protection insurance or through your current account.

Some mortgage providers are introducing other support for customers whose income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. These may include:

  • no fees for late payments
  • switching to a lower interest rate

Speak to your lender to find out what support they're offering.

Read our guide on how to deal with mortgage arrears.

 

Income and benefits

I need to claim benefits. Where do I start?

You could qualify for benefits or statutory sick pay if you lose your job or can't work because you're sick or self isolating.

You could also get benefits if your pay goes down because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more about what you can claim on the entitledto website

Can I apply for universal credit during the coronavirus outbreak?

Use the entitledto benefits calculator to check what you can claim before you apply - there are sometimes better options.

You can apply for universal credit on GOV.UK

Contact Citizens Advice if you need help with the online process.

Call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you:

  • can't apply online
  • need a universal credit advance
  • can't access your universal credit account once you've set it up

You can usually get a universal credit advance within a few days if you can't wait 5 weeks for your first payment. An advance must usually be repaid over the next year.  

Jobcentres are still open at the moment.

You won't have to attend Jobcentre Plus or medical assessments for at least the next 3 months due to the outbreak.

I get some housing benefit but now I've lost my job. How can I pay my rent?

You should report the change to the housing benefit department at the council. 

Your benefit will usually increase if you report an income drop promptly.

Sometimes you might need to move on to universal credit instead.

Read our guide on dealing with housing benefit changes

Apply for a discretionary housing payment if you get either:

  • housing benefit  
  • universal credit housing element

Landlord access to your home

Can my letting agent still go ahead with visits and inspections?

Tell your agent if you don't want unnecessary visits to your home at this time.

They should agree to postpone non essential visits such as:

Tell your agent if you can't allow access because you're self isolating. You don't have to give them details of your health.

What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due?

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak.

You should report repairs by phone, email or online.

You must tell your landlord if you're self isolating. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn't delay repairs unreasonably.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange a gas safety check if you're self isolating.

Read about access to your rented home for repairs.

 

Moving out

Can I leave my tenancy early because of coronavirus?

You can only end a fixed term tenancy early if either: 

  • your contract has a break clause
  • you negotiate an early end to the agreement with your landlord

If you want to leave as soon as possible you'll probably have to negotiate.

Your landlord may be sympathetic to your request to leave if they understand your reasons. For example, if you need to move urgently because you or a family member are sick or need support.

Read more information about:

Leicester:
37 Beaumont Street,
Oadby, LE2 4DA

0116 243 8852


Hounslow:
Office 3, Duke of Cambridge House,
1-3 Kingsley Road, TW3 1PA

020 3621 4545


General – 03301243083


Email us:info@saifeesolicitors.com

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