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Britain’s financial watchdog is proposing to extending the ban on repossessing homes from people who can’t pay their mortgage, due to the ongoing pandemic.

Under new draft guidance from the Financial Conduct Authority, UK banks would now not be allowed to repossess a home until 1 April this year. The current ban ends on 31 January.

This approach takes account of the worsening coronavirus situation and the government’s tighter coronavirus-related restrictions which mean that consumers could experience significant harm if forced to move home at this time as a result of repossession proceedings.

We recognise that there are also government bans on evictions in some nations, which could also prevent firms from enforcing home repossessions.

However, this should only be as a last resort, and subject to complying with relevant government public health guidelines and regulations, for example on social distancing and shielding.

Importantly, firms will also be expected to consider the impact on customers who may be vulnerable, including because of the pandemic, when deciding whether repossession of goods or vehicles is appropriate.

We have announced proposals to update guidance on mortgages and consumer credit repossessions #coronavirusuk #covid19 #FCAupdate

The boss of housebuilder Persimmon, Dean Finch, has warned that the new, more contagious Covid-19 strain is “particularly bad” and that “it could well affect output in the spring of this year”.

“We are clearly seeing customers look at how they want to live, where they want to live and whether they want to live in bigger houses as a result of the pandemic, and Persimmon is a beneficiary of that.”

“While the Group has achieved pre-Covid build rates since the end of June 2020, including during all subsequent lockdowns imposed in England, Scotland and Wales, we recognise the elevated risk to the Group’s planned build programmes presented by the higher transmission rates of the new variant of the Covid-19 virus.”

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