I’ve moved back home, will I still be charged rent?
DMU halls of residence: Bede Hall and Waterway Gardens, students will not have to pay any outstanding rent for your third university term (after Easter). This means that whether you are leaving campus or staying here, you no longer have to worry about how you will pay for your accommodation. You would have needed to have let them know by 13th April, taken all your belongings with you and returned your keys.
Unite Students: which operates Filbert Village, Newarke Point, St Martins, The Grange, Liberty Court, Liberty Park and Liberty Court Annex, agreed that any student not staying for the third university term (after Easter) will not have to pay outstanding rental payments, provided you let them know by 10th April.
Student Roost: which operates The Summit, Upperton Road, Newarke Street, Eastern Boulevard, Queens Court, Regents Court, Brookland Road, also allowed students to be released early from their contracts, as long as they had applied by the 13th April deadline.
DMU is aware that there are many other students staying in privately-run halls which have not had such assurances and DMU is encouraging those providers to follow these examples. If you have any questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't afford to pay my rent, what help can I get?
The government introduced legislation to protect renters and landlords affected by Coronavirus. As a result, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home during this difficult time.
Landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants (initially it was set to be until 25th June) this has since been extended until 30th September - most landlords will not be able to start possession proceedings unless they have given their tenants three-months’ notice.
At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, reviewing tenants’ individual circumstances.
I can't afford to pay my mortgage, what help can I get?
The government has announced a 3-month ‘payment holiday’ for mortgage payments. A payment holiday means you agree with your lender that you will not have to make mortgage payments for a set amount of time. Payment holidays are designed to help you when you may experience payment difficulties – in this case because of the Coronavirus situation.
This is not an automatic process, you will need to apply for this via your mortgage provider and be accepted. Most of the major providers have supplied online applications. If you are approved, it won’t affect your credit score. However, please do not cancel your direct debit without consulting your mortgage provider as this will damage your credit score!
It is important to remember that you still owe the amounts that you don't pay as a result of the payment holiday. Interest will continue to be charged on the amount you owe. Some have reported their mortgage repayments doubling after applying - if this happens to you, contact the provider, as it is likely to be a calculation error.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed the following on 22nd May:
- At the end of a payment holiday, firms should contact their customers to find out if they can resume payments and if so, agree a plan on how the missed payments will be repaid.
- Lenders should continue to support customers who have already had a payment holiday where they need further help. Firms are expected to engage with their customers and find out what they can re-pay and, for those who remain in temporary financial difficulty, offer further support. As part of this firms should consider a further three-month payment holiday.
- Customers that have not yet had a payment holiday and experiencing financial difficulty will be able to request one until 31st October 2020.
- The current ban on repossessions of homes will be continued to 31st October 2020. This will ensure people are able to comply with the government’s policy to self-isolate if they need to.
- Payment holidays and partial payment holidays offered under this guidance should not have a negative impact on credit files. However, it is not completely clear at this stage how taking a payment holiday could impact on future applications for a mortgage.
For more information, please visit the Financial Conduct Authority website. (www.fca.org.uk/consumers/mortgages-coronavirus-consumers)
I can't afford to pay my utility bills, what should I do?
New emergency measures with the energy industry have been agreed by the government to protect the domestic energy supply of those most in need during the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Customers with pre-payment meters who may not be able to add credit can speak to their supplier about options to keep them supplied.
Any energy customer in financial distress will also be supported by their supplier, which could include re-assessing/ reducing/ pausing debt repayments and bill payments, where necessary. Disconnection of credit meters will be completely suspended.
Can I get any help towards my Council Tax?
Most students are exempt from Council Tax but for those that aren’t, check with the Council to see if they are providing help. Here are a few that are:
I’m working from home, can I get money towards utility bills?
If you are required to work from home by your employer, they can pay a flat rate of £6 a week tax free (which has just increased for the new tax year) towards heating/ energy expenses. However, your employer might already be experiencing extreme financial difficulty and may struggle to do this. Instead you can claim an allowance from HMRC (if you are a basic rate tax payer it’s £1.20 a week/ higher rate tax payer it's £2.40 a week) and you don’t need to provide receipts. If you wanted to claim a higher amount, you’d have to supply evidence. You would need to complete a ‘P87’ form only AFTER you have returned back to work.
What can I do if I can't afford to pay for my insurance policies?
From 18th May new legislation was introduced to allow you to apply for a 3-month payment holiday on the following:
- Home insurance
- Life insurance
- Travel insurance
- Boiler insurance
- Private medical insurance
- Car insurance: the provider will see if a reduction is possible first e.g. by reducing the mileage if you are travelling a lot less now. If that doesn't work, they will look at a payment holiday.
Only opt for a payment holiday as a last resort as interest charges can soon add up.
If you decide to cancel a policy, the insurance company will have to waive the cancellation fees.
Can I get a refund on my TV sports package?
Due to major sporting events and set fixtures being cancelled, Sky Sports will let you pause and restart the sports part of the package until the sporting calendar is resumed. If you have the full subscription, it will restart on 19th June, as some sporting fixtures resume. If you only subscribed to a single sport channel and that hasn't resumed yet, then the pause will continue.
BT Sport previously offered users a refund of one month's subscription. They are now only offering 50% bill credit in June.
What changes have been made to Stamp Duty?
If you are buying a house, you would normally pay Stamp Duty over £125,000. But this has temporarily been cut until 31st March 2021. Now you would pay 5% Stamp Duty over £500,000 (e.g. if the house is £600,000, you pay 5% of the amount above £500,000 = £5,000).
However, if you are buying a second home, you would pay 3% Stamp Duty on any value.
If you have already completed on your house purchase, you are not eligible for the new rates. If you have exchanged but not completed, you are eligible for the new rates.