5. Keeping your own home whilst in prison
If you own your home and pay a mortgage on it, you will need to notify your mortgage provider that you are in prison.
Depending on the nature of your custody, you may be eligible for some help with your mortgage costs. Alternatively, you could try negotiating with your lender about freezing your payments for the duration of your prison term. If you miss your mortgage payments while in prison, you will end up in debt and your house may be repossessed. You may wish to consider selling your home to prevent this from happening.
Ask the Resettlement Team or Catch 22 for additional support with debt and mortgage problems or to arrange a telephone interview with your local Housing Options Team so we may assist you with this.
Help to pay rent or mortgage whilst in prison
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim help with your housing costs to enable you to keep your home. This may be in the form of housing benefit if you are renting your accommodation from a social landlord or a private landlord, or help to pay your mortgage interest if you pay a mortgage for your home.
As a tenant, you will only be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit Housing Element if you are:
- imprisoned on remand for 52 weeks or less, or
- you are a sentenced prisoner and your total time in prison is not expected to exceed 13 weeks.
As a homeowner, you may be able to apply for a Support for Mortgage Loan.
You might have to think about letting the property to someone and using the rent to pay your mortgage, but you’ll need your lender's permission to do this.
If you can show that you're in prison you can apply for an exclusion from paying council tax. Your house needs to be vacant and your only home to qualify for this exclusion. If you have a partner and they are the only adult remaining in the home, they may be eligible for the Single Person Discount which is a 25% reduction in Council Tax whilst you are in prison. Try to make an appointment to see someone who can help you with your claim or contact the Council Tax team.