The dreaded COVID-19 has been running rough shot across the world, but here in the UK, many were left with a sigh of relief when the government announced they would able to take a 3-month mortgage payment holiday if they needed to.
In short, this means anyone with a mortgage can take a short break from keeping up payments, allowing them to afford their regular necessities during a difficult time.
Whilst most lenders have agreed to this are willing and able to take care of their borrowers when it’s greatly needed, there’s, of course, some who aren’t as clear nor consistent with this.
We have taken some time to look through the information presented, as well as checking with the lenders we have on panel as they develop their response.
Below is some point of note which could save you some confusion and anguish over the coming months; summaries of what they are, what lenders are doing and who has access to do this.
Mortgage payment holidays are agreements you make with your bank, building society or mortgage lender to take a break from your monthly mortgage payments for a set period. In the case of the current COVID-19 crisis, you’re allowed up to 3-months.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never have to pay the amount back, as the 3 months will be added on at the end of your term or your payments will be recalculated at a slightly higher level.
Your interest, however, carries on as normal, meaning you’ll technically be paying an additional 3 months of interest on top of what you’ve already paid.
Most lenders would likely prefer to not extend your mortgage term, as this could take you beyond their standard retirement age and so on. There’ll be more information on this in due course.
Depending on the mortgage deal you have in place, you may be able to pay off a lump sum later on in the year to bring your mortgage in line with where it should have been.
Mortgage Payments Holidays are available for those with residential mortgages and Buy to Let Mortgages, meaning landlords will also have assistance if their payments are affected.
The full proposal is in detail below:
To discuss your options for Mortgage Payment Holidays, we would recommend speaking to a Mortgage Advisor to start with and not automatically looking to take a holiday.
We’ll be able to take a look for you and see if this option is even necessary first and foremost. Lenders will no doubt be facing an influx of calls, needing to be free to speak with the most urgent matters as a priority.
We’ll look through your personal situation and see if there are any other options for you first before you take up the option of a Mortgage Payment Holiday.
For a customer, up to date with payments, not in arrears and impacted by COVID-19:
Generally, these can show up on your credit score as a negative mark, but most lenders have said if your case is linked to the virus, they’ll ensure it doesn’t affect your credit score at all.
It’s important that you speak directly with your lender to ask them this, recording their response. Also take the date and time, as well as the name of who you spoke to, to avoid any confusion later on. Different lenders will handle these things differently than one another.
Perhaps one of the more controversial points made recently, but there is now evidence that lenders are asking borrowers to refrain from making changes to their mortgage whilst within the holiday period. This means, for the time being, you’re not allowed to take out a remortgage or product transfer.
In simpler terms, borrowers reaching the end of their current product may be forced to move to the higher lenders variable rate. This means many borrowers who act hastily could very well find themselves on a Mortgage Payment Holiday that gains interest on a vastly more expensive variable rate.
This is another reason why we highly recommend speaking to a Mortgage Advisor in Liverpool first, to determine the appropriate course of action. If possible, try arranging a transfer prior to asking for a holiday, as that seems like a more sensible path to take.
There are a few other options that may be available to you. Some lenders are offering a temporary switch to interest-only, in order to reduce monthly payments drastically while not adding on any further amount to the loan, by still servicing the interest each month.
You may not need to convert all your mortgage to an interest-only mortgage and it may be that putting only a portion of this mortgage on that basis could give you some breathing room.
Those who have savings may find solace In remortgaging onto an offset basis. This would reduce their monthly payments whilst keeping their savings intact.
For example, someone with a £400,000 loan and £100,000 in savings would only pay interest on £300,000 reducing their payments accordingly.
For others, remortgaging straight onto another lender, calculating the cost of any early repayment charges, may well be enough to ease the pressure you currently face. Alternatively, you could simply extend your current term, thus spreading your payments a little thinner.
To discuss any of these options, or to just have a helpful chat about your current situation please contact us and we’ll see how we can be of assistance.