COVID-19 has been causing a lot of stress across the world, but here in the UK, many were left relieved when the government announced they would able to take a 3-month mortgage payment holiday if necessary.
This means anyone with a mortgage will be able to take a short break from keeping up payments, allowing them to afford their necessities at a time where every penny really helps.
Most lenders have agreed to this are willing and able to take care of their borrowers when it’s greatly needed. That being said, there are some who aren’t as clear nor consistent.
We have taken some time to look through the information presented by the government, as well as checking with the lenders we have on panel as they develop their response.
Below are some points which could save you some confusion and anguish over the coming months; summaries of what they are, what lenders are doing and who will be able to access this service.
Mortgage payment holidays are agreements you make with your bank, building society or mortgage lender, allowing you to take a break from your monthly mortgage payments for a set period. In the case of the current COVID-19 crisis, homeowners are being granted 3-months relief.
The 3 months will be added on at the end of your term or your payments will be recalculated at a slightly higher level, meaning you will still have to pay those 3 months back eventually.
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 paid already.
Most lenders would likely prefer to not extend your mortgage term, as you may end up going beyond their standard retirement age. There’ll be more information on this over time.
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 would’ve been had you not taken a holiday.
Mortgage Payments Holidays are available for those with residential mortgages and buy-to-let mortgages, meaning landlords will also have help 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 in Newcastle to start with and not jumping straight into taking a holiday.
We’ll be able to take a look for you first and see if this option is something worth your time. Lenders will no doubt be facing an influx of calls, needing to be free to speak with the most urgent matters over everyone else.
We’ll look through your personal situation and see if there are any other options for you first before you decided to take 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 make sure 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.
Controversial for some, but there is now evidence that lenders are asking borrowers to try and not make changes to their mortgage whilst within the holiday period. This means, for the time being, you can’t 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 too quickly could find themselves on a Mortgage Payment Holiday that gains interest on a more expensive variable rate.
This is another reason why we highly recommend speaking to a Mortgage Advisor in Newcastle first, to determine the right path for you to take. If possible, try arranging a transfer prior to asking for a holiday, as that seems like a more sensible option.
Some lenders are offering a temporary switch to interest-only, in order to reduce monthly payments by a large amount, while not adding on any further amount to the loan, by still servicing the interest each month.
You may not need to convert the entire mortgage to an interest-only mortgage and it may be that putting only a portion of this mortgage on that basis could give you room to breathe.
Those who have savings may prefer remortgaging onto an offset basis. This would reduce their monthly payments whilst keeping their savings safe and intact.
For example, someone with a £500,000 loan and £100,000 in savings would only pay interest on £400,000 reducing their payments accordingly.
For others, remortgaging onto another lender, calculating the cost of any early repayment charges, maybe all you need to ease the pressure you currently face. You could also simply extend your current term, thus spreading your payments across a longer time frame.
To discuss any of the aforementioned 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.