Mortgage holidays extended by further three months

Rozi Jones
22nd May 2020
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Homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage due to coronavirus will be able to extend their mortgage payment holiday for a further three months, or start making reduced payments, in proposals published today.

The availability of a three month mortgage holiday was first announced in March and over 1.8 million payment holidays were taken as a result.

The Financial Conduct Authority has published new draft guidance today for lenders which will set out the expectations for firms and the options available to their customers. This includes extending the application period for a mortgage holiday until 31 October so customers that have not yet had a payment holiday and are experiencing financial difficulty will be able to request one. The current ban on repossessions of homes will be continued to the same date.

Christopher Woolard, Interim Chief Executive at the FCA, said:

"Our expectations are clear – anyone who continues to need help should get help from their lender. We expect firms to work with customers on the best options available for them, paying particular attention to the needs of their vulnerable customers, and to provide information on where to access help and advice.

"Where consumers can afford to re-start mortgage payments, it is in their best interests to do so. But where they can’t, a range of further support will be available. People who are struggling and have not had a mortgage payment holiday, will also continue to be able to apply until 31 October.

"When the guidance comes into force, following a short consultation, lenders will be expected to contact their customers whose mortgage holiday is coming to an end. Some may be able to resume their full monthly payments, others may be able to pay a proportion of their monthly payment, or temporarily switch to an interest only mortgage, and others will opt to extend their mortgage payment holiday.

"Borrowers that resume with their mortgage payments will be given options on how best to do so, such as the opportunity to extend the term of their mortgage in order to leave their monthly payments at around the same level as they were prior to their mortgage holiday."

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software's sales and marketing director, said:

“The payment holiday programme has been hugely successful in providing some respite to borrowers that are currently experiencing financial uncertainty.

“The extension will be welcomed by borrowers, but the industry will need to manage another wave of borrower communication at a time when many lenders will have been working on recalculating borrower accounts.  Whilst also communicating new repayments from the initial 3-month holiday period.

“A reduction in receivables for any lender is always an issue, but en-mass for a sustained period, could be a challenge for some, particularly those with securitised assets. Whatever the Government’s intentions, it could be that lenders will take a more detailed look at some borrowers applying for this new initiative.  They will need to ensure that only borrowers that genuinely require them are accepted for the scheme, or that other risks such as LTV are considered more closely”.

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