What you need to do to benefit from the mortgage holiday scheme.

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Homeowners who want to apply for a three-month mortgage payment holiday should contact their lender as soon as possible.

The Government announced last week that both owner-occupiers and residential landlords whose finances have been impacted by coronavirus could apply for a three-month pause in repayments.

But banks and building societies soon found themselves facing a high volume of calls from customers trying to apply for the scheme, at a time when many were operating with reduced staff due to the current situation.

As a result, a number of lenders have set up alternative ways for homeowners to ask for the payment holiday.

How do I apply for a mortgage payment break?

If you are facing immediate financial difficulties and your next monthly mortgage repayment is due soon, you should telephone your lender as soon as possible.

Due to the high volume of calls they are receiving, lenders have requested that people who are not in immediate difficulties do not telephone them, but instead apply for the payment holiday online.

For example, Halifax has set up an online application process under which it promises to send applicants a text message within two to three days confirming whether or not their request has been accepted.

Other lenders that have set up an online applications include Lloyds, Nationwide, Santander and Bank of Scotland.

To apply online or find the telephone number you need to contact your lender, go their website and look for the link on coronavirus.

"It's such a relief" 

Julie Waddell who successfully applied for a mortgage holiday

Julie Waddell, 45, was granted a mortgage holiday the day after the Chancellor's announcement.

She lives with her husband Phil, 46, and their two children, aged 15 and 12, in a five-bedroom detached house in South Devon. Julie is the founder of Moorish, a humus company stocked by Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Ocado, and Phil is an osteopath. 

"I called our mortgage company, Furness Building Society, and got through straightaway. I had to answer very basic details - was it for a residential property, what was our mortgage account number, could we pay this month, when did we want the payment holiday to start?

"They didn't ask how I was affected by coronavirus. And it was all agreed immediately.

"It couldn't have been simpler and it's such a relief. 

"My husband is self-employed, but he has asthma so he'd stopped working before the lockdown. At the moment, footfall and online shopping is driving sales for my food company, but you don't know what's going to happen next. This has given me real peace of mind. 

"We rent out a small terraced house in Northern Ireland, where I'm from, and I've also applied for a mortgage holiday with the Halifax. I did try to call but I was 10 millionth on the line, so I filled out our details on their dedicated page. You can choose a one, two or three-month break from a drop-down menu and just submit. We're waiting for a text to confirm. 

"Both our mortgages are fixed for 20 years, so we have a long way to go before they're paid back. It's more important for us not to be worrying now."

What information will I need to apply?

Before you contact your lender make sure you have details on your mortgage to hand, including your account number.

But you will not need to prove to your lender that either yours or your tenant’s finances have been directly or indirectly impacted by coronavirus, as lenders are allowing people to self-certify this.

What impact will the payment holiday have on my mortgage?

While you will not need to make payments for three months, interest will continue to accrue on your mortgage and will have to be paid in future.

Different lenders have different ways of dealing with the additional interest that accrues, with some simply extending the mortgage term by three months, while others will recalculate monthly repayments at the end of the three-month holiday to enable these payments to be made up.

For example, someone who had a £100,000 mortgage with Halifax at an interest rate of 2.75% over a 20-year term, would see their monthly repayments increase by £6.16 a month to £548 if they took a two-month payment holiday.

"It was so easy"

Hayley Newbury who applied successfully for a mortgage break 

Hayley Newbury, 40, applied successfully for a mortgage break. 

She lives in a four-bedroom semi in The Wirral with her husband, Danny, 42, a self-employed kitchen designer. Hayley is also self-employed and runs a luxury travel concierge service, My World VIP.

"I didn't think it would be so easy, to be honest. But the travel industry has been really hard-hit by coronavirus, as we all know, and my husband had clients cancelling before the lockdown.

"I called Coventry Building Society and got straight through to a really helpful lady. I explained I was self-employed and she couldn't have been more warm and genuine, not at all robotic. She said she'd immediately issue a three month holiday, tacked on to our mortgage term. We only moved last year so we've got 24 years to go.

"Our mortgage is fixed for five years and she did say that usually a break isn't allowed, but these were special circumstances. 

"Our next mortgage payment was due on 1 April and that's been cancelled now. There was no paperwork to fill out. 

It's definitely worth applying."

Top 3 takeaways

1. Homeowners who want to apply for the three-month mortgage payment holiday should contact their lender as soon as possible

2. If you are facing immediate financial difficulties and your next monthly mortgage repayment is due soon, you should telephone your lender

3. If your situation is less urgent, see if your lender has set up an online application process as telephone lines are currently very busy

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