Corona Virus – Q&A – updated as of 02/11/2020

Payment Holidays

  1. Can I get a Payment Holiday on my mortgage?
    Yes, you can. Payment holidays are available to anyone with a residential or Buy To Let Mortgage. To get the payment holiday you will need to speak with your individual lender over the telephone or most of the lenders now have the facility to be able to do this online. There may be a significant wait time but please be patient, they are there to help.
  2. Will it affect my credit rating and my ability to get a mortgage in the future?
    The government and lenders have advised that this will not influence your credit score. However, Buy to let mortgages are not regulated like residential mortgages so this may cause an issue further down the line. At the moment we do not know how the lenders will view these payment holidays when it comes to a new application in the future - they will see that you haven't paid your mortgage during this time on your credit file and are likely to query why this is. We anticipate that the lenders will have to take a view on this in the future as there will be so many people affected by this but at this stage we cannot know for sure.
  3. Will I still have to pay the money back that I miss during my payment holiday?
    Yes, you will. Each lender will set out their own terms to you when you take the payment holiday from them. This may involve extending your mortgage at the end of the term or possible increasing your payments slightly after the holiday to make up the shortfall. Your lender will address this with you directly.
  4. Should I take the holiday? I am still working and still able to continue paying the mortgage.
    You should only take the payment holiday if it is necessary. Try and cut back if you are able to in order to pay everything but remember the help is there should you require it. If you think you will struggle to pay your mortgage then use the help that is available and make sure you do not miss any mortgage payments.
  5. UPDATED 02/11/2020 - Payment holidays will still be available following the announcement of a second lockdown. Most lenders are now more equipped to deal with these enquiries and the first place to check is your lenders website.

Insurance

  1. I have an existing insurance policy -am I covered against the virus?
    Existing policies which were set up before the virus started to spread are covered as per the normal conditions within your policy – so this means if something arose because of the virus that met the definition of a claim within your policy then yes you are covered. New policies taken out since then will depend on the provider and the policy taken out. Speak to your broker to discuss this.
  2. I am thinking of cancelling my insurance to reduce my outgoings – should I?
    You should try and keep any existing policies in place where you can and make sacrifices in other areas. As the virus spreads we are all more vulnerable to something happening and the insurance is more important than ever. Also, if you cancel and then wish to take out the policy again in the future you may not be able to do so on the same terms. New policies may have exclusion conditions in respect of the virus.

House buying and Selling

  1. Can I Buy/Sell my home? - Updated 02/11/2020
    The government announced plans for a second lockdown starting 5th November 2020. However the property market will remain open meaning property sales and purchases can still go ahead. The solicitors will be working from home so they may not have access to their usual processes and internal systems so we need to be patient as things may take slightly longer than they normally would. As for viewings on houses this will be down to the individual estate agents. We expect most of them to still be open for business but working from home so viewings will be by appointment only.

Other common Questions

  1. I have been Furloughed by my employer; will this affect me getting a mortgage in the future? - Updated 02/11/2020
    Lenders now have a policy around clients that have been Furloughed in the past or ones that are still currently on Furlough. Most lenders now require your employer to confirm the exact date when you are likely to return to work and also confirm your salary will be the same. As for the second Lockdown announced to start on 5th November - we do not yet know how lenders will treat this. It is likely that a return to work date will need to be established before a mortgage application can be approved.
  2. What other help is available to me?
    There is a lot of help which the government is trying to implement to help the employed, self-employed and businesses and I would say for further information please direct your attention to the dedicated government websites which will be able to help and explain how to claim.
  3. Will houses Prices fall?
    Short answer is we don’t know. There have been some suggestions in the media that this may be the case but there is no concrete evidence to support it so far. We are in unprecedented times so it is very difficult to predict what will happen.