The majority of mortgage lenders have committed to showing more flexibility to struggling borrowers but the Government has confirmed that support won’t apply to buy-to-let loans.
The Treasury yesterday confirmed details of its Mortgage Charter following talks with major lenders on Friday amid concerns about the impact of rising interest rates on borrowers.
It revealed that 85% of the mortgage market has agreed that:
- From 26 June, a borrower will not be forced to leave their home without their consent unless in exceptional circumstances, in less than a year from their first missed payment.
- With effect from 10th July customers approaching the end of a fixed rate deal will have the chance to lock in a deal up to six months ahead. They will also be able to manage their new deal and request a better like for like deal with their lender right up until their new term starts, if one is available
- A new deal between lenders, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Government permitting customers who are up to date with their payments to:
- Switch to interest-only payments for six months or
- Extend their mortgage term to reduce their monthly payments and give customers the option to revert to their original term within 6 months by contacting their lender
All lenders have also agreed that:
- Anyone worried about their mortgage repayments can contact their lender for help and guidance, without any impact on their credit file and we would encourage you to contact your bank who are there to help.
- Support for customers who are up-to-date with payments to switch to a new mortgage deal at the end of their existing fixed rate deal without another affordability check.
- Lenders will provide well-timed information to help customers plan ahead should their current rate be due to end.
- Lenders will offer tailored support for anyone struggling and deploy highly trained staff to help customers. This could mean extending their term to reduce their payments, offering a switch to interest only payments, but also a range of other options like a temporary payment deferral or part interest-part repayment. The right option will depend on the customer’s circumstances.
Mortgage brokers and industry experts have been keen to point out that much of this support already exists beyond being able to move to an interest-only basis for six months so it is unclear what difference this will make.
It also only applies to residential mortgages so there is no support for landlords.
David Postings, chief executive of banking trade body UK Finance, said: “Lenders recognise and understand this is an anxious time for mortgage customers and there is a lot of support available.
“Lenders have been contacting and supporting millions of customers and are working with the government and regulators to continue to deliver a range of support options for customers. Anyone who is worried about their finances should contact their lender to find out what options are available to help.
“Contacting your lender to talk about the options available will not impact your credit score.”
Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, said: “This charter builds on the work we and lenders have done over recent years to ensure those who get into difficulty receive the support they need.
“The additional commitments from signatories provides customers with clarity and certainty on how they can expect to be treated.
“Mortgages remain a priority for the FCA, and we will continue to work closely with lenders to ensure borrowers are supported, as part of our work on consumers who might face financial difficulties.”