There has been broad support and relief amongst property industry players following announcements from several lenders that they would grant mortgage repayment holidays to some borrowers hit with the Coronavirus.
Royal Bank of Scotland - which is 62 per cent owned by the UK taxpayer - says it will defer mortgage payments for up to three months to affected borrowers whose income have been reduced by contracting the disease.
“We are monitoring the potential impact of Coronavirus across all our customers to ensure we can support them appropriately through any period of disruption” says the firm.
TSB says some of its borrowers could have mortgage repayment holidays for up to two months for the same reasons.
The British examples follow those in Italy, where more substantial and widespread repayment holidays have been declared because of the more significant effects of the virus.
Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, says: “All providers are ready and able to offer support to their customers who are impacted directly or indirectly by COVID-19, which could include offering or increasing an overdraft or allowing repayment relief for loan or mortgage repayments: asking for help early is key.”
There has been significant support for the move.
Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, was amongst many to point out that lenders are under no obligation to grant holidays but they are aware of the gravity of the situation for some customers.
“The message to borrowers, particularly the self-employed who are most likely to be affected in terms of their income, is that anytime you are struggling to pay your mortgage, get in touch with your lender. Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope the problem will go away - it won’t. If you find yourself struggling, make a proposal to your lender” he says.