Lenders are starting to provide some clarity for landlords needing to apply for a mortgage payment holiday because of the Coronavirus crisis.
As many landlords wonder how they can prove a financial hardship request is genuine, or that a tenant really has lost their job or is self-isolating, buy-to-let mortgage lenders have reassured the sector that the process is straightforward.
HSBC is now processing requests and has put new guidance online. A spokesman says: “There is no evidential requirement for landlords to prove they are affected financially by Covid-19 in order to request a mortgage payment holiday. If they want one, they can have one.”
And the Nationwide advises that to request a payment holiday, landlords should email them with their account details, stating: ‘I confirm I am in financial difficulty. I confirm I am affected by Coronavirus.’
UK Finance and the Building Societies Association say lenders can offer a three-month payment holiday without the need to assess borrower circumstances and that applications can be made on a self-certification basis. Buy-to-let landlords are eligible if tenants have lost income because of the impact of Coronavirus.
A spokeswoman says: “While firms will not be completing a full I&E, they are asking customers to explain how their circumstances have changed so they can gauge whether a payment holiday is likely to be appropriate.”
Angus Stewart, chief executive of Property Master, believes it is still early days yet in terms of how the repayment holidays will work in the landlord sector. “I suspect it is early days too for the landlords who may not yet have heard from tenants.”
But not all lenders take the line. Barclays has today (25th March) confirmed that it will not be offering its landlord customers a payment holiday option, despite the government’s guidance to the contrary and instead says it wants focus on helping its consumer residential mortgages holders.