We’re here if you need us

The information on this page is correct as of 06/10/2020

During this uncertain time, we’d like to reassure you we're doing everything we can to support you and keep you up to date with how we're operating including any changes you need to be aware of.

There are some key questions which continue to come through to our teams. We thought it would be helpful to collate these and provide answers to the most frequent ones.



Are mortgage payment holidays available?

Following the guidance from the FCA last week, we've updated our mortgage payment holiday guidance and process to support customers who may be affected. Full details can be found on our dedicated page.

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What’s your current lending criteria?

Residential 

  • Maximum loan to value (LTV) is 85% or below for purchase and remortgage

Buy to Let

  • Maximum LTV is 70% or below for purchase and remortgage
  • Minimum ICR is now 145% but interest rates currently remain the same. The rental assessment will be done with the desktop valuation and we may also need proof of rental to support this
  • Maximum of five bedrooms

Affordable Housing

  • We continue to support the Shared Ownership market lending on properties up to 75% LTV and 95% borrower share
  • We’ll also lend on Help to Buy and the other Shared Equity schemes

Interest Only

  • We’ll lend on an Interest Only basis for residential properties up to 60% LTV with sale of property (amongst others) available as a repayment strategy and up to 75% LTV on Part & Part.
  • We remain active in the Retirement Interest Only market and continue to lend up to an LTV of 55%

Right to Buy

We’re not offering any Right to Buy mortgages at the moment.

All Flats

We've reviewed our policy and are pleased to advise you that we're now able to lend on flats on the following basis:

  • Allowance of flats only where Countrywide Surveying Services has an EWS1 form completed regarding cladding
  • No change to LTV

New Build Flats

  • Allowance of flats only where Countrywide Surveying Services has an EWS1 form completed regarding cladding
  • Countrywide Surveying Services must have visited the development in the last three months

Changes to New Build LTV

  • Maximum LTV is now 80% for houses and 75% for flats
  • Buy To Let maximum LTV is now 65% for houses and 60% flats

Product Transfers 

A full Product Transfer range is available including for your customers currently on a payment holiday.

Valuations

With the welcome re-introduction of physical valuations in England we've been working closely with our valuation providers to ensure we can continue our commitment to keeping things moving for you and your customers in the safest way possible and have already started booking appointments to progress cases.

With over 70% of applications progressed using alternative valuation methods such as automated and desktop valuations during lockdown, we want to ensure these options continue to be available as part of a full range, including physical valuations. Of course, we understand that many customers may be concerned about social distancing and that’s why we’re also piloting an external evaluation option, which means a valuer will still visit the property but doesn't need to enter it.

We’ll continue to do all we can to progress as many applications as we can and ensure we support intermediaries and customers for the quickest possible turnaround.

Whilst social distancing measures remain in place in Scotland and Wales, valuers are still unable to do physical valuations. During this time we’ll continue to use alternative valuation methods which will either be an automated valuation (AVM) or a desktop valuation.

Read more here

Please be assured that our underwriting team are working really hard to get this completed and you do not need to call the Mortgage Service Desk to check at this time. Unfortunately, as we are no longer able to obtain a valuation for commercial properties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have temporarily withdrawn from the HMO market at this time. We will arrange to refund all fees paid to the Society in respect of any HMO application affected by this valuation issue. This action is as a direct result of the unprecedented times we’re in and we apologise for any inconvenience.

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Are you providing offer extensions?

We can now offer an additional three month extension at the end of your customer's current three months, giving your customers a total offer extension of six months.

What do you need to know?

  • Two weeks before offer expiration, you should send a new offer extension declaration along with your customer's latest payslip and bank statement
  • The case will be re-assessed and credit checked
  • No further valuation is needed as the one from the original extension is still valid
  • Criteria from the point of the first offer will still be used

Access our offer extension declaration here.

In line with industry guidance[1], if a customer’s circumstances change during this extended period or the terms of the house purchase change significantly, so that continuing with the mortgage would cause house buyers to face financial hardship, lenders will work with customers to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.

[1]UK Finance, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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My customer is due to move home. Will their mortgage be able to complete as planned?

As you may be aware, the situation with services relating to different land registries currently varies across the UK. If you're purchasing in England or Wales, the Land Registry e-service continues to operate as normal although with some delays. We’re continuing to work closely with conveyancers to ensure completions progress in accordance with customer instructions.

Scottish Land Registry

In Scotland, the Land Registry is temporarily closed to paper applications. They're providing daily updates on their proposed solutions on the Registers of Scotland website. Following discussions between Registers of Scotland (RoS), UK Finance and the Law Society of Scotland (LSS), a process is now in place that enables transactions to settle where an advance notice is in place.

We will review the circumstances on a case by case basis and where possible, will work with your customers to settle where the solicitor acting on behalf of your customer(s) confirms:

  • There's an advance notice in place
  • The solicitor will extend the advance notice for the period until the RoS reopens
  • The customer is able to move in line with Government guidelines regarding social distancing measures.

Northern Ireland

As a response to the current COVID-19 crisis we are temporarily not able to accept any new applications in Northern Ireland due to current valuation restrictions.

The Land and Property Services offices and phones are closed until further notice and are being kept under review. However, if your customer’s solicitors can confirm that there are no risks posed to the Society and there is some form of agreement in place to protect us with regards to the closure of the Land Registry then we are happy to proceed to completion. Updates will be available on the Department of Finance website.

In order to protect the interest of customers, we'll only progress completions where the conveyancer has already established what is known as ‘priority*’. Where the conveyancer has not already secured ‘priority’, the legal advice is very clear - customers should wait for the appropriate Land Registry to reopen, before completing on their property transaction.

*An official search of whole with priority is used to protect a transaction for value that affects the whole of the land in a registered title, e.g. a purchase, a lease or a charge.

Learn more on the Government website.

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What is your position on furloughed workers?

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for Employed Workers

We’re outlining what this means if your customers have been furloughed, following the Government’s announcement on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for Employed workers.

If your customer has a shareholding in the business they work for, and provided their share is less than or equal to 20%, any income payable under PAYE may also follow this.

Our Criteria

Please ask your applicant(s) if their income is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and based on the customer’s response, process the application in line with our updated assessing income policy. If the applicant is employed and has been furloughed, we may accept the application, subject to the following:

  • Use 80% of their basic income up to a maximum of £2,500 pm (£30,000 pa gross)
  • For any cases where the employer will be funding all or part of the difference, these can be considered on a case by case basis and will require evidence from the employer
  • Bonus, overtime or commission are not acceptable

Pipeline Cases

We will proceed as stated at application stage unless you inform us of a change to their financial situation in which case the new guidance will apply. Please advise us as soon as possible of any change in your customer’s circumstances.

Key Workers – Variable Income and Zero Hours Contracts

Variable income sources (bonus, overtime, shift allowance, commission) and zero hours contracts can be considered for applicants classed as a ‘keyworkers’ due to the current COVID-19 situation, this includes NHS staff, care home workers and supermarket workers (including delivery drivers). Care will be taken to ensure applications are not over-committed and the current situation is sustainable post COVID-19 and applicants on a zero hours contract must have been employed for at least 12 months.

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Can I still speak to someone and how do I get in touch?

Our team are on hand to support you with anything we can do to help.

Although they aren’t on the road, our Corporate Account and Business Development teams are all working from home and are available to speak to you if you need them, even if it’s just for a chat.

You can also still get in touch with our Telephone Business Development Managers, Mortgage Service Desk and underwriters through the usual channels. We’ll try everything we can to help and support you.

  • Contact your dedicated BDM
  • Use our Broker chat facility
  • You can contact our Mortgage Service Desk for case updates on 03458 58 00 61
    • Monday to Friday – 9am-4.30pm
    • Saturday and Sunday – Closed

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Please note:

Leeds Building Society only accepts mortgage applications from intermediaries where they are providing an advised sales service, with the exception of Buy to Let & Holiday Let applications. It is the responsibility of the intermediary to ensure that all applicable law including, without limitation, the Financial Conduct Authority rules on advised mortgage sales are complied with including, without limitation, the provision of adequate explanations.