The information on this page is correct as of 22/05/2020
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?
- What’s your current lending criteria?
- Are you providing offer extensions?
- My customer is due to move home. Will their mortgage be able to complete as planned?
- What is your position on furloughed workers?
- Can I still speak to someone and how do I get in touch?
We’re offering mortgage payment holidays to customers who may now struggle to meet their payments because of coronavirus, as well as buy to let landlords whose tenants are affected.
For our new online form, the latest updates and how to apply please see our dedicated mortgage payment holidays page.
- Maximum loan to value (LTV) is 85% or below for purchase and remortgage
- Property value up to £1M in London or £750k outside of London
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
- Property value up to £1M in London or £750k outside of London
- Maximum of five bedrooms
- 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
- We’ll lend on an Interest Only basis for residential properties up to 75% with sale of property (amongst others) available as a repayment strategy
- We remain active in the Retirement Interest Only market and continue to lend up to an LTV of 55%
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 low-rise flats (up to three storey) to have desktop valuations, with high-rise blocks (four storeys or more) only where Countrywide Surveying Services has an EWS1 form completed regarding cladding
- No change to LTV
New Build Flats
- Allowance of low-rise flats (up to three storey blocks) to have desktop valuations, with high-rise blocks (four storeys or more) 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 75% for houses and 70% for flats
- Buy To Let maximum LTV is now 65% for houses and 60% flats
A full Product Transfer range is available including for your customers currently on a payment holiday.
Valuations - new interim process
We’ve taken some time to review our process and whilst social distancing measures remain in place, valuers are unable to do physical valuations. During this time we’ll look to use alternative valuation methods which will either be an automated valuation (AVM) or a desktop valuation.
We will also be reviewing our pipeline in the next few days, and where a physical valuation has not already taken place, we will endeavour to use the methods as described above. 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.
We're pleased to confirm we're extending mortgage offers for an additional three months, to nine months, for mortgage offers where we are able to verify current property value, to support your customers who are expected to move home in the near future.
We’ll require the completion of a property declaration form which will tell you everything we need to be able to extend the offer including the requirement of up to date evidence of the applicant's income and latest bank statement.
In line with industry guidance, 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.
UK Finance, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
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.
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 11th May 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.
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.
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
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, 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.
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 – 10am-4pm
- Saturday and Sunday – Closed