We’re here if you need us

The information on this page is correct as of 06/05/2021

We’re keen to provide intermediaries with help and support during these challenging times. That’s why we thought it would be useful to share the answers to questions we hear the most.

Are mortgage payment holidays still available?

We won’t be able to accept any new applications for mortgage payment holidays after 31 March 2021, and any extensions will need to end by 31 July 2021. This is because the Government scheme is ending.

If a client already has a mortgage payment holiday in place, they may be able to apply for an extension after 31 March 2021. This will be subject to the maximum six-month total, can’t be extended past 31 July 2021 and must immediately follow the end of the original mortgage payment holiday with no break in-between.

To find out more, take a look at our mortgage payment holiday page.

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What are your current lending criteria?

Residential 

To find out our most up to date lending criteria and product availability, take a look at our fixed rate mortgages page.

Buy to Let

  • Maximum of five bedrooms
  • We have temporarily withdrawn from the HMO market

Affordable Housing

  • We continue to support the Shared Ownership market lending on properties up to 75% LTV and 95% borrower share

We also have support for a number of Shared Equity schemes, including Help to Buy and LIFT

Interest Only

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

All 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
  • Maximum LTV for flats is now 80%

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 90% for houses and 80% for flats
  • Buy To Let maximum LTV is now 70% for houses and 65% flats

Changes to self-employed criteria

Income must be sustainable with evidence of current trading through 3 months business bank statements – document request will be automated through the Mortgage Hub journey.

Cases with 3 or 4 applicants

Please use Mortgage Hub to progress all applications as paper DIPs and applications will no longer be accepted.

Important news

If you haven't done so yet, please click here to reset your password and start using Mortgage Hub for submitting new business.

Product Transfers

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

Valuations

Valuations are operating as normal, subject to any local lockdown restrictions. Valuation options depending on criteria, include remote and physical property inspections.

View our guide to valuations during the coronavirus pandemic 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 coronavirus pandemic, we have temporarily withdrawn from the HMO market at this time. This action is as a direct result of the unprecedented times we’re in and we apologise for any inconvenience.

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When does the stamp duty holiday end?

Last year the Government introduced a temporary stamp duty holiday. This means clients don’t need to pay stamp duty on the first £500,000 of their property purchase in England and Northern Ireland.

To qualify for this, they’ll need to complete their purchase by 30 June 2021. It’s important that your clients understand the implications of this. Please make sure you provide the requested paperwork with any applications.

After this date, the threshold will be £250,000 until 30 September 2021. Then it’ll revert to the usual level of £125,000.

If your client is buying their main home in Wales, the threshold for Land Transaction Tax is £250,000 until 30 June 2021. After that, the threshold will be £180,000.

In Scotland, the threshold for Land and Buildings Transaction Tax was also raised to £250,000 last year. This will revert to the standard £145,000 on 1 April 2021.

Are physical valuations possible during lockdown?

England

Physical valuations are possible during the national lockdown, which is taking place between 5 November and 2 December 2020. This means our valuation partners will continue to carry out physical property visits throughout England, in line with government guidance.

Wales

Physical valuations are continuing to take place during the ‘fire break’ lockdown in Wales, which is taking place between 23 October and 9 November. These will be in line with government guidance.

Scotland

Physical valuations remain possible in line with government guidance.

Northern Ireland

Physical valuations remain possible in line with government guidance.

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Are you accepting furlough income?

When calculating affordability, we won’t be taking furlough income into consideration for applications submitted on or after 1 February 2021.

We’ll continue to assess applications submitted prior to this date on a case-by-case basis.

Please bear in mind that the furlough scheme is due to end on 30 September 2021.

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 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

To apply, use our offer extension declaration.

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 his or her 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 is open and accepting applications, although there is a large backlog being worked through. We’re continuing to work closely with conveyancers to ensure completions progress in accordance with customer instructions.

Scotland

  • Registers in Scotland are shut but are accepting digital applications. Pre-COVID-19, the registers had a sizeable backlog of cases which has grown over the last few months as applications stalled. The registers have put a daily cap on the number of applications they will accept.

Northern Ireland

  • LRNI is open and progressing applications. They have backlogs to work through due to COVID-19 closures.

Learn more on the Government website.

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Pipeline Cases

We will proceed as stated at application stage unless you inform us of a change to the applicant’s/applicants’ 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.

Variable Income and Employment Terms

We'll now accept:

  • 100% guaranteed income; or
  • 50% non-guaranteed variable income where the customer can demonstrate this income is sustainable

We can now also consider customers that have been in their current role for less than six months, on a case by case basis.

Pension Income

We'll now require a pension projection statement dated after March 2020.

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

Our team is 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: