Murray Souter, independent mortgage adviser at ESPC Mortgages, explains what you can do if you're struggling with mortgage repayments. 

COVID-19 and your mortgage

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK economy and on many people’s personal finances. If you are worried about your mortgage payments due to financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19, you should contact your lender.

The UK Government introduced mortgage payment holidays at the start of the crisis to assist homeowners struggling to make their mortgage repayments as a result of COVID-19. If you require a mortgage payment holiday, you should speak to your lender about your options.

Circumstances that may affect mortgage repayments

There are many different circumstances that may affect your ability to repay your mortgage. Some of these may include:

  • The death of a partner and subsequent permanent loss of one income
  • Redundancy for either partner leading to a temporary reduction in household income
  • Serious illness or accident resulting in one partner losing their income
  • Maternity leave resulting in a reduction in income
  • Marriage breakdown/divorce where one partner has moved out, causing problems with continuing mortgage payments until the property is sold
  • Coming to the end of a low fixed rate product and suddenly being faced with a substantial increase in mortgage costs due to current standard mortgage rates.

Different options to help you with mortgage repayments

Consider your finances and budget

If you do find yourself in one of these positions, you should consider your finances and your budget. If you have credit card balances or personal loans, it is very important not to just cease payments and you should discuss with the providers how you may be able to restructure the debt.

Mortgage payment holidays

As mentioned, many lenders are offering mortgage payment holidays to assist homeowners who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19. This is a pause on repayments until you are able to start paying them again. You should speak to your lender if this is something you would be interested in.

Use savings or get help from family

Using savings or obtaining financial help from a family member may be one option which would allow you to reduce monthly outgoings.

Buildings insurance

Buildings insurance is a condition of all mortgage products and must remain in place, but you may be able to shop around and obtain a lower cost product.

Mortgage and income protection insurance

Mortgage and income protection cover may also be in place and you should discuss with your lender how this can be maintained.

What happens if I don’t pay my mortgage?

A mortgage is basically a loan secured on a property and if mortgage repayments fail to be met, the property may be at risk of being repossessed to clear arrears. However, this would be a very last resort and all parties, including the lender, would be keen to avoid this.

The most important thing to remember is to advise your mortgage lender immediately if your circumstances change so that you can review your options. Missing mortgage payments will have an impact on your credit history and make it very difficult to obtain credit elsewhere.

Mortgage lenders are often more sympathetic than they used to be if clients go to them in advance to talk through changes in circumstances.

How can I reduce my mortgage repayments?

Lenders will want to work together to try and resolve the problem. In addition to payment holidays, other solutions may include extending the term of the mortgage to reduce the monthly payment or switching to a lower rate product.

About ESPC Mortgages

As independent mortgage advisers based in Edinburgh, ESPC Mortgages can help with all aspects of understanding your budget, applying for a mortgage and dealing with the relevant insurance requirements. Drop us an email at fsenquiries@espc.com or give us a call on 0131 253 2920.

The information contained in this article is provided in good faith. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of the information, no responsibility is accepted for any errors which, despite our precautions, it may contain. No individual mortgage advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article.

The initial consultation with an adviser is free and without obligation. Thereafter, ESPC Mortgages charges for mortgage advice are usually £350 (£295 for first time buyers). YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR OTHER LOANS SECURED AGAINST IT.

ESPC (UK) Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Lyncombe Consultants Ltd which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.