A helping hand for mortgage holders was announced at the start of August by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt with a view to providing support to residential mortgage customers suffering from rising interest rates.
The Mortgage Charter has three key elements:
- Anyone can talk to their bank or mortgage lender for information and support, and this will have no impact on their credit score
- People can choose to swap to an interest-only mortgage or extend their mortgage term, with the option to switch back to their original mortgage deal within six months with ‘no questions asked’ and no impact on their credit score
- Customers won’t be forced to have their homes repossessed within 12 months of their first missed payment.
Further flexibility relates to customers approaching the end of a fixed-rate deal.
Under the new Mortgage Charter, customers will be able to lock in a deal up to six months ahead and still apply for any better deals that are available right up to the start of their new term.
Affordability checks will be waived for those switching to a new mortgage deal if they are up to date with their payments when their fixed term ends.
“Comfort for the anxious”
In the Foreword to the Charter, Jeremy Hunt commented, “These measures should offer comfort to those who are anxious about high interest rates and support for those who do get into difficulty. As we have consistently shown through the pandemic, and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, we will always be on the side of households.”
Nikhil Rathi, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority said, “This Charter builds on the work we and lenders have done over recent years to ensure those who get into difficulty receive the support they need. The additional commitments from signatories provides customers with clarity and certainty on how they can expect to be treated.”
As a mortgage is secured against your home or property, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up mortgage repayments