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Monthly Archives

November 2020


How Will Second Lockdown Affect Mortgages and Movers?

By Blog, Development Finance, Uncategorized

On the 31st October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new England lockdown, which was implemented on the 5th November. This is the second national lockdown for England this year, and has left many home movers concerned about what the future holds for their relocation plans.


Thankfully, official guidance has been published surrounding the property sector, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposing an extension on mortgage holidays to last until the 31st January 2021, helping those who are behind on their mortgage repayments or with multiple loans outstanding.


The Daily Express report UK Finance’s MD of Personal Finance Eric Leenders comments:


“Lenders are providing unprecedented levels of support to help customers through the Covid-19 crisis and stand ready to deliver ongoing assistance to those in need.”


“The industry is working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure customers impacted by the new lockdown measures will be able to access the most appropriate support.”


How Does the Second Lockdown Affect Movers?


Concerns have been raised for those currently in the process of moving homes, worried that the lockdown would cause delays to their plans. However, it’s been announced that estate and letting agents can continue to work throughout the new lockdown – provided that they follow the appropriate COVID-related regulations.


Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick tweeted just before the new lockdown that “Yes – the housing market will remain open throughout this period. Everyone should continue to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus by following the current guidance.”


Official guidance from the government regarding the matter of moving home was first published earlier in March this year, and subsequently updated during August. This guidance, it’s reported, still applies throughout this second lockdown England is currently in.


This guidance encourages prospective buyers to make the most out of virtual viewings, and to only visit properties on their shortlist of potentials. The guidance also claims that those visiting agent’s offices or viewing properties should wear an appropriate face covering (unless exempt).


Those selling their properties have also been encouraged to leave them for viewings, and adhere to government guidance around preparing properties for viewings – including cleaning hard surfaces, door handles and floors, and opening internal doors before prospective buyers visit with agents.


Those due to move house over the course of the next month have also been advised to do as much of the packing themselves as is possible, and to speak to removal firms in advance of the moves if they are unable to pack themselves up.


More advice on moving home can be found on the government website guidance page here.


Construction Should Continue Throughout Second Lockdown – PM Announces

By Blog, Development Finance

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that construction sites will be able to remain open over the course of England’s second national lockdown.


Addressing the nation on the 31st October, PM Boris Johnson stated that the construction sector could remain operating throughout the new lockdown, with restrictions in place from the 5th of November until the 2nd December. Johnson claimed:


“The virus is spreading even faster than the reasonable worst-case scenario of our scientific advisers […] so now is the time to take action because there is no alternative. Workplaces should stay open for where people can’t work from home, for example in the construction and manufacturing sectors.”


This clarity on the matter comes as a refreshing change to the sector, after the initial announcement of the March lockdown earlier this year caused confusion with some over whether or not sites should stay open.


In addition to the go-ahead from the PM for construction sites to remain open and operating during this lockdown, Johnson also added that the job retention scheme will be extended until December this year. Johnson said:


“I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I am truly sorry for that. That’s why we are going to extend the furlough system through November […] we will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”


The new restrictions for England’s new lockdown, implemented on the 5th November and remaining in place until the 2nd December, require people to remain in their homes unless for certain purposes, to not mix with households other than your own, and for certain businesses and venues to close.


Build UK stated the following on the matter:


Construction and manufacturing should stay open across all four nations, which is testament to the industry’s response to the pandemic so far. Sites are advised to review their social distancing measures and remind the workforce of the importance of complying with the Site Operating Procedures ‐ Version 6 whilst on site, as well as the new restrictions off site to protect their family and colleagues.”

Tradespeople can also continue to work in people’s homes as long as both the worker and household members have no symptoms of coronavirus. The Work Safe Safe Work Guide can be used to reassure householders.”


“Hotels can remain open to provide accommodation for workers. We are currently reviewing the implications for construction workers and please let us know if you have difficulty finding accommodation for workers working away from home.”


Build UK have also created an authorisation letter template. This template is for employers in construction to use should their workers be stopped when traveling to and from work, anywhere across the UK.


FCA Proposes Extension on Mortgage Holidays as England’s Second National Lockdown Looms

By Blog, Development Finance

With England’s second national coronavirus lockdown coming into effect this Thursday, the FCA have recently proposed an extension to the mortgage holidays deadline. Under such proposals, borrowers will have until the 31st January next year (2021) to apply for the payment holiday.


The scheme was set to end last Saturday, however, with the FCA’s new proposal, borrowers could now be provided with a little more leeway in light of the current situation, and the new measures due to be implemented.


According to UK Finance, some 2.5 million borrowers have opted for a mortgage payment break since the pandemic first begun.


Last week, a Joseph Rowntree Foundation study found 1.6 million households were concerned about their mortgage payments for the next three months. This new extension to the mortgage holiday scheme could be a welcome relief for some, providing support for borrowers who are financially struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The FCA’s Proposal


On Monday the 2nd of November, the FCA proposed to extend the payment holiday availability, adding to their website a section on “Our proposals to extend support”, stating:


“We announced that we would propose more support for people affected by coronavirus. We’ve set out these proposals below. If these are confirmed, we’ll provide details on how to apply for this support.”


“Remember, don’t contact your lender about this extended support just yet. But if you’re struggling with your finances, get in touch with your lender to discuss your options.”


What Does This Extension Mean for Borrowers? 


This extension could come as a great relief for borrowers struggling with mortgage repayments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The FCA’s proposals set out earlier this week included the following measures:


  • Those who haven’t already taken out a payment holiday will be eligible for a maximum of two payment deferrals over a total period of six months.
  • Those who already have a payment holiday will be able to apply for another deferral of three months.
  • Those who had a payment holiday but have now resumed their mortgage repayments can apply for another deferral of three months.


Borrowers who have had two three-month payment holidays already, or alternative support has been agreed with their lender, will not be able to apply for another deferral.


The new proposed deadline for requesting a payment holiday is now the 31st January 2021. It has also been reported that deferrals will not be marked on credit files as missed payments.


While the government has claimed that using the mortgage payment holidays will not impact upon borrowers’ credit files, some have reported that they found it difficult to get other types of loans after informing lenders that they had deferred their mortgage repayments.


Banks currently have until the 5th November (this Thursday) to respond to the FCA’s proposal.