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Mortgage prisoner lenders agree payment holidays and repossessions halt

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23/03/2020
Prominent mortgage prisoner lenders have agreed to match mitigation measures for borrowers hit by the Covid-19 outbreak that are being conducted by the wider lending industry.

They also pledged to pass on the Bank of England Base Rate cuts made this month.

The lenders, UK Asset Resolution (UKAR), Landmark, and Heliodor all committed to allowing borrowers affected by the coronavirus to take three-month payment holidays

And they will not be beginning any new repossession orders or continuing any existing ones during this time.

Heliodor

Heliodor is one of several lenders overseen by Computershare. A spokesman said that it would also be passing on the two interest rate cuts that have driven the Bank of England Base rate to a record low of 0.1 per cent.

“Heliodor won’t be undertaking repossessions for three months,” a spokesman said.

“In addition, we’ll make a payment holiday of up to three months available to any customer who contacts us and requests support because they are experiencing a direct or indirect financial impact as a result of coronavirus.”

He added: “We can confirm that with effect from 1 April 2020 the variable mortgage interest rates for mortgages with Heliodor, Melanite, Rosolite, Siberite and Topaz are to be reduced by 0.65 per cent to reflect both recent reductions in the Bank of England’s Base Rate.”

Landmark

Landmark told YourMoney.com‘s sister title Mortgage Solutions it was implementing a moratorium on all possession activity initially for a three-month period and it has put a stop on any possessions currently in the system with immediate effect.

“We are fully supportive of the industry measures in relation to the up to three-month payment holiday and will be looking to implement this scheme as soon as is practicably possible,” a spokesman said.

Regarding the base rate cuts, Landmark confirmed its tracker mortgage rates and those on loans linked to the Bank of England Base Rate will also decrease by 0.65 per cent.

It is also decreasing its Standard Variable Rate (SVR) by 0.65 per cent from 5.04 per cent to 4.39 per cent, which will take effect from 1 April.

Customers will be contacted with details about the changes.

UKAR

UKAR, which is the holding company for mortgage loans taken under public ownership during the financial crisis, said it was also following the moves and had a number of measures in place to support those affected by the coronavirus.

“During this time we will work closely with our customers to understand their needs and look at various options to support them through this period,” said a spokeswoman.

“We can offer payment holidays of up to three months for customers who aren’t in arrears if required. We have also suspended repossessions for a period of three months allowing customers a period of time to assess their finances.

“If any customer is concerned they may struggle to make their payments they should contact us as soon as possible.”

It added that the 0.65 per cent reduction will be passed on to customers whose loans contractually track the BoE base rate and those on Standard Variable Rate products, with the majority taking effect from 1 April.

Cerberus

The UK Mortgage Prisoners campaign group has also written a letter to Cerberus which holds thousands of mortgage prisoner loans calling for it to “put people over profits”.

The letter from lead-campaigner Rachel Neale details the mental and physical impacts on people’s lives by having to maintain these payments as many have remain trapped on rates above 4.79 per cent for the last decade.

“We are asking Cerberus and the anonymous investors in our homes to show compassion and reduce our payments so that they are in line with current market rates,” said Neale. “Even if our rates were reduced to three per cent, this would still be a healthy return on your investment.

“We are asking that you show the same humanity that many of mortgage prisoners are showing, working on the frontline, to get us through this current crisis by helping those who fall ill; some of whom will no doubt be members of your own family and friends,” she added.

Cerberus has been contacted for its stance on the rate cuts and coronavirus mitigation measures.

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