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Covid-19 Update

COVID-19 Update - Version 18, Updated 03/11/2020

The health and well-being of our colleagues, customers and communities is our utmost priority. Following on from the recent government's announcement we’re working hard to ensure that we can return to work whilst keeping everyone safe. 

View our Covid Secure Countrywide Group Risk Assessment

Mortgage and Protection

  • Am I eligible for a mortgage payment holiday? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The mortgage payment holiday scheme is designed to protect the most vulnerable by alleviating immediate financial pressure and any stress or worries they may have about meeting all their financial commitments and day to day needs during the pandemic.

    After further measures to tackle the pandemic were announced by the government on 31st October, the scheme has been extended. Updated guidance is relevant to borrowers who

    • have yet to take a payment holiday
    • have taken one payment holiday of less than 6 months and resumed making full payments,
    • are currently within a first payment holiday period,
    • have already taken payment holidays of 6 months in total or are currently within a second payment holiday period.

    Eligibility for a payment holiday and the length of time it can be taken for will be dependent on which of these scenarios apply to you.

    If you have not taken a payment holiday you can request a payment holiday of up to 6 months in total, but lenders can only agree a payment holiday of up to 3 months at a time. They can then agree to renew your payment holiday after the first 3 months, as long as this doesn’t take you over the 6-month limit. If the full 6 month period is taken and you continue to experience financial difficulties on expiry, your lender may provide further tailored support beyond this.

    If you had taken an initial payment holiday of 3 months, and on expiry resumed making full payments, but are again experiencing financial difficulties, you are eligible to take 1 further holiday for a maximum period of 3 months. Should you take this further payment holiday and you continue to experience financial difficulties on expiry, your lender may provide further tailored support beyond this.

    If you are currently within a first payment holiday period of 3 months and at expiry will continue to experience financial difficulties you will be eligible to take 1 further holiday for up to 3 months. Should you take this further payment holiday and you continue to experience financial difficulties on expiry, your lender may provide further tailored support beyond this.

    If you have taken a second payment holiday and the period has expired or if you are currently within a second payment holiday period you will not be eligible for a further payment holiday. If you continue to experience financial difficulties your lender may provide further tailored support beyond this.

    You need to apply for a payment holiday by 31 March 2021 and should apply in good time before your February 2021 payment is due if you want to benefit from the maximum 6 months deferral, as all payment holidays must end by 31 July 2021.

    Your lender will work with you to assess your situation and agree with you whether a full or partial payment holiday is in your best interests and the period of the holiday which best suits your circumstances.

    Remember, carefully consider if you need a payment holiday – and make payments if you can.

    Tailored Support

    If you’re not eligible for (or do not want) a payment holiday, your lender will provide tailored support that will take into account your individual circumstances. This will give you time to get back on track. Your options could include:

    • making no payments for a temporary period (this may be reported on your credit file)
    • making reduced payments for a temporary period
    • changing your mortgage term to make your payments more affordable 

    Your lender should be clear about what these options will mean for you, and what this support could mean for your credit file.

  • Is a mortgage payment holiday right for me? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The mortgage payment holiday is designed to protect the most vulnerable by alleviating immediate financial pressure and any stress or worries they may have in meeting all their financial commitments and day to day needs.

    If you feel that you may struggle financially, taking the payment holiday (either in full or in part) may be the right thing for you to do and in the first instance you should contact your mortgage lender.

    If, however, you feel you can meet your monthly mortgage payments during this crisis, without it impacting on your everyday needs, then you should strongly consider continuing to pay them.

    If you have taken or are considering taking a mortgage payment holiday, you must be aware, like any holiday, it must be paid for. For example, at the end of the holiday period your repayments to the end of your mortgage term might be recalculated by the lender to consider repayment of the portion of the outstanding loan payable, plus the interest not repaid during the deferred period. This may mean your new repayments are greater than you may have budgeted for and cause you further financial difficulty.

    Taking these practical steps may help you determine if a mortgage payment holiday is right for you.

    Work out your finances.

    Write down what money you currently have coming in from all sources, then consider any loss of income you may experience as a result of either being furloughed from your place of work or even losing your job due to the impact the crisis has had on your employer or self- employment opportunities.

    Work out your outgoings.

    Write down all your outgoings, prioritising these in order of most need, i.e. food, utilities (water, gas, electric) etc.

    This may be a good time to review whether payment for some of your non-essential commitments can be suspended or cancelled, for example gym memberships etc.

    Work out what can you afford.

    If your outgoings including your mortgage payments are likely to place financial stress on you and your family then you should contact your mortgage lender immediately to discuss your payment holiday options.

    It is important that you do not simply cancel your Direct Debit mandate as this may be counted as a missed payment and you will likely be charged by your bank. Your lender will suspend taking payments from your account once they have confirmed you are eligible for and the terms of your holiday have been agreed.

    You need to apply for a payment holiday by 31 March 2021 and should apply in good time before your February 2021 payment is due if you want to benefit from the maximum 6 months deferral, as all payment holidays must end by 31 July 2021.

  • Can I still get a mortgage to buy a property? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes you can. Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” to help review your mortgage and protection requirements, all from the comfort of your own home.

    Using the technology that Countrywide already has in place, we can progress the whole mortgage and protection application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*. To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can. *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

    Updated government advice can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-advice-on-home-moving-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

  • Contact details for your mortgage lender. Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

     

    Lender

    Contact details

    Barclays

    https://www.barclays.co.uk/mortgages/

    BM Solutions

    0345 850 5000

     https://secure.lloydsbank.com/

    Coventry Building Society

    0800 121 8899

    https://www.coventrybuildingsociety.co.uk/

    Halifax

    https://www.halifax.co.uk/mortgages/existing-customers/payment-holidays/?WT.ac=PaymentHoliday

    HSBC

    https://www.hsbc.co.uk/help/coronavirus/

    Leeds

    https://www.leedsbuildingsociety.co.uk/coronavirus-information/

    Nationwide

    https://www.nationwide.co.uk/support/coronavirus/mortgage-payment-holiday

    NatWest

    https://personal.natwest.com/

    Platform

    https://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/news/2020/coronavirus-support-personal-customers

    Precise

    https://www.precisemortgages.co.uk/

    Santander

    https://www.santander.co.uk/personal/coronavirus?icid=php-Hero-Coronavirus-0320

    Scottish Widows Bank

    0345 845 0829

    The Mortgage Works

    https://www.themortgageworks.co.uk/payment-holidays

    Virgin Money

    https://uk.virginmoney.com/contact/support-hub/coronavirus/

     

  • I have taken an initial 3-month payment holiday, but I know that I won’t be able to start paying my mortgage payments again when this period ends, what should I do? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    The government and the FCA have said lenders should continue to support any customer who has already had a payment holiday but need further help.

    As your current payment holiday nears its end, your mortgage lender should contact you to discuss your options. This may be that they offer an extension to the holiday period or work out with you a way for you to begin repaying some of your monthly payment amount to offset the interest accruing and lessen the impact of increased payments at the end of the extended term or when you can afford to begin repaying your monthly payments in full.

    Your mortgage lender may also suggest transferring your current arrangements to an alternative fixed or reduced rate deal.  If this is their suggestion, it may be advisable to seek further advice from a Countrywide Mortgage and Protection Consultant.  Here at Countrywide we are able to consider a wide range of mortgage products from across the market place and may be able to find a better rate or product with an alternative lender, which may be more suitable for your current and future needs.

    We do however agree that where you can meet some or all of your mortgage payments, you should begin to do so as soon as you can. This is providing of course that you can meet your day to day needs for you and your family and not overstretch yourself and missing a mortgage payment, as this may count as a payment default, again leading to you possibly being charged. Where possible, avoid using an overdraft facility to meet your payments as this could lead to future financial problems.

  • Can my lender repossess my home if I am unable to make any or all of my payments when the payment holiday ends?’ Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Your home should not be repossessed before 31 January 2021 without your consent, unless there are other exceptional circumstances.

    Your lender shouldn’t start repossession action unless all reasonable attempts to resolve the position have failed. But if you can’t agree a repayment plan, your lender may look to start court action to repossess your home. 

    Lenders can start repossession proceedings, seek a court hearing, and ask for a possession order before 31 January 2021 and the court may grant an order for possession. However, a lender can’t take steps to enforce that order and repossess your home until 31 January 2021, unless you have agreed to the repossession or there are other exceptional circumstances.

    If you’re facing repossession, find out where you can get free debt advice

  • Will my ability to access credit, obtain a mortgage/re-mortgage be affected if I take or extend a payment holiday? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Your lender shouldn’t report payment holidays, agreed under the guidance, as missed payments on your credit file. This should help to minimise the impact on your future credit prospects if you're able to get back on track at the end of a payment holiday.

    You should remember that credit files aren’t the only source of information that lenders can use in lending decisions. Factors other than payment history may also be relevant. For example, lenders may consider your bank account information, your use of credit products, or how much you are in debt, when making a lending decision.

    If, after taking payment holidays of 6 months, your lender agrees that you can continue to temporarily defer payments, this may be reported to your credit file in accordance with normal reporting processes. If your lender agrees to provide you with more support, they should tell you what this will mean for you and your credit file.

    It is therefore important that, where you can afford to continue or resume making repayments, you should do so to avoid the impact to your credit file and having to repay the deferred amount, either through a lump sum or by adding the deferred amount to the outstanding mortgage and having to either extend your mortgage repayment period or increase your monthly repayments.

  • Can I still remortgage as my current interest rate is coming to an end? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Following the recent Bank of England base rate cuts many lenders are still offering low remortgage rates for customers looking to reduce their monthly mortgage payments.

    Countrywide Mortgages Services can still help provide an “Advice and Recommendation service” and using the technology that is already in place, we can progress the whole remortgage application process over the phone and email. This includes digitally signing all the necessary forms and paperwork*.

    To get started please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    *A fee will be payable for arranging your mortgage. Your Consultant will confirm the amount before you choose to proceed.

  • How do I get in touch with my Mortgage and Protection Consultant if the branch is closed? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have been liaising directly with your Mortgage Consultant then please continue to do so using the email or telephone number that they have supplied to you.

    We have set up a central email address for all new enquires and this is monitored regularly. Please email admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

  • How do I make a claim on my AXA or AVIVA policy that I arranged through Countrywide? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you have to make a claim or have a query on either your household or personal protection policies, in the first instance please refer to your policy document which will highlight all the main helpline numbers.

    We have however listed all of the main contact numbers for both AXA and AVIVA below.

    Please do not cancel a policy without first speaking to us, as your valuable protection will no longer apply. If you wish to change or adjust any of your policies, or you wish to take additional cover then please contact us at admin@mortgagescountrywide.co.uk and include your contact details and we will arrange for a member of our team to call you back as soon as we can.

    AXA:

    AXA Claim - Homeowner

    Contact

    Buildings, Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1638

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1641

     

    AXA Claim - Landlord

    Contact

    Buildings, Landlord’s Contents and Carpets, Curtains and White Goods

    0345 521 3905

    Domestic Helpline and Home Emergency

    0330 058 1639

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1643

     

    AXA Claim - Tenant

    Contact

    Contents, Personal Possessions and Pedal Cycles

    0345 521 3905

    Legal Helpline and Legal Expenses

    0330 058 1642


    AVIVA:

    Personal Protection

    Contact

    Changing details, making a claim or ask a question

    Aviva Contact Us

    Manage your existing policy

    Aviva My Account

     

  • Can I defer my insurance/protection payments? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    Yes you can as the payment deferral facility that finished on the 30th October 2020, has now been extended.

    Customers who are struggling financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) can still defer their premiums whilst retaining their important benefits and levels of cover.

    If your financial situation changes for the better at any time and you feel you are able to meet your monthly premiums and/ or repay any previously deferred payments, without placing yourself into undue financial difficulty, you should consider doing so at the earliest opportunity. By doing so, it may help you to avoid the possibility of having to repay the total deferred premium amount through either increased premiums or a large one-off sum at the expiry of the deferred period and prior to the expiry of the agreement/policy term.

    *If you would like to apply to defer your premium payments, then in the first instance please use the contact details below; 

    AVIVA  Protection policies-  Apply using either their website or contact  AVIVA direct on 0800 2851 098

    AXA insurance policies Apply by contacting Countrywide Insurance Services on 01908 961399

    *Please note that Terms, conditions and eligibility criteria apply.

    If you are unsure whether a premium deferral is the right thing for you, it may be of benefit to review the free and impartial advice provide by the Money Advice Service using their money navigator tool which can be found here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool

  • I previously deferred my insurance/protection payments – what happens now? Chevron Down IconIcon set Chevron Down

    If you had deferred your insurance premium payments and are worried that you will still be unable to meet your insurance premium payments or repay the amount deferred, your insurer may agree for you to continue to defer the payments previously due and future payments. This would be dependent on your circumstances and other options available to you.

    *If you would like to discuss arrangements for continuing to defer your premium payments or other options available to you then in the first instance please use the contact details below; 

    AVIVA  Protection policies Apply using either their website or contact  AVIVA direct on 0800 2851 098

    AXA insurance policies Apply by contacting Countrywide Insurance Services on 01908 961399

    *Please note that Terms, conditions and eligibility criteria apply.

    If you are unsure whether a premium deferral is the right thing for you, it may be of benefit to review the free and impartial advice provide by the Money Advice Service using their money navigator tool which can be found here: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/money-navigator-tool

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