Coronavirus Help & Support

We appreciate that as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), tenants may endure financial difficulties. We encourage landlords to be sympathetic to their tenants’ needs and the payment holiday scheme explained on this page is designed to help landlords support tenants during this difficult time.

If you do request a payment holiday, remember that the deferred payments will still need to be paid at a later date and interest will continue to accrue.

TAKING A 1-3 MONTH PAYMENT HOLIDAY 

Please read the important information below if you are considering applying for a mortgage payment holiday.

Can I apply for a payment holiday?
You can take up to a maximum 3 months’ payment holiday if you’ve been affected by the coronavirus in one of the following scenarios:

  • Your tenant(s) has been financially impacted by the coronavirus and is unable to pay their rent; or
  • Your tenant(s) has vacated the property, and you are unable to re-let the property due to the coronavirus.

A 1-month payment holiday may also be granted if you (or your agent) are currently unable to collect rent due to the coronavirus. However, we would expect alternative arrangements to be made for rent collection in the long term.

What is a payment holiday?
It means deferring your monthly mortgage payments for a set amount of time, in this case for up to three months. However, it’s important to remember that you still owe these payments and they will still need to be paid at a later date.

How does a payment holiday work?
During the holiday, interest will continue to accrue and be charged to your account, which means your outstanding balance will increase.

Where you have a repayment mortgage, in most cases we expect that the interest accrued during the payment holiday and the deferred capital repayments, will be paid by spreading them over your remaining term.

Where you have an interest-only mortgage, in most cases we would expect that the interest accrued during the payment holiday will be added to the balance you owe at the end of the term.

In both scenarios, you will be paying interest on an increased balance and as a result, your future monthly payments will increase. The total amount of interest you pay over the term of the mortgage will also increase.The Money Advice Service website includes a link to a mortgage holiday payment calculator which gives consumers an indication of the impact of a payment holiday on their monthly payments.

Please note: This calculator is not affiliated with Zephyr Homeloans and you will need to input the following details in order to use the calculator. You can find these details on your annual mortgage statement.

  • Your mortgage balance
  • Your current interest rate
  • Your remaining term
  • Your repayment type (i.e. capital repayment or interest only)

Should you wish to pay another way, or if you think you will have difficulties making the increased monthly payments, we will provide you with the opportunity to discuss this with us further.

If a payment holiday is agreed, and you usually pay by Direct Debit you do not need to do anything, once the payment holiday is processed, the payment will not be collected.

If a payment holiday is agreed and you pay by standing order, or if you have a recurring payment set up through online banking, then you will need to contact your bank to cancel it to avoid payments being made during the payment holiday. If you have a payment due in the next 7 working days this still needs to be made and you should only cancel once this payment has been sent.  Remember, you will need to reinstate the standing order or recurring payment at the end of the payment holiday, ensuring that it is set for your revised monthly payment amount.

During a payment holiday, if there is an interest rate change, or if a transaction occurs that results in a payment recalculation on your account, we will still send out a letter advising you of the change to monthly payment. However, if you have a payment holiday agreed, then the payment will not be collected or be payable and you will be advised of your further revised monthly payment towards the end of your payment holiday.

What if I’m already in arrears?
We will continue to send monthly arrears letters, as your previously missed payments are still outstanding. Your credit score will continue to reflect the same arrears status as immediately prior to the payment holiday.

What if I can afford to make some form of payment?
If, during the payment holiday, you can afford to make payments towards your account, we would encourage you to do so. The payment holiday will remain in place for your full monthly payment, but the overall amount deferred will be less. Your balance will not increase as much as it would if no payment was made and the impact of the payment holiday on your future monthly payments and the amount of interest you pay will be reduced. If your account is currently in arrears, any payments received during the payment holiday will be used to reduce the arrears.

If I take a payment holiday what will happen to my credit file?
If your account is currently up to date, then your credit file will continue to reflect this status.

Please note: Whilst we are working on the basis of industry and government guidance to ensure that the payment holiday will not adversely impact your credit file or be classed as arrears, we cannot guarantee how other lenders will interpret the payment holiday when assessing any future lending decisions. If you are currently in arrears, then your credit file will continue to reflect the same arrears status during the payment holiday as immediately prior to it.

When will the payment holiday take effect?
We will do our best to ensure your payment holiday starts in line with your request. However, due to the high volume of requests being received it may take us longer than usual to process your request. Once your payment holiday is processed, we will write to you to confirm its start date.

If your next monthly payment is due in the next 7 working days, your payment holiday will start from the following month. If you are unable to meet your full payment in the meantime, then this payment will fall into arrears.  In order to minimise the amount of arrears outstanding we would advise you to make a payment for as much as you can afford.

What happens at the end of my payment holiday?
After your payment holiday ends, your monthly payments will become due again. If you previously paid by Direct Debit and the Direct Debit hasn’t been cancelled by you, we will automatically collect your payments again by Direct Debit. If you previously cancelled your Direct Debit, you will need to make arrangements to restart your monthly payments.

In the final month of your agreed payment holiday, we will write to you before your next payment is due to explain the impact of the payment holiday on your monthly payment and to provide details of your revised monthly payment amount.

If, at that point in time, you consider that you will have difficulties in making your payments for any reason or you would like to pay back the deferred amounts in a different way (e.g. by lump sum or regular overpayments), you will need to contact us to explore what further options might be suitable for you.

When you have read and understood all the information above, please call us to request a payment holiday.

Please note: We are currently dealing with a higher number of calls from customers than normal. So that we can support those in the most vulnerable situations please only call if your enquiry is urgent. We are doing our best to help customers as quickly as possible and we appreciate your cooperation. If you do need to speak to us please remember that our call wait times are likely to be longer than normal.

OTHER INFORMATION

Further information that may be of use to you if you are impacted by the coronavirus at this time.

Help with payment difficulties
Please see our main Help with payment difficulties page for help and support.

The StepChange debt charity has published a reduced income guide on their website that aims to help people deal with a reduced income due to the coronavirus.

Other ways to make your monthly payment
Perhaps you are having trouble making your monthly payment because of the latest movement restrictions or illness / isolation. To discuss any alternative payment options that may be available, please contact us.

Getting a third party to help you manage your account
If you are finding it too difficult to manage your account during this period, or would simply like additional support in dealing with your account from a third party (such as a friend or family member) you may wish to consider setting up a third party authority to allow us to deal with someone who is able to assist you in respect of your account.

Please note: If you wish the nominated third party to act for you and other borrowers named on the account they will be required to sign the form also. In addition, please ask your nominated third party to complete their details and provide a signature in the relevant sections of the form.

Where the nominated third party is an individual their signature confirms they have received a copy of our Privacy Notice which can be accessed here. Please ensure they receive a copy of this, or notify them where this can be accessed.

To enable a third party to obtain information and/or make payments on your behalf to your mortgage account with us, please complete and sign the Third Party Authority form and return it to:

Zephyr Homeloans, Gateway House, Gargrave Road, Skipton, BD23 2HL

CORONAVIRUS AND YOUR WELLBEING

Mental Health
The mental health charity MIND has produced a helpful guide – Coronavirus and your wellbeing – which aims to provide information to support anyone who is feeling anxious about coronavirus. It might be helpful to those who are self-isolating or working from home.Domestic Abuse

Since the lockdown began, there has been a significant rise in incidents of domestic abuse.  The Government has issued guidance on their website to support victims of domestic abuse and launched a social media campaign to publicise the availability of support #YOUARENOTALONE

It is estimated that 95% of domestic abuse victims also experience economic abuse. If someone else is controlling your finances or stopping you from controlling your finances, the charity Surviving Economic Abuse has also provided additional guidance and support on their website.

Be aware of scams
Unfortunately, fraudsters are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to defraud individuals. Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from preventable financial fraud. They have published a scam alert on their website to help individuals spot and avoid scams in relation to coronavirus.

More information about the Covid-19 virus
Details of the Government’s response to coronavirus can be found on the UK government website.