Mortgage Holidays: Payment Breaks Investigated And Explained

27th July 2023
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If you're a homeowner or thinking about becoming one, you’ve probably heard the term ‘mortgage holidays’. 

But what exactly are they, and how do they work? 

In this article, we'll explore and explain mortgage holidays, so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you should take advantage of them.

What is a mortgage holiday?

A mortgage holiday, also known as a payment break, is a temporary period during which you can pause your mortgage repayments. 

Mortgage holidays can be useful if you're facing financial difficulties or have some unexpected expenses that need taking care of. Some lenders may even offer different types of mortgage holidays, such as partial payment breaks (where you still make reduced payments) or full payment breaks (where you pay nothing at all). 

People often take mortgage holidays for reasons such as:

  • Loss of a job
  • Maternity leave
  • Medical emergencies 

 

Impact on credit score and financial implications

A common concern is whether a mortgage holiday will affect your credit score. 

It's important to know that lenders may report mortgage holidays differently, so it's best to ask your lender directly about their reporting practices. Regarding long-term financial consequences, remember that the interest accrued during the payment break will be added to your outstanding mortgage balance, which could increase your monthly repayments once the holiday ends.

This is not a decision to be taken lightly.

Advantages and disadvantages of mortgage holidays

As you’ve no doubt already gathered, taking a mortgage holiday can offer some relief during tough times, but it's essential to weigh the pros and cons before you agree to one. 

For clarification, let's break some of the advantages and disadvantages down:

Pros:

  • Financial relief: A mortgage holiday can provide temporary relief if you're facing financial difficulties, allowing you to focus on other pressing expenses
  • Flexibility: Taking a mortgage holiday gives you the flexibility to manage your finances and recover during the payment break
  • Reduced stress: Taking a break from mortgage payments can help ease stress and anxiety during challenging periods
  • Time to reorganise: The payment break can give you the opportunity to reorganise your finances and create a plan to get back on track

 

Cons:

  • Increased interest: Interest will still accrue during the payment break, which means you'll end up paying more in the long run
  • Longer mortgage term: Extending the mortgage term to accommodate the payment break may result in you paying off your mortgage over a longer period
  • Higher repayments: The interest accrued during the mortgage holiday will be added to your outstanding mortgage balance, potentially leading to higher monthly repayments once the holiday ends
  • Potential impact on credit score: Although not always the case, some lenders may report mortgage holidays differently, which could potentially affect your credit score. It's important to discuss this with your lender before taking a mortgage holiday



So, while a mortgage holiday can provide some much-needed relief, it's crucial to consider both the short-term benefits and the long-term implications before making a decision. 

Remember to consult with your lender or a financial advisor to explore all available options and ensure you're making the best choice for your situation.

Eligibility for mortgage holidays

Wondering if you're eligible for a mortgage holiday?

Generally, lenders have specific criteria to determine eligibility, which may include having a good payment history and the length of time you've had your mortgage. Keep in mind that each lender is different, and they may have additional requirements or restrictions. Unsurprisingly, the best way to find out is to contact your them directly.

As with everything to do with property and finances, open communication is key, so don’t be scared to contact your mortgage provider if you need help.

The application process

If, after reading all of the above, you think a mortgage holiday could help you and you’d like to apply for one, the first step is to reach out to your lender. 

They'll guide you through the application process, which will typically involve providing documentation to support your request (like proof of financial hardship). Be open and honest with your lender, as they're there to help. 

The timeframe for approval and implementation can vary, so it's best to start the process as soon as possible if you're facing difficulties.

Alternatives to mortgage holidays

If you're not sure a mortgage holiday is the right choice, there are alternatives to consider, including:

 

Each option has its pros and cons, so it's crucial to research and consult with your lender or a financial advisor to find the best solution for your situation.

Final thoughts on mortgage holidays

Mortgage holidays can be a helpful option for those facing temporary financial difficulties, but it's essential to weigh up the implications carefully.

Before taking a mortgage holiday, it's crucial to carefully consider both the short-term relief and the long-term consequences. Always consult with your lender or a financial advisor to explore all available options and ensure you're making the best decision for your unique situation.



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