Flaherty calls for clarity on mortgage ‘holidays’

Published on: 10 March 2020

Fianna Fáil TD for Longford, Joe Flaherty, has called for clarity as to which banks are offering mortgage ‘holidays’ to those affected by the Coronavirus and what their terms and conditions are.

Deputy Flaherty also said that mortgage holidays offered to those affected by the Coronavirus should be passed onto any renting tenants.

Currently, some banks offer customers a break from making mortgage repayments if they have an unexpected drop in income, are in danger of going into arrears or have additional expenses. This is then made up at a later date.

There are various types of mortgage holidays depending on the lender and they can include paying interest only for a certain amount of time, taking a break altogether for a few months or using mortgage overpayments to take a break.

Deputy Flaherty explained, “In the UK Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have announced additional support to customers hit by coronavirus, including mortgage holidays of up to three months.

“This is a practical response to the crisis we find ourselves in. The banks, in particular those owned by the Irish taxpayers, should be able to put these measures in place.

“I have been contacted many times over the past few days mainly by those who are self-employed and private sector workers who are extremely worried about how they will pay the bills if they are told to self-quarantine.

“Likewise, any landlords who get a break from their lender should offer a break to their tenants too. We need to make a concerted effort to look after one another and ensure the least amount of a financial burden is imposed on people.

“No one should be forced to choose between following medical advice to self-isolate or to continue working in order to avoid mortgage or rent arrears. We need to take the worry off of mortgage holders and private tenants, and this is one sure way of doing so,” concluded Deputy Flaherty.