We remain open for business and the vast majority of our staff are now able to work from home. We’re available across the usual channels
How are you conducting property valuations?
Our number one priority is the health and safety of customers and the valuers who visit their homes. As part of the application process, you’ll have the ability to select the client’s preference for a desktop or physical valuation. Our valuation provider will carry out a risk assessment to check that it is safe to visit a property and that clients are happy to have a valuer in their home. Valuers will follow the Government guidance, wear the appropriate PPE throughout the valuation and take a number of precautions to minimise additional risk.
A physical valuation will not necessarily be appropriate or possible for everyone - including if people in the property are shielding, high risk or isolating. Our dual approach will help to provide an option for the vast majority.
To protect the health and safety of customers and solicitor firms during social distancing, the Equity Release Council (ERC) have temporarily changed their Rules and Guidance, enabling the conveyancing process to complete without a face-to-face meeting with a solicitor.
The temporary process that has been agreed by the ERC requires that the additional steps below must be taken:
The customer must be advised that it's usually a face to face advice process and consent to proceeding without face-to-face advice.
There now must be four Mandatory Contact Points between solicitor and customer (number not previously prescribed).
Advice must be provided to all parties to the lifetime mortgage in writing. This must then be followed with video or telephone calls which are recorded (by playback or note).
The solicitor must confirm, insofar as it's reasonably possible from their interactions, that the customer has mental capacity and is not under any duress or undue influence.
The solicitor must confirm the identity of the witness to the mortgage deed (and explain witness must observe social distancing).
How will Porting and Further Advances be affected?
For existing customers looking to move home (and port their mortgage) and those seeking a further advance, we will now be able to accept applications that are able to have a physical valuation.
Previously we had taken the decision to temporarily suspend new applications and pipeline cases where a physical valuation had not yet been undertaken. This was because any other valuation method is unlikely to result in a good outcome. With the introduction of physical valuations, we will now be able to re-consider these requests again on request.
For customers who have had their lifetime mortgage for more than 12 months, they will now be able to request a further advance, as per the product terms.
Can my client still use their drawdown facility?
Yes. We’re pleased to confirm that we're currently able to maintain a good service for our existing customers and there is currently no impact to drawdowns.
Are payment holidays available for Optional Payment Lifetime Mortgages?
We've changed our process to allow our customers to miss up to 3 monthly interest payments, without these counting towards the 6 missed payments, allowed in the product terms. We hope this will help our customers during this time.
Alternatively, if they wish, they can stop making monthly interest payments at any time and convert to interest roll-up, but remember if they do this, they can’t restart making monthly interest payments.
My client has moved into long-term care but they're unable to get a certificate from a GP to confirm this. What can they do instead?
We understand it is difficult for our customers to see a GP at this time, so we've changed our process to make things easier for them. Long Term Care Certificates can now be signed by a registered carer.
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