The news has unfortunately been filled with pictures and stories arising from the devastating flooding that has occurred recently. Some parts of the West Country have been largely underwater since before Christmas. Furthermore with groundwater levels still incredibly high there is every chance they will remain underwater for some weeks or possibly months to come.
The government has been eager to be seen to offer help to those in need at this time, but they are not alone. In recent days several of the biggest banks in the country have announced they will offer mortgage holidays to those who are affected by flooding.
Which banks are offering the holiday?
To date, Santander, HSBC and RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) are all offering the three month respite on mortgage payments. Customers should approach their individual bank for more information to see how to proceed.
A number of other measures have also been offered to help people manage their finances when they need them most. These include increases in ATM withdrawal amounts at RBS, and overdraft extensions have also been granted by Santander.
Interest only options also on offer at Santander
Another option flood victims may consider is the offer of interest only mortgage options from Santander. These mortgages are not generally a wise choice because they require the mortgage holder to pay off only the interest on the loan each month, rather than paying a portion of the capital amount as well. Those who are considering an interest only option should consider it only in a temporary manner until they are back on their feet.
A three month payment holiday will certainly come in extremely useful for many affected householders. The Somerset Levels have been affected for some two months now, with some villages cut off and virtually completely underwater. Even though the weather has abated somewhat, more rain has been forecast for the coming days. Furthermore, even if we had no more rain for the foreseeable future, it would still take several weeks at the very least for the water levels to subside to normal levels.
Even at this point homeowners will have the task of getting back into their water damaged homes so they can begin the drying out process – and this alone could take weeks more. Being able to take a temporary break from paying the mortgage will no doubt come as a relief to many whose lives have been so disrupted in recent weeks.
If your property has been directly affected by the flooding, it is advisable to approach your own bank to find out what they can offer you. Even if you are not a mortgage customer with the banks mentioned above, it is still worth seeing if a payment holiday can be arranged with your own bank. Some of the above banks have also announced further measures to support business customers who are dealing with flooded premises. The overall message is to seek out financial support in whatever way you can if you are a homeowner with a flooded property.