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Two-fifths ‘uncomfortable discussing finances with mortgage lender or landlord’

by Joshua Garcia

A recent survey conducted by debt help charity StepChange has revealed that a significant portion of people who rent or have a mortgage would feel uncomfortable discussing their finances and budget pressures with their lenders or landlords. The survey found that 39% of respondents fell into this category, indicating a widespread level of discomfort when it comes to addressing financial difficulties.

Interestingly, those who rent privately seemed to be particularly hesitant about discussing their budget pressures, with over half (55%) feeling uncomfortable. This figure was slightly lower for mortgage holders, with 30% expressing discomfort. These findings shed light on the existing financial challenges faced by individuals in both renting and homeownership.

One concerning statistic from the survey was that nearly a fifth (18%) of respondents were unsure about who to approach if they encountered financial issues. This figure rose to 25% for private renters specifically. This highlights the need for greater awareness of the resources and support available to individuals who are encountering financial difficulties.

StepChange Debt Charity emphasizes that free debt advice charities can provide assistance to those who have fallen behind on their rent or mortgage payments or are simply worried about meeting them. In order to accommodate struggling mortgage holders, some lenders offer options such as extending the length of the mortgage to reduce monthly payments or going interest-only temporarily.

Vikki Brownridge, the CEO of StepChange Debt Charity, acknowledges the difficulty individuals face when opening up about their financial struggles. However, she emphasizes that lenders and social landlords have a responsibility to support customers facing financial hardship, especially in the current cost-of-living crisis. Debt advice charities like StepChange provide impartial guidance and trained advisers to help individuals explore their options and navigate their budget.

The survey, carried out by YouGov in September, interviewed almost 2,000 people across the UK. Chris Norris, the policy director for the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), encourages renters to speak to their landlords at the earliest opportunity if they are facing financial difficulties. The NRLA’s research shows that the vast majority of private landlords respond positively to requests for help from tenants. However, Norris also highlights the shortage of available rental properties as a significant factor that contributes to rising rents, and urges the government to take actions to address this issue.

Charles Roe, the director for mortgages at trade association UK Finance, advises those struggling with their finances to reach out to their mortgage lender as soon as possible. He reassures borrowers that contacting the lender to discuss their options will not negatively impact their credit file. UK Finance highlights the extensive support available to borrowers and cites the fact that lenders helped over 200,000 borrowers who were unable to meet their full mortgage payments last year. Additionally, 47 lenders, representing over 90% of the market, have committed to the government’s mortgage charter, which aims to provide further assistance to borrowers.

These findings emphasize the importance of open and honest communication between tenants, homeowners, lenders, and landlords when it comes to financial difficulties. It is crucial for individuals to be aware of the support and resources available to help them navigate challenging financial situations and take proactive steps towards finding solutions.

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