Non-bank lenders support 3 month Covid-19 payment break

Updated / Thursday, 19 Mar 2020 18:28

IIP members say they will suspend any pending rent increases during the acute phase of the Covid-19 outbreak

By Robert Shortt

Non-bank mortgage lenders and credit servicing firms have confirmed that they will support the measures announced by the country's five main banks yesterday. 

In a statement, the companies - which are members of Banking & Payments Federation of Ireland - say they will offer the same three month payment break for mortgage customers who are impacted by the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic as that announced by the five main retail banks yesterday.

The companies which represent investors - sometimes dubbed vulture funds - hold just under 100,000 mortgage accounts in the Irish market.

They will also defer court proceedings for three months.

Meanwhile, the Governor of the Central Bank, Gabriel Makhlouf, said there was no impediment to banks introducing three month Covid-19 payment breaks.

The Governor made his remarks in a statement issued by the Central Bank this evening, following a meeting with the five main retail banks to discuss measures to assist customers facing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic. 

The Central Bank's statement described the meeting as 'constructive'. 

The statement also said the resilience of the bank system in the short, medium and long term needs to be ensured so that it can serve consumers and the wider economy. 

It went on to say that the Central Bank expects all regulated firms to take 'a consumer-focused approach and to act in their customers' best interests.'

The Central Bank and lenders are working on 'practical measures' to ensure those who avail of a payment break will not be adversely affected when it come to the Central Credit Register. 

Some of the country's largest landlords and institutional property investors have said they will support tenants who are impacted by the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic through measures such as deferral of rent payments and payment plans.

Elsewhere, landlords who are members of the Irish Institutional Property (IIP) organisation have also committed to temporarily suspending the issuing of notices to leave to impacted tenants going through short term financial stress as a result of the pandemic.

The body is also to suspend any pending rent increases during the acute phase of the outbreak.

"Our member companies are committed to supporting the Government's efforts during this unprecedented crisis," said Pat Farrell, IIP chief executive.

"We are very much aware that some tenants will experience financial difficulties and we want to reassure them that our members stand ready to offer practical support to impacted residential tenants during this difficult time."

IIP counts among its members the country's largest private landlord, Ires REIT, as well as large residential property investors and developers such as Cairn Homes, Glenveagh Properties, Henderson Park  the new owners of Green REIT, Hibernia REIT, Hines Real Estate Investments and Kennedy Wilson.

In a statement the organisation said the decision followed discussions with Government about how best to support people during the crisis.

"These temporary and emergency measures are intended to support the Government's efforts, and particularly our members' residential rental customers, during this acute phase of the COVID-19 crisis and will be in place and under constant review by our members as necessary," it said.

Tenants whose landlords are member of IIP and who are impacted by the Covid-19 emergency are being encouraged to contact them as soon as possible.

Special phone and online support will be put in place to help tenants.

In the event that tenants are in the process of moving and wish to suspend their plans, IIP landlords will assist them with continuing accommodation, the statement also said.

Members of IIP are also in contact with the Government over the provision of self-isolation accommodation if required.

Additional reporting by Will Goodbody