Mortgages 

MPs to debate rent as part of mortgage affordability

MPs to debate rent as part of mortgage affordability

MPs are to debate whether rental payments should be used in affordability assessments after a petition calling for the change attracted almost 150,000 signatures.

The petition was launched in September 2016 by 27-year-old Jamie Jack Pogson, from Plymouth, who claims to have paid more than £70,000 in rent on time yet has struggled to get a mortgage.

In the petition’s description, he states: “Unless your [sic] getting handouts, wealthy or in receipt of inheritance it's almost impossible [to get a mortgage]. I want paying rent on time to be recognized as evidence that mortgage re-payments can be met.”

Petitions that attract more than 100,000 signatures must be debated in parliament.

A number of studies have shown first-time buyers are facing mounting difficulties when trying to get onto the property ladder, with recent research by Which? revealing many are being forced to save for up to a decade to be able to afford a deposit.

Mark Loydall, director at Cambourne Financial Planning, commented: “This is a really important issue. We lost a member of staff not long ago because he could not get a mortgage. He could not get one even though the mortgage was less than his rent because he was a self-employed contractor.

“In the end, we lost a good member of staff because he went to someone else. We could not employ him for 5 days a week, and a lot of other small businesses he worked for were affected. That is not very positive.

“What is happening at the moment is that people are losing out big time because even though their rent is more than the mortgage is expected to be they still do not meet other criteria and they do not get the mortgage they should be getting.”

But Danny Matthews, founder and CEO of Mortgy.co.uk, said: "I suppose by looking at the reliability of rent payments could help lenders make decisions but I don't see how this could be a reliable way of assessing affordability as when renting you have no liability to pay a total sum of money to anyone.

"Lenders will not take into account current rental payments when assessing affordability anyway. Maybe the petition should have been for lenders to loosen affordability instead, but in my view it's already been loosened and if you're being told you can't afford it - you probably can't afford it.

"We need a shift in our mindset about buying property in the U.K., not a work around - politically or institutionally."

simon.allin@ft.com

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