The Bank of England’s recent decision to raise its base rate to 0.75% (it’s highest level since 2009) was significant news for both borrowers and savers.
But the timing resulted in another important press release (issued only two days before) unfairly getting lost amongst the noise.
A ‘mortgage prisoner’ is generally someone who successfully took their mortgage out during a very relaxed era – by way of self-certifying their income (i.e not having to prove it), or providing little to no deposit at the point of purchase.
Such incredibly loose underwriting practices were very common in the ‘boom’ economy prior to the 2008 financial crisis, but the legacy lives on – around 150,000 homeowners are now unable to switch to a more favourable mortgage rate due to the introduction of tightened rules and regulations in later years.
We’ve been banging this drum at RateSwitch for a long time, so it was encouraging to see the issue being covered by BBC News, MoneySavingExpert, The Telegraph and This is Money (an article we contributed to).
If you’ve never been mortgaged under such circumstances, this dilemma won’t mean a great deal to you.
But if you owned (or perhaps still own) your home under a similar initial arrangement, you’ll be fully aware of how unfair this is.
Government intervention could eventually bring an end to such abandonment, where consumers have been continually told that they ‘can’t afford a cheaper rate’.
But how long will this realistically take? Let’s hope it’s a step in the right direction.
Panorama’s ‘Trapped by My Mortgage’ programme airs this coming Monday (the 22nd of October), and will be a must-watch for anyone currently bound by such ridiculous contractual terms.