Fact check: No evidence mortgage lenders are refusing loans based on positive coronavirus tests


Social media users are sharing a claim that mortgage applications are being declined for people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Reuters could not find any evidence to show this is the case. However, if someone wants to protect their loan with insurance cover, a positive test could be an issue.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

These posts can be seen here , here and here .

One of the posts reads: “A friend has just been told he can’t get a mortgage because he had a positive rona (sic) test weeks ago. They said they don’t know how it’s going to affect his lungs in the future, so he doesn’t qualify.” And you thickos still think it’s about the virus.”

Reuters reached out to the publisher of the earliest version of the post for details about the case and did not get a reply. Reuters is therefore unable to verify the circumstances concerning the individual referenced. However, the financial watchdog and mortgage brokers say questions about a mortgage applicant’s health are not generally asked.

Britain’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said mortgage lenders “do not routinely ask questions about your health as part of the mortgage application”.

“We can see no reason why any lender would be concerned about someone testing positive for Covid. If the wider pandemic had resulted in someone losing their job or a significant amount of income, this could be a reason for a mortgage to be refused,” a press officer for the FCA told Reuters by email.

Two mortgage advisers also told Reuters they were not aware of any banks asking for coronavirus test results.

“I am not aware of any mortgages declined to COVID-19-infected clients,” said Elena Todorova, associate director, Property Finance, SPF Private Clients. She said banks, however, ask if any businesses may have been affected because of the pandemic, and whether a client had access to government funding.

Another mortgage broker, who did not wish to be named, said no bank had asked him for details of a client’s test results. “Their only concern is the financial implication of the pandemic for a client – whether they have been furloughed or financially affected,” he said.

While Reuters could find no available evidence of mortgage applications declined because of a positive coronavirus test, the British Medical Association (BMA) has reported that some health workers’ insurance applications have been deferred until they make full recovery after becoming ill from COVID-19.

Insurance cover is not required to get a mortgage, but the BMA highly recommends health workers to protect their mortgage against death, critical illness and loss of income (here) .

The association says insurance has been deferred, but not denied, in cases where someone has tested positive or has COVID-19 symptoms, and the rules apply to everyone, not just medical workers.

VERDICT

Misleading. The Financial Conduct Authority and mortgage advisers say lenders generally do not enquire about an applicant’s health. Reuters could find no evidence of mortgage applications being refused on the basis of a positive coronavirus test. However, some health workers have had insurance applications deferred until they have recovered from COVID-19, following positive test results.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts   here   .     

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