We sincerely hope you and your family have been staying safe. In order to keep our staff, clients, and everyone else in the community safe and to help stop the spread of COVID-19 we are open by appointment only. We are available by phone (519-743-4365), email, video conferencing and in office by appointment only. You can contact your broker or agent on the cell phone number or email listed below. We are here to help during this time, please feel free to reach out about anything we may be able to assist you with.
Richard Kitts – 519-743-5374 – email@example.com
Paul Eckmier – 519-743-4367 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Chelsea Kitts – 226-338-1671 – email@example.com
Jonathan Kitts – 226-338-1672 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Lovsin – 519-829-5588 – email@example.com
Katie Childs – 519-743-4366 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bhavina Bhogal – 519-743-4365 ext. 0 – email@example.com
For general inquiries, please call 519-743-4365 ext. 0 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you ASAP.
WHAT HOMEOWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CURRENT LENDING LANDSCAPE
Here are a few important considerations for homeowners and potential homeowners to keep in mind during this time:
- Mortgage application turnaround time may be an upwards of 15 days in some cases given the current climate and growing developments.
- If you require an appraisal, there can be issues that could delay or prevent access of the appraiser into the home. Lenders are being proactive and exploring policy options to help circumvent this as best they can.
- Don’t forget this situation is new to our mortgage brokers and lenders as well as the rest of us, so they are being cautious yet innovating to overcome any issues.
- Rush transactions will be met with challenges.
THE STRESS TEST
In light of this growing situation, OSFI has announced that it is suspending all consultations, including those regarding changes to the proposed B-20 benchmark rate. In addition, the Minister of Finance postponed the announced April 6th qualification change for insured mortgages. In short, until further notice, the Bank of Canada posted 5-year rate (which has dropped to 4.79%) will continue to be used for mortgage qualification.
WHAT LENDERS ARE DOING
Lenders are offering different options to assist you which also include re-amortization of mortgage, special arrangements for payments and the capitalization of outstanding interest and costs, you must call your lender to find out what applies to you.
In addition to big banks, monoline lenders and credit unions, the mortgage insurers Genworth Canada, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Canada Guaranty are also offering 6 month mortgage payment deferrals to those who purchased a home with less than 20%.
- Deferral of payments for up to 6 months
- Re-amortization of the loan
- Capitalization of outstanding interest & costs
- Special payment arrangements
Here are some important statements from these lenders regarding COVID-19:
- B2B Bank: COVID-19 – We stand prepared and ready to help
- CMLS: COVID-19 Update
- Equitable Bank: COVID-19 – we’re here to help
- First National: Keeping you informed: COVID-19
- Haventree Bank: COVID-19: We are here for you when your world turns upside down
- Home Trust: Statement from Home Trust on COVID-19
- HomeEquity: HomeEquity Bank Communication – COVID-19
- Manulife Bank: A message regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- MCAP: COVID-19 Update: Skip-A-Payment / Hold-A-Payment Programs
- Motusbank: A message from Bill, our CEO. We’re with you through the COVID-19 Virus
- Peoples Group: What we’re doing during coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Simplii Financial: We’re here to help with whatever you need
- Tangerine: Tangerine Bank here to help our Clients impacted by COVID-19 with new financial relief program
In addition to helping homeowners manage their finances through deferred mortgage payments and adjustments, the Canadian Government has also come to the aid of families who may be struggling currently.
To help those currently struggling, the following measures are being taken or have already been implemented:
- Income Tax Payments: The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all taxpayers to defer payments for any income tax amounts that are owing between March 18, 2020 and September 2020 until August 31, 2020. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period.
- Taxpayers who are required to remit quarterly instalments may benefit from up to 5 months of tax deferral.
- Income Tax Filing: Income tax return filing has been extended one month from April 30, 2020 until June 1, 2020.
- If you receive and rely on the GST credit or the Canada Child Benefit, it is still ideal to file sooner to ensure that the entitlements for the 2020-2021 benefit year are not delayed.
- For trusts with a December 31, 2019 year end, the tax return filing due date has been extended to May 1, 2020 (from March 30, 2020)
- Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs): The required minimum withdrawals from RRIFs will be reduced by 25% for the 2020 tax year.
In addition, the Canada Revenue Agency is adapting their Outreach Program in order to better support individuals during COVID-19. This service allows the CRA to offer assistance to ensure individuals understand their tax obligations and to help them obtain the benefits and credits to which they are entitled.
EMERGENCY FUNDS DURING COVID-19
To combat COVID-19, the Canadian government introduced the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This benefit was designed for all Canadians who have ceased working due to COVID-19, whether they are eligible for EI or not, and will provide $2,000 per month (for up to four months) to those affected.
The CERB is designed to cover Canadians who have:
- Lost their job due to COVID-19
- Are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19
- Are working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures
- Are still employed, but are not receiving any income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19
In a recent announcement, CERB was extended from the original 16 weeks (4 months) to up to 24 weeks (6 months) for workers who meet the above criteria. Click here for more information.
On July 31st, the Canadian Government announced the last scheduled CERB. The pay period is set to end on September 26th. The federal government plans to transition recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) still requiring support, over to the Employment Insurance (EI) at this time.
CERB & EI
It is vital to note that Canadians cannot receive EI regular and sickness benefits and CERB in the same period. You can receive funds from the provincial government (such as the BC Emergency Benefit) and CERB from the federal government at the same time, but not EI.
If you are already receiving EI regular benefits, you will continue to receive those same benefits until the end of the benefit period. If those benefits end before October 3, 2020, you may then apply for the CERB if they meet the eligibility requirements. However, EI claims of those who became eligible as of March 15th will be automatically processed through the CERB. After four (4) months of receiving CERB, you willl be able to apply for regular EI benefits if you are still unemployed. Receiving CERB first will not affect your eligibility to receive EI benefits after the four month period.
You can apply online with CRA My Account through the COVID-19: Canada Emergency Response Benefit in the alert banner at the top of the page or you can do so over the phone with an automated phone service by calling 1-800-959-2019.
Keep in mind that the CERB benefit is taxable. No tax will be taken directly from the cheque, but it will instead be payable next year.
Here are some links to reliable sources of information regarding COVID-19
- Being prepared and preventing the spread
- Mortgage Centre Canada & COVID-19