Eastbourne couple’s relief over interest-only mortgage extension

Len and Val Fitzgerald at their home in Brightland Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)
Len and Val Fitzgerald at their home in Brightland Road, Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby)

A couple who were facing losing their home of 17 years have breathed a sigh of relief as their bank has finally agreed to extend their interest-only mortgage.

Len and Val Fitzgerald were forced by circumstances to take up an interest-only mortgage on their Brightland Road home in 2007, and were told by Santander they must repay it in full when they turned 75.

Elderly Eastbourne couple faces losing home in mortgage shock

But in April 2018 the couple were unable to do so and said they were given two months to find alternative accommodation.

Now, after an intervention from Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, they have been made a new offer to stay in the house for another two years, when the situation will be reviewed. Mr Fitzgerald said, “We are extremely pleased and very relieved that Santander has offered us an extension.

“It’s been unbelievable, the pressure. This is our family home, our grandchildren visit on a regular basis, to lose it and move into rented accommodation would be an absolute nightmare staring us in the face. Now we have this breathing space.

“We can’t thank Stephen enough. We weren’t getting anywhere with the bank until he got stuck in. It’s important to have an MP who will stand up for people with genuine problems.”

Stephen Lloyd MP said he thought the situation was ‘dreadful’. He said, “I was pretty appalled Santander (unlike others) had an age limit of 75. So I rowed in on their behalf.

“I had numerous meetings with the bank, their trade association and other banks and building societies because it became very clear to me it was a national problem.”

Last week Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald were invited to Westminister to speak at an event about their situation. Mr Lloyd said, “It was tremendous to welcome this fine, dignified couple up to Parliament and good to see a positive outcome which will now stretch far beyond Eastbourne.”