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Employer refusing reference

(22 Posts)
user1486287257 Sat 01-Apr-17 17:04:42

I am applying for a mortgage. The relocation means a longer than average commute, which I am personally happy to do. Even at the present time I work flexible hours and sometimes from home, which is what I told my mortgage lender. They wanted my employer to confirm this and I was confident that it would be straight forward. But it wasn't, to my amazement the HR department refused to comment on the flexible working but only confirmed the permanency and salary. The lender was not satisfied and now I'm in the final stages of the mortgage have held up giving the offer to review the situation.

My line manager stated that a lady at HR even went so far as to say "this seems to be only for the benefit of getting the mortgage, as soon as it is successful then she will resign so we cannot provide this reference" !!

It sounds like employment blackmail and was wondering what the situation was on the legal front ?

Floggingmolly Sat 01-Apr-17 17:09:12

Why would it make any difference to the mortgage application confused. If they've confirmed your salary, your hours worked must be roughly the same per week / month; your actual place of work should be pretty irrelevant?

user1486287257 Sat 01-Apr-17 17:13:13

It turns out that if there is no flexible working there is danger that the employee would quit work and therefore become employed and hence unable to afford the mortgage ! Also, the reference reassures the lender that the purchase is for ownership not for investment

NoParticularPattern Sat 01-Apr-17 17:17:47

Surely flexible working and working from home are not necessary for someone to get a mortgage? What about all the people who don't have flexible hours and the opportunity to work from home?

As far as my experience goes with mortgages, references from employers are just to prove earnings and permanency. Unless you're like my friend and have lived out of the country prior to applying, then you need some extra bits from your employer.

Surely with any job there is a risk that you will become unemployed and therefore unable to pay the monthly instalments? Flexible hours or not?

Floggingmolly Sat 01-Apr-17 17:18:55

Most people manage to get mortgages with full time, non flexible jobs hmm
You sound very confused, actually; I doubt very much the mortgage company told you having a normal 9 to 5 job was riskier to them in terms of the likelihood of defaulting on the mortgage.
You're talking utter nonsense.

daisychain01 Sat 01-Apr-17 18:06:13

All the lender needs to know for mortgage purposes, is

- do you have regular month income, to service the mortgage debt (you would show them your 3 most current salary slips) and
- is your employment status permanent, hence a more solid risk status from the lender's perspective. Again your salary slips would show your employment status as being permanent due to presence of Staff ID.

The stuff about flexible working status may have hit HRs red-button If they weren't prepared to be 'painted into a corner' by declaring categorically that you have the right to working from home in case it becomes viewed as a contractual right. If it is contractual, you could produce your contract, but you shouldn't need to.

Whyever did you talk to your lender about your work pattern? It's absolutely none of their business or of any material value for them to know if your bum is on a seat in the office or at home.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 01-Apr-17 18:10:11

Are you buying somewhere so far away from your place of work that the lender is questioning whether you are actually going to live in the property? Otherwise I can't see the issue.

As far as your employer is concerned if what the HR woman had said is true that is very odd. All employees have the right to resign and give notice as per their contract. Can your line manager write and confirm your current working pattern?

How long is this commute?

insancerre Sat 01-Apr-17 18:13:01

Just how far away is this house?

ijustdontknowanymore Sat 01-Apr-17 18:15:16

Moving - I think you've hit the nail on the head there. I work from home, and during my mortgage application had to provide evidence of that, as my head office is theee hours away from my house so incommutable. Essentially I think they want to ensure you plan to live in the property, and not rent it out.

user1486287257 Sat 01-Apr-17 18:39:33

Thank you ! Finally someone intelligent enough who understands what I'm saying. As I mentioned it is a longer than average commute ! Which is about 2.5 hours, and no my line manager is too scared of HR to say anymore unfortunately.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 01-Apr-17 19:01:41

What does your employment contract say about your hours? You could ask for a statement of employment particulars and that should reflect your actual situation (or what hours you do now and where you work). Legally your employer had to provide you with such a statement (usually organisations large enough to have an HR department do this in a contract of employment) within two months of you starting work.

If your contract has "evolved" then you can ask for a statement of employment particulars to reflect your current contract. They cannot refuse this but it is issued to you, not the lender.

NoParticularPattern Sat 01-Apr-17 19:11:02

I would suggest not inferring that PP are unintelligent is probably a better strategy to get reasonable advice. At no point in your OP did you state the length of your commute- only that it was longer than average. For a lot of people "longer than average" could mean an hour- clearly for you this is 2.5 hours. Make yourself clear.

That being said, I had no discussions with my lender about my working patterns or working from home when I bought a house 3 hours away. All my lender wanted to know was if I had a job, what my basic hours were, how much I was salaried and if I could expect (based on pay slip evidence) a regular amount of overtime.

However, being unintelligent I shouldn't expect my experience counts.

user1486287257 Sat 01-Apr-17 19:18:18

Thank you movingonup for your wise answer that's a good point you make I will look into the contractual situation. Many thanks indeed !

Instasista Sat 01-Apr-17 19:22:29

I'm not at all surprised your HR won't do this. It IS unusual because most of the time the mortgage company don't give a crap how you get to work (you could air bnb through the week for example) are you high risk/ low deposit? That seems like the kind of things they'd ask about if you were. If not, try another mortgage lender

user1486287257 Sat 01-Apr-17 19:24:06

Noparticular - My response was to the individual who assumed I was talking "utter nonsense", in comparison to those who understood immediately. Thanks for your advice.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Sat 01-Apr-17 19:41:22

To be fair to everyone who was confused I've worked in both financial services and HR for years and I wasn't complete sure!

prh47bridge Sat 01-Apr-17 21:19:37

All the lender needs to know for mortgage purposes

is not some list that you have constructed. It is whatever they think they need to know. It seems they think that, if the OP does not have flexible working, there is a risk she will become unemployed (I presume this is what the OP meant in her second post rather than employed) and hence unable to afford the mortgage.

OP - Do you have anything in writing from your employer confirming your flexible working arrangements? That might satisfy the lender.

Personally this kind of behaviour from an employer would make me far more likely to leave than if they provided the required reference.

daisychain01 Sat 01-Apr-17 22:41:20

I am very surprised by this.

I work in London and live about 110 miles from my office. I commute and stay in London until Wed and work 2 days from home. I moved house from the Home Counties out West in the past 3 years.

At no stage did our mortgage lender question my distance from work or my ability to get to and from work due to distance. This is HSBC btw.

Is this a new thing? Or is it something to do with the size of mortgage. We don't have a high mortgage. <100K

daisychain01 Sat 01-Apr-17 22:44:20

And we moved from a different lender so had no previous history with them.

user1486287257 Sun 02-Apr-17 00:02:49

prh47bridge - this is exactly what I thought, I must admit that I'm slightly out off by my employers behaviour about this. However we have managed to get a variety of emails/reference letters stating I'm different ways how I work flexibly. So I'm hoping the lender will be able to piece together the story and will favour our application.

Daisychain - I like your reply, and hope that we are also able to put across a good argument. Not sure if it's a new thing. But the distance is from oxford to Leicester. And house price is touching £300k.

Thanks to both !

daisychain01 Sun 02-Apr-17 05:46:06

user1486 - you could say you will do what I do, stay at a Travelodge. You could also say that there is precedent in your company for this work pattern/commute.

What persuaded me it was do-able was talking to several colleagues who have a similar arrangement. One of them lives in Cardiff.

Best of luck!

user1486287257 Sat 08-Apr-17 16:24:39

So just an update then. Mortgage has been declined. The HR department has provided every confirmation: flexible working policy, home based opportunities, permanency of employment and assurance of continuation following relocation (i.e. no resignation is in place).

So they have decided to decline because the employer cannot explain exact work pattern of how I will work. They simply cannot do this because no working week is the same.

My broker has managed to rescue the situation somewhat by offering to provide a "sample working week" inclusive of costs involved, and to direct the attention to costs and reevaluate affordability, rather than working pattern.

Simply unbelievable ! If the letter doesn't work I will be very pleased to see the back of this underwriter and lender.

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