Relocation and Mortgage Penalties


Does your Canadian relocation program assist employees with the sale of their home and the purchase of their new home? 

What does your policy say regarding “Porting the Mortgage” to the new home?  What is your “Penalty” payout provision?

Most people who are relocating have an existing mortgage on their home.  They may have a good interest rate and, most lenders; have a provision for Porting the Mortgage to the new home.  If the new home purchased is a lower value than the current home and  requires a mortgage of a lesser value than the origin home, the employee may be able to use their prepayment privileges to pay down their current mortgage amount, before or during the mortgage port. In other words, many lenders will allow a port to a lower valued home and will not charge any penalty if the mortgage is within the pre-payment privilege limit.

If the mortgage for the new home is higher than the origin home, the lender will arrange to loan the difference but the rate will be much higher and the blended rate may be very high making the payment much larger.  The employee may want assistance with paying out the mortgage with a penalty so that they can negotiate a better rate

The employee may have a mortgage with a lender that does not have a portability provision and other lenders are only in the Province, therefore porting the mortgage will not be allowed.  As well, if the employee is moving globally, there is no option but to pay a penalty on the mortgage. 

How many of us know what we are signing when we sign the mortgage documents.  In conversation with John Wright, AMP, Mortgage Broker with Dominion Lending Centres I review the mortgage penalty.


Real Talk :  Mortgage Penalties

When it comes to mortgages, it is easy to focus on the rates and your current situation, but the reality is that life happens and when it does, rates won’t be the only thing that matter.

At the end of the day, a mortgage is a contract between you (the homeowner) and the bank. As such, there are often penalties involved if the contract is ever broken. This is something that every homeowner agrees to when you sign mortgage paperwork, but it can be easy to forget – until you’re paying the price. These things do happen as approximately 6 out of 10 mortgages in Canada are broken within 3 years. Should your circumstances change, knowing the next steps can help you navigate the process.

Calculating Penalties

Typically, the penalty for breaking a mortgage is calculated in two different ways. Lenders generally use an Interest Rate Differential calculation or the sum of three months interest to determine the penalty. You will typically be assessed the greater of the two penalties, unless your contract states otherwise.

Interest Rate Differential (IRD): In Canada there is no one-size-fits-all rule for how the IRD is calculated and it can vary greatly from lender to lender. This is due to the various comparison rates that are used. However, typically the IRD is based on the amount remaining on the loan and the difference between the original mortgage interest rate you signed at and the current interest rate a lender can charge today.
Ideally, you will want to be aware of what your IRD penalty would be before you decide to break your mortgage as it is not always the most viable option.  

In this case, these penalties vary greatly as they are based on the borrower’s specific mortgage and the specific rates on the agreement, and in the market today. However, let’s assume you have a balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6%, 36 months remaining in your 5-year term and the current rate is 4%. This would mean an IRD penalty of $12,000 if you break the contract.

Three Months Difference: In some cases, the penalty for breaking your mortgage is simply equivalent to three months of interest. Using the same example as above – balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6% – then three months interest would be a $3,000 penalty. A variable-rate mortgage is typically accompanied by only the three-month interest penalty.
Paying The Penalty

When it comes to making the payment, some lenders may allow you to add this penalty to your new mortgage balance (meaning you would pay interest on it). You can also pay your penalty up front. Whenever possible, if you can wait out your current mortgage term before making a change to your mortgage, it is the best way to avoid being stuck in the penalty box. If you cannot avoid a penalty, do note that, while only calculators can be great tools for estimates, it is best to contact me directly to discuss your mortgage terms and potential penalty calculations.

For further details on any mortgage details contact John Wright.  He will answer any questions you may have and offer free advice to you or to any of your employees. Direct: 289-8324 Cell: 905-609-2211; or

If you have any questions or require additional information regarding your relocation services, please contact Carolyn Willer at