A buy-to-let mortgage – or BTL mortgage – lets you borrow money to purchase a residential property to rent out, rather than one in which you intend to live. Sometimes known as a landlord mortgage, a BTL mortgage allows you to let your property to tenants, students or holidaymakers. It is an unregulated business product rather than a consumer mortgage and usually has a higher interest rate and requires a bigger deposit.
A buy-to-let mortgage is similar to a traditional home loan mortgage, except that you borrow money to buy a home that you won’t be living in. BTL mortgages tend to be taken out on an interest-only basis, meaning your monthly payments only pay off the interest. At the end of the mortgage term, you will be expected to cover the remaining capital or sell the property. Most people remortgage regularly to get new deals.
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Buy-to-let mortgages are for landlords who plan to rent out a property as a business or investment – to make money from rental income and increasing property prices.
BTL business mortgages are not covered by consumer-protection regulation. Due to tax changes, many business landlords have switched to setting up limited companies to manage their BTL properties. Lenders now offer mortgages specifically for these kinds of limited companies.
You may also have heard of a second type of BTL mortgage, known as consumer buy-to-let mortgage, aimed at people who no longer live in their property and would like to rent it out temporarily.
There are several reasons why this second type of BTL mortgage might suit you, including:
you have moved in with a partner and are renting out your old home until you can sell it
you want to go travelling for several months and don’t want to leave your house empty
you might have inherited a house and want to rent it out until you decide what to do with it
Consumer buy-to-let mortgages are regulated in a similar way to a standard residential mortgage.
How much you can borrow will depend on your credit score, how much deposit you have and your business plan. Your age and income from other sources can also influence lenders.
Lenders will want to see at least a 25% deposit and most prefer 40%, giving a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 60%. Most BTL mortgages are interest-only to keep the monthly costs down. Interest rates are often a little higher than for standard mortgages.
The lender will want to be sure your rental income will be enough to cover the costs of being a landlord and not just your mortgage repayments. You will be responsible for buildings insurance and for maintenance and statutory checks. Your rental income must cover these on top of the interest payment for the mortgage.
Lenders will also want to be sure you can still afford to repay the loan if the property remains empty (void) or existing tenants stop paying their rent. You may choose to take out further insurance to cover these events.
Most lenders require borrowers to be at least 21 to apply for a BTL mortgage and make it more difficult or expensive for you to get one once you pass 60.
As with standard mortgages, lenders will look at a range of factors when considering your eligibility, such as:
However, stricter rules will also apply for buy to let mortgages. Lenders will also require:
A higher deposit
- lenders will expect a minimum of 25% for buy-to-let mortgages
Projected rental income
- your rental yield must cover the cost of your mortgage payments, repairs and any periods where the property remains vacant
You’ll need to get your calculator out to work out exactly which deal is best for you as different lenders – and even different mortgage deals from the same lender – come with differing costs. Cost factors to consider are shown below.
The bigger your deposit, the more choice you will have. You’ll also be offered deals with lower interest rates if you have a sizeable sum to put down on a property. BTL lenders tend to like a minimum of 25% as a deposit but better deals appear once you have 40%. This gives a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 60%. The difference between 75% and 60% LTV can add 10% to your monthly costs.
Interest rates for BTL mortgages are often a little higher than for standard residential mortgages. You can choose from 2 and 5 year fixed rate mortgages. Some lenders even offer 10 year fixed rate mortgages for new purchases. There are also tracker-style and standard variable rate mortgages – although the latter currently tend to cost twice as much fixed rate BTL mortgages.
Like residential mortgages, standard loan terms are 25 years. Lenders may impose shorter loan terms on older borrowers and this will increase the monthly interest charge. Remember, if you have a fixed interest period, you will probably need to remortgage at the end of it to avoid a much more expensive interest rate.
Product fees can range from nothing to several thousands of pounds. Some have small initial fees and then a larger fee on completion. Some lenders allow you to add the fee to your mortgage debt, increasing your monthly cost. Fixed deals have early redemption charges too.
Buy to let mortgages tend to work out more expensive than standard home loans. Even the lowest buy to let mortgage rates tend to have higher interest rates than normal residential mortgages.
That's because there's more risk to the lender that you won't be able to make your mortgage repayments. This could happen if you can't find suitable tenants, the property's empty for longer than you planned, or your tenants stop paying rent.
If you're looking for the best buy to let mortgage, don't just go for the headline rate. Check carefully to see whether any fees will apply. You'll probably need to remortgage in a few years, so check whether early repayment charges apply.
The cheapest buy to let deals will give you a low interest rate and low fees for taking the mortgage out - or they might even be fee-free.
You may want to consider setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) limited company for your buy-to-let properties. Tax changes brought in from 2017 stopped individual landlords from deducting mortgage interest as a business cost. But limited companies can deduct this interest, meaning less of the rent is taxed.
There are also benefits of receiving income from rented properties via a limited company, particularly for higher rate taxpayers. Instead of paying income tax on rental earnings, limited companies pay corporation tax on profits, at a rate of 19%. The owners then pay a reduced rate of tax on dividends.
Tax advantages are the main reason why more landlords started to set up limited companies for owning properties. Mortgage lenders will now lend to these businesses in the same way they do to individuals.
It is a good idea to see a tax adviser to understand your options and to discover whether setting up an SPV would work for you.
Becoming a landlord can be a great investment opportunity, but it isn't without its risks. Do your research to make sure you can get a healthy rental yield and compare deals to find the cheapest rates available.”Nisha Vaidya, Mortgage Editor
When you're looking at a buy to let mortgage comparison table, you'll see that each lender has a different buy to let mortgage criteria.
One of the key things to look out for in buy to let mortgages is the maximum loan-to-value (LTV) rate. The LTV is the difference between the value of the property, and how much deposit you've saved up. If a lender says the maximum LTV they'll accept is 75%, that means you'll need a deposit of at least 25% of the property's value.
When you're searching for the best buy to let mortgage deals, the lender will look at the size of the buy to let mortgage deposit you've saved up.
A buy to let mortgage deposit needs to be much larger than a residential one. Most buy to let mortgages require a deposit of at least 25%, making the maximum LTV much lower at 75%.
However, if you want to access the best buy to let mortgage rates, aim for a higher deposit. This can be around 40%, meaning you have an LTV of 60%.
There are a number of differences between a buy to let mortgage and a residential mortgage that you'd take out for a home you're going to live in.
While residential mortgages look at how much you earn when deciding how much to lend to you, a buy-to-let mortgage looks at how much you’ll be able to rent the property out for when making that decision. A buy to let mortgage deposit also needs to be much larger than a residential one.
The tax treatment is different because lenders and the government see being a landlord like running a business. Finally, most residential mortgages are repayment mortgages but buy to let mortgages tend to be interest-only.
Buy to let mortgage interest rates differ depending on the size of your deposit, the type of property you are buying, and the current economic client and interest rate environment.
The best buy to let mortgage is one that's right for your own personal circumstances. It should also give competitive BTL mortgage rates, have a low or no arrangement fee, and be flexible enough to let you switch at a later date.
If you're thinking of purchasing a buy to let property, you can compare buy to let mortgage deals with our comparison tables to find some of the best BTL mortgage rates.
It can be more expensive to buy a rental property than a home to live in. Buy to let mortgage rates and arrangement fees are normally higher, and you'll have to pay more stamp duty. Stamp duty is a tax you pay when you buy a property. You'll also have to pay the normal costs of conveyancing, including solicitors and surveyor's fees.
Your lender will expect your rental payments to cover the interest on your buy to rent mortgage - and more. Bear this in mind when you do your initial buy to let mortgage calculations.
Most buy to let mortgages are interest only. When you're thinking about getting a BTL property to rent out, you'll need to make sure the rent income covers the cost of your mortgage payments and you should have a plan for how you'll pay off the outstanding amount of the loan at the end of the mortgage term.
At the end of the buy to let mortgage term you can either pay off your buy to let loan or remortgage your buy to let property.
This depends on the terms of your buy to let mortgage, but it is unlikely that your lender will allow it. Often, as a condition of your buy-to-let mortgage the property must be let to tenants and not lived in by you. This is because your tenants should be paying you rent which you can use to repay your buy to let mortgage instalments.
If you break the terms of your buy to let mortgage, your lender could ask you to repay your mortgage.
The two main ways to pay off your mortgage balance are interest only and repayment. Here is how to work out which best suits your finances.Read More
Compare all Buy to Let remortgage deals that can be used for an existing BTL property. A good BTL remortgage deal could reduce your interest rate, charge lower fees or help you to save over the term.Read More
†Mojo Mortgages TrustScore correct as of 20/12/2021