Let-to-buy mortgages: What you need to know

If you're looking to rent out your current property so you can afford to buy a new one, a let-to-buy mortgage could be the solution.

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Let-to-buy mortgages are popular among homeowners who need to move, but don’t want to sell up immediately because their property’s value has plummeted. They’re also commonly taken out by homeowners moving in with a partner.

What is a let-to-buy mortgage?

With this type of mortgage, you’re essentially transitioning your existing residential mortgage into a buy-to-let mortgage.You’ll cover the costs of this mortgage by renting out your old property.

Often, you’ll also have the opportunity to release equity from your old property, in order to fund a mortgage deposit from your new one.

As with buy-to-let mortgages, you can expect to pay higher interest rates than those offered by residential mortgage providers.

Let-to-buy mortgage lending criteria

Each lender will have slightly different minimum lending criteria for their let-to-buy mortgages, but here are some standards shared by many of them.

  • You must be at least 25 years old and no older than 75.
  • Your property must bring in a monthly rental income worth at least 125% of your mortgage repayments.
  • You’ll need equity (or a deposit) worth at least 25% of your property’s value.

You’ll be put through the same affordability assessments and credit checks as you would for any other mortgage.

The lender will typically want to see evidence that you could afford the monthly mortgage repayments, even during void periods lasting a few months.

Let-to-buy with bad credit

It may be possible to be approved for a let-to-buy mortgage with poor income and bad credit if you approach a specialist lender. A professional mortgage adviser will be able to recommend you the lenders most likely to work with you based on your financial circumstances.

Are you ready for a let-to-buy mortgage?

A let-to-buy mortgage isn’t as simple as choosing a lender, making an application, finding a tenant and swanning off into your new home. There are several other factors you’ll need to be aware of before applying.

  • Landlord responsibilities. As a landlord, you’ll be responsible for your property remaining well-maintained and safe to live in. It’ll be down to you to fund and arrange emergency repairs. You’ll need to provide an official tenancy agreement and stick to the terms listed within it. You’ll need to provide appropriate protection for your tenants’ deposits. If you prefer, a letting agent will be able to take care of all this on your behalf.
  • Stamp duty. When buying a second property, you’ll pay an extra 3% on top of regular stamp duty costs (4% in Scotland). You can get this premium refunded, provided you sell your previous property within 36 months of buying the new one.
  • Income tax. You’ll have to pay the correct amount of tax on your rental income every year, via self-assessment. The rules surrounding income tax from rental property are relatively complicated. Make sure you understand them or you could end up over-paying.
  • No regulation. Unlike residential mortgages, your let-to-buy mortgage won’t be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Work with a professional mortgage adviser to ensure you use a reputable lender providing reasonable terms.

Alternatives to let-to-buy

It may be possible for you to add a “consent to let” to your residential mortgage. This will allow you to let out your property without seeking a let-to-buy deal.

However, “consent to let” deals are often available for a short-term period, plus you’ll need to have been living in the property for a few months to be offered one.

What are the pros and cons of porting your mortgage?

Pros

  • Allows you to move house without selling your property.
  • More flexible terms than “consent to let”.

Cons

  • Higher rates than residential mortgages.
  • No FCA regulation.
Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.
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