Tag Archives: Birmingham Midshires

HMO Internal locks ‘deal breaker’? Advice, Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’m at the point of exchange on an HMO licensed 5 bed house, currently let to students. I received a letter from the mortgage lender Birmingham Midshires (BM Solutions) saying one of their conditions is that there are ‘no internal door locks’. I checked and there are thumb locks on all the bedrooms. The letting agent who manages the house asked the students about removing them, they refused. BM Solutions logo

I’ve heard stories about BM Solutions withdrawing the offer after exchange, and apparently there will be 5 days between exchange and completion. I can’t risk losing 20% of my deposit if they discover there are still internal locks. What should I do? Is this really a deal breaker?

Apparently it’s only 1 of the students that has a problem with the locks being removed, but as I don’t yet own the house I can’t speak to her directly and can’t change the contract, everything is dealt with by the letting agent.

Has anyone else come up against this one? Should I risk it and tell the mortgage lender that I did request the locks to be removed (if they ask)? Or should I actually pull out now before it’s too late?

Any advice much appreciated.



Now I’m worried Birmingham Midshires will raise their Tracker margins Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I’ve been following the news on this site concerning West Bromwich Building Society’s increase in Tracker margins and the Class Action. I thought I would check through our ‘Lifetime Tracker’ mortgage offer from Birmingham Midshires. I was in for a shock.

We’ve loved our trackers from Birmingham Midshires (BM) and have been enjoying rates less than 0.5% above the Bank of England Base Rate, which the ‘Illustration’ document reported would last ‘For Term’. Of course, we paid a handsome arrangement fee to secure the rate. The tracker margin seemed unchangeable, but West Bromwich Building Society’s move to increase their tracker rates suggests that anything is possible. Birmingham Midshires BM Solutions

The mortgage offer from BM in October 2006 does say “The mortgage will be charged interest at: a variable rate which is 0.4% above the Bank of England Base rate, currently 4.75%, for the term of the loan..” The accompanying Special Conditions do not seem to mention interest rates. It was the Standard Offer of Advance Conditions (2004) that contained the shock. Under the section ‘Interest’ it states that

“Unless you have a fixed rate mortgage …… we may change the interest rate payable on your loan at any time for any of the following reasons:
(1) to reflect changes in market conditions outside our control
(2) to reflect changes in the cost to us of raising the money we lend to customers:
(3) to reflect changes in general lending practice by other major lenders (including the terms on which mortgages are offered by them);
(4) to maintain or improve the general market position of our products in all areas of our business;
(5) ……….”

So BM can change the interest rate almost at their whim? In particular reason (3) is scary if West Bromwich and the Bank of Ireland get away with changing their tracker margins to BTL customers.

The text seems strange to me to describe their freedom to change a tracker margin. It seems to be the considerations for changing a traditional Standard Variable Rate of a mortgage. If it related to a Tracker margin I would expect phrases like ‘exceptional circumstances’ to be used. Also why does it refer to the interest rate rather than the more relevant tracker margin? The obvious reason to change the actual interest rate is to track a BoE base rate change, but this is not included. Why?

(The accompanying General Mortgage Conditions 2004 booklet merely refers to the ‘offer document’ on changing interest rate.)

A further confusion arises because there is no text that I could find which explains which of the various documents take precedence. The odious Standard Offer of Advance Conditions started with the instruction to “read them in conjunction with ..” the other documents and then the statement “Together these form the offer letter ..”.

Other Property118 posts suggest that West Bromwich had an even more messy set of documentation for the tracker offers which are now being changed. For example, they didn’t refer to their special conditions booklet, which BM got right in my case.

So I’d guess BM are waiting and watching on the outcome of the West Bromwich’s move.

Are you worried as well? I have contributed to the funding of the Class Action campaign despite not having any West Bromwich or Bank of Ireland mortgages.

BM Solutions scraps minimum income rules on buy to let mortgages Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Mortgage News, Property Investment News, Property News

BM solutions logoBM Solutions, the leading BTL lender from the Lloyds Banking Group, has removed its minimum income requirements for all buy-to-let products in its range.

As from Monday 10th June, Birmingham Midshires will finally be joining a handful of other lenders by providing experienced property investors with BTL mortgages without the need to satisfy any minimum income levels at application.

Even though a borrower can still only have 3 mortgages across the Lloyds Banking Group brands (which includes Halifax, Lloyds TSB, C&G, BM Sols, TMB, Intelligent Finance etc.) we’re pleased to see that they have removed the minimum income required restriction, recognising that many investors are self employed and even though their accounts may show low net profits, that the rental income generated is the true indicator of affordability.

The ‘broker only’ lender has previously required a minimum income of £25,000 for all applicants but this rule has now been removed as they acknowledge that buy-to-let affordability is based on rental income, rather than personal income. This, they say, makes it more accessible to more landlords.

Your Broker will tell you the behind the scenes updated ‘fine print’ for all BM deals, including that certain provable income will still need to be supplied as part of the application process. BM has also changed its rental affordability calculation, which will now be based on 125% of the mortgage interest.

They say this is because it is the right thing to do to ensure borrowers are in the best possible position to be able to manage future payments if their circumstances change.

BM Solutions “One Minute Mortgage” process remains in place and is available to Brokers 24/7. The One Minute Mortgage provides mortgage decisions in less than one minute and allows borrowers to submit additional borrowing and multiple Buy to Let applications.

With a well tried and tested system, now coupled with ‘no minimum income’ requirements, BM Solutions are clearly hungry for more BTL business.

Changes will come into force from Monday 10 June.

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Lloyds tightens interest only rules for landlords Buy to Let News, Latest Articles, Mortgage News

Lloyds is the latest bank to tighten up interest-only lending criteria following the lead of Santander.

Both banks are significantly restricting interest only borrowing for personal residential mortgages, but leaving buy to let options intact. Continue reading Lloyds tightens interest only rules for landlords

Biggest Mortgage Lenders Dominate 81% of the Market Latest Articles, Property Market News

Small house on mortgage application form

"New figures show gulf between major and minor buy to let lenders"

The Big Six mortgage lenders account for 81.5% of all buy to let and home buyer mortgages in the UK, according to figures from the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

The Big Six advanced £110.8 billion in 2010, while the 27 remaining lenders advanced £23.5 billion – an indication of the gulf between the major and minor players in mortgage lending.

For landlords, the figures are slightly skewed as Paragon Mortgages did not restart lending until October 2010, so the company’s results are missing from the figures. Continue reading Biggest Mortgage Lenders Dominate 81% of the Market

Buy to let lenders warn of cash grab for missed payments Buy to Let News, Latest Articles

Padlock in front of coins

"Setting off could create problems for investors"

Landlords should separate their savings and current accounts from banks where they hold buy to let mortgages, loans or credit cards after threats to snatch cash without permission from a lender.

Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, has written to mortgage customers threatening to implement ‘setting off’ powers that lets lenders take cash from a borrower’s savings or current accounts to pay loans installments if payments are missed. Continue reading Buy to let lenders warn of cash grab for missed payments

Questions to ask a Property Sourcer Latest Articles, Property Investment Strategies, Property Sales & Sourcing

Questions pictureTwo of the UK’s largest buy to let mortgage providers have introduced a criteria not to accept mortgage applications for properties purchased through property sourcers.  This has angered many people who don’t have the time to source properties for themselves or the necessary negotition skills. Continue reading Questions to ask a Property Sourcer

The history of No Money Down and Instant Remortgages since 1992 Favourite Articles, Latest Articles, Property Investment Strategies

Mark AlexanderIt was 1992, we were at the tail of the property crash of the late 80’s and early 90’s. I was still cutting my teeth in the market of providing commercial finance broking facilities to property investors. The phrase buy to let would not be invented for another four years and the internet was in its infancy. Property prices had fallen by 30% and interest rates had soared to 15%.

Continue reading The history of No Money Down and Instant Remortgages since 1992

Birmingham Midshires to restrict lending to three buy to let mortgages per landlord. Lloyds squeeze this market further by refusing to lend on more than three buy to lets across all of their brands. Latest Articles

Peter Curran, Head of Intermediary Distribution at Lloyds Banking Group recently announced, “From 25 September, buy to let property portfolios will be limited to a maximum of three properties, or £2m worth of lending (whichever is exceeded first), across Lloyds Banking Group. At the same time, buy to let products will no longer be available via intermediary channels through either the Cheltenham and Gloucester or LTSB Scotland brands. Pipeline applications will be honoured but any subsequent changes will be assessed under our new policy. The changes will be effective from close of business on 24 September.” Continue reading Birmingham Midshires to restrict lending to three buy to let mortgages per landlord. Lloyds squeeze this market further by refusing to lend on more than three buy to lets across all of their brands.

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