Tag Archives: Student Lets

Shawbrook Bank – Definitely not for “brand new customers only” Commercial Finance, Latest Articles

Shawbrook Bank are now offering a 0.25% discount on the margin or a 0.25% discount in the arrangement fee for clients who have already been party to a completed loan with them.

This makes a very refreshing change from lenders who have traditionally only chased new customers with deals showing they realise the value in repeat business and loyal customers.

Big advantages they have over many other less specialist commercial lenders is their desire to lend with far less onerous stress testing compared to high street banks, Interest Only for commercial and BTL property and lending directly to Limited companies. I have been told many times by our own preferred brokers that they driven by common sense not bureaucracy looking for ways of saying yes to clients and not the often received “computer says no” answer from many lenders.

Shawbrook Bank lend on single investment units, portfolios, multi-units, HMO’s and student lets. They lend to both individuals and Ltd Co’s and do not limit the amount of properties that the client can own or the business activities of the limited company.

However they are not able to offer any direct customer advice or sales, and only accept business from intermediary brokers registered to their panel.

Along with their residential investment products they offer interest only mortgages up to 75% LTV and have a range of Commercial Mortgages and short term loans.

Shawbrook commercial mortgages:

Cover both commercial investment properties and owner occupier trading businesses. Their products go up to 75% LTV and they also offer interest only loans which improves business Cash flow.

Short Term Finance

Shawbrook offer market leading rates on short term finance from 0.65% pm with no exit fees for between 6 and 18 months. This is ideal for auction purchases or a speedy purchase in order to secure a discount.

Short Term Light Refurbishment Finance

Shawbrook will lend up to 70% of the purchase price at 0.73% pm for between 3 and 12 months. This is suitable for clients looking to purchase, or refinance a residential or mixed use property quickly, undertake light refurbishment and then either sell on or hold for rental.

Medium Term Refurbishment Product

They will lend up to 70% of the after works value on an interest only basis. This product is for clients that are purchasing or refinancing property with the intention of completing minor refurbishment before letting the property out.

Obviously there are many other lenders that may be suitable in terms of criteria or lower costs and it this is not meant to be an advert to only use Shawbrook, but it is great to see a lender valuing its existing customers.

For assistance with any property finance requirements please, call us on 01603 489118 or email info@property118.com

If you would like to add your own requirements and search for the most popular available Buy to Let products please click hereShawbrook Bank


A call to convert 66,000 student HMO’s back to family homes? Latest Articles, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

I have been having a catch up on my on-line reading over this weekend and I have just come across an article which, in my opinion is very ill-informed. A call to convert 66,000 student HMO's back to family homes

Housing supply in many UK cities is being restricted by the conversion of family housing to student lets and local tenants are being prices out, according to new research. International real estate adviser Savills estimates that 66,000 properties or Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) now occupied by students could be freed up for conventional family housing through the delivery of more purpose built student accommodation”

The first thing that I would say is that only students want to live near students and the last place I would want to bring up my family is in an area that is highly populated by students.  I love my students tenants but they do not keep regular hours and often return late at night in a happy and noisy mood. There are other issues too but I won’t go into those, most of us who let to students will know what I mean.

For me, the most important point that has been missed is that the cost of converting a family home into a student HMO is colossal and this, coupled with the purchase prices in popular areas, means that landlords have invested a massive amount of money in their properties – will families really want to pay the prices that would cover this investment and also convert the property back to a family home?

In my book “Will You Survive the Mayhem”, I talk about the future of the student market where student numbers are reducing in many areas and there is an oversupply. I have given my predictions of the future of the market and I have warned landlords that we may need a plan “B”.  Plan “B” must, however, take into account that many landlords have big debts on their properties and could not afford to use them for family lets because of the reduced income. There are other markets for which these properties could be used which are realistic and would help to increase supply but Savills are dreaming if they really think that building more purpose built student accommodation is the answer to the shortage of family homes.  They have also overlooked the fact that students can’t wait to get out of “institutional” accommodation and share little houses, at least for their middle year, and there are many empty rooms in purpose build student accommodation in areas where the student population has receded since the increase in University fees.

The article goes on to say

The result is a double whammy for local non student tenants and aspiring home owners. Not only do students price other tenants out of many family housing areas in major UK towns and cities, credit conditions post downturn have favoured landlord investors rather than less equity rich potential owner occupier buyers. ‘Local council coffers would also gain. We calculate that reinstating these student HMOs to homes for non student residents would boost council tax returns by around £1.5 million per town or city, since student only houses are council tax exempt,’ said Savills research analyst, Neal Hudson.”

All local authorities get increased Government funding to cover the cost of Council Tax exemptions for students, the local authority would not be better off if these properties were converted back to family homes, they would in fact be worse off because they would lose the additional “automatic” income and would have to recover it from the families who live there.

The one statement I do agree with in this article is this

“Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning Act proposes restricting new HMO supply which could push students and associated landlord demand into smaller properties, pricing out other occupier and tenant groups.”

I also talked about this in my book because Article 4 Directions are ill-conceived and, in my opinion, will soon sigh and die.

Finally the article says

“For the institutional investor in student housing the UK market offers a mature, counter cyclical investment opportunity”.

Wrong again, I have given a lot of evidence in my book that shows how the student market will continue to recede in all but the Red Brick university areas, many of those are already building campi in the most popular sending countries, and many investors will catch a cold by investing in purpose built student blocks in the next few years.

I am struggling to understand why investors are not being encouraged to put their cash into funds to build more family homes, since we all agree that this is an area of increasing demand and it is very unlikely that the demand will do anything other than grow year on year?

Am I missing something, do Savills know something that I don’t know?

Follow me on Twitter @landlordtweets

My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is here >>> http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337


Landlords Insurance – don’t get penalised if you are a good risk Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Why is landlords insurance for Working/Professional HMO’s, Student lets and tenants claiming benefits so much more expensive?

In a word – RISK

However, as it transpires, it is possible to insure any rental property in the UK for a premium of £1.10 per £1,000 of cover plus Insurance Premium Tax providing there is a decent claims history and the property is structurally sounds and not in a flood plain area. That’s around 50% of standard pricing for these types of properties!

For landlords insuring a portfolio of three or more properties and a mix of risks (i.e. some standard houses and working tenants too) the premium can be reduced by a further 10 pence per thousands of buildings insurance through commission sacrifice by the broker. This is because the administrative costs are lower when spread across multiple properties insured by the same owner.

I was given the heads up on this by a couple of Property118 Members and felt compelled to follow this up.

Not only does it check out well but the cover also includes the following:-

  • Malicious damage caused by tenants
  • Landlords liability insurance
  • £5,000 of contents insurance as standard

It doesn’t cover any criminal damage as a result of properties being used as cannabis factories but most insurance companies don’t offer that cover anyway. There are several articles written here to help you reduce that risk too so please search cannabis factory in the top right search bar for more information on how to protect yourself.

The broker offering this scheme has agreed to make a generous donation to The GOOD Landlords Campaign if we test them out.

They are not our regular recommended insurers for our Landlords Buying Group at this stage but we do keep our options open and it will be interesting to see what feedback we get from readers we refer to them.

If you would like further information please complete the contact form below.Landlords insurance

Make an enquiry for more details

To find out more and to register your interest please complete and submit the form below.
  • Please enter a value between 1 and 1000.


Capital Allowances – Reduced tax bills for HMO owners? Latest Articles

Calculator on refund formPart 1 of 2 written by Bill Loryman

HMRC calculates that over 90% of properties have not claimed against their Capital Allowances. Recent changes by HMRC still mean that Capital Allowances can be claimed against the Plant and Machinery (such as fixture and fittings) or assets within the ‘non-dwelling areas’ of your property. These can be used to obtain a tax refund or to reduce your current year’s tax liability.

If you own a House in Multiple Occupation (Multi-let / HMO’s / Student lets), it is very likely that you are entitled to unclaimed Capital Allowances for the communal (non-dwelling) parts of your investment property and many of the associated fixed assets.

Capital Allowances have been around since 1878, yet they are almost never claimed, or often claimed incorrectly. In fact HMRC have said that over 90% of eligible properties have not claimed the tax that is due. Is your investment property one of them?

Anyone who has an investment property is entitled to claim these allowances.
•Key Worker accommodation
•Dentists / Doctors shared properties
•Student Lets
•Multi-Lets
•Professional Lets
•Licensed and unlicensed HMO’s
•Holiday Lets (UK & EU)

Capital Allowances – what are they?

They are Plant & Machinery allowances that relate to the tax relief associated with certain qualifying items, such as fixture and fittings or assets within the ‘non-dwelling areas’ of HMO, multi-occupancy properties and student lets/ halls of residence.

In each year that you buy a property, you can deduct up to £250,000 of your capital outlay (purchase cost) associated with these non-dwelling areas. Once these items have been identified, valued and documented, you can reclaim previously paid Income tax, reduce your current year income tax liability, or roll forward the allowances until such time when they are required. This is unlike normal rental losses which can only be rolled forward until such time that the property makes a profit, Capital Allowances claimed on the property, are ‘set-off’ against any income stream.

Part 2 will include details of who might be able to claim and the process.

Bill Loryman is the Managing director of HMO Tax Limited and has 20 years experience in the property world involving franchising, licensing, acquisitions and property development.


Why do landlords buy furniture packs? Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property Investment Strategies, Property News

Landlords Furniture PacksI’m often asked whether I think it’s a good idea to let properties on a furnished or unfurnished basis. A friend of mine recently said that he was surprised I had not written an article about this and, in particular, about furniture packs.

Unless you buy properties to let as holiday homes, short term lets, student lets or own modern city centre apartments targeting overseas business visitors or short term contractors the thought of letting a property furnished, let alone buying furniture packs, may well be an alien concept to you. Continue reading Why do landlords buy furniture packs?


BuytoLet Lender BM Solutions allows Student and Benefits tenants Buy to Let News, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

BMSBM Solutions relaxes its BuytoLet lending criteria to allow landlords to rent to students and benefit claimants

It was recently reported that BM Solutions was looking at changes to its BuytoLet underwriting criteria and the rumors were that they would be looking to remove its £25,000 minimum income requirement.

The initial reaction by some market commentators was that to remove the £25k minimum income would lead to the door being opened to low income households who are more at risk of defaulting, albeit that it could open the door to buyers outside of London, and would be of particular help for self-employed clients.

Another rumored criteria change was regarding the Lloyds restriction on its BuytoLet criteria which only allows a maximum of three buy-to-let properties per customer, across the whole of the Lloyds Banking Group (which now includes major lending brands such as BM Solutions, Halifax, C&G).

So, what has changed? How have BM Solutions relaxed their criteria? Previously, the lender’s list of exclusions included student lets, tenants claiming housing benefit, rent rebates or rent allowance, asylum seekers and tenants benefiting from diplomatic immunity.

With immediate effect BM Solutions has now adjusted its criteria to allow BuytoLet landlords to rent properties to students and benefit claimants. They are also now willing to offer loans on properties with a maximum of five occupants, a stipulation attached to all properties, although BM Solutions has never lent on House of Multiple Occupation, where tenants sign individual tenancy agreements and this still hasn’t changed.

This news comes just over a week after The Mortgage Works has also in dropped its restriction on lending to landlords with tenants who are on housing benefits.

Other lenders which will lend to landlords with student tenants include The Mortgage Works, Godiva, Abbey for Intermediaries, Woolwich, Aldermore and Virgin Money.

Howard Reuben, Principal of H D Consultants says that these most recent criteria changes are testimony that Lloyds is pursuing more business. He says “This criteria update appears to back up the news that BM Solutions is looking increase business via criteria rather than chasing the rate. This is a controlled measure which will provide some relief to a number of landlords”

From 19th March, BM Solutions has announced new semi-exclusive products starting at 3.89% up to 75% LTV available for purchase and remortgage, and which also benefits from a £500 cashback too.

To discuss any Buy-to-Let deal with our preferred broker please call us on 01603 489118 or email info@property118.com

If you would like to add your own requirements and search for the most popular available Buy to Let products please click here

Buy to let auction property finance calculator


HMO Investment Dilemma – READERS QUESTION Cautionary Tales, HMO's & Student Lets, Landlord News, Landlords Stories, Latest Articles, Property News, UK Property Forum for Buy to Let Landlords

HMO Investment Dilemma - READERS QUESTION

Leamington Spa based landlord Steve Gibson has asked us to post the following HMO Investment Dilemma.

“I live in Leamington Spa which is a popular location to rent for students of University of Warwick. As a pension investment my wife and I have recently started looking at purchasing a house to let to students. On investigating further it appears Warwick District Council has removed change of use from Dwelling House (C3) to House of Multiple Occupation (C4) from permitted development as of April 2012. As a consequence planning permission is now required. Continue reading HMO Investment Dilemma – READERS QUESTION


Shawbrook Bank the common sense lender Buy to Let News, Commercial Finance, Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

Our preferred commercial finance broker Cliff Verrill reports that Shawbrook Bank are driven by common sense not bureaucracy looking for ways of saying yes to clients and not the often received “computer says no” answer he gets from many lenders.

Shawbrook Bank lend on single investment units, portfolios, multi units, HMO’s and student lets. They lend to both individuals and Ltd Co’s and do not limit the amount of properties that the client can own or the business activities of the limited company.

All their arrangement fees have recently been reduced, along with interest rates in the past couple of weeks with further reductions announced today. Continue reading Shawbrook Bank the common sense lender


BM Solutions BuytoLet rates reduced Landlord News, Latest Articles, Property News

BM Solutions BuytoLet rates have been reduced across their five and 3 year fixed rate range in line with other lenders reductions and a decrease in LIBOR.

There are also minor adjustments in the cost of some tracker rate products, but it is the cost of longer term fixed rate BuytoLets that reflect more accurately the direction the market is taking and its revised expectations for future inflation and cost of borrowing figures. BM solutions have always been a significant barometer of the industry due to their substantial market share. Product details showing the decrease in cost over the product term are: Continue reading BM Solutions BuytoLet rates reduced


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