February 21, 2024 10:25 am

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Nikka Sulton

Buy-to-let (BTL) mortgages are for landlords purchasing property for rental purposes, with distinct rules compared to regular residential mortgages.


Who can get a buy-to-let mortgage?

If you’re considering renting out your property, a buy-to-let mortgage is essential. However, eligibility conditions vary:

1. Owning your home, outright or with an existing mortgage, is often a requirement.
2. Maintain a good credit record, avoiding excessive borrowing, such as credit cards.
3. Provide evidence of employment income, typically around £25,000+ annually, separate from rental earnings.
4. Lenders may impose a maximum age requirement, often around 75 years.
5. Expect a Loan to Value (LTV) limit of at least 75%, necessitating a minimum 25% deposit.
6. The amount you can borrow is linked to your monthly rental income, ideally covering 125% of mortgage repayments.

Understanding and meeting these conditions is crucial due to the perceived higher risk associated with buy-to-let mortgages.


How do buy-to-let mortgages work?

Buy-to-let mortgages share similarities with regular mortgages but differ in key aspects:

1. Higher fees compared to ordinary mortgages.
2. Typically higher interest rates.
3. Minimum deposit usually set at 25% of the property’s value, though it can vary (20-40%).
4. Most buy-to-let mortgages operate on an interest-only basis, where monthly payments cover only interest. The full loan amount is repaid at the term’s end.
5. Buy-to-let mortgages are available on a repayment basis as well.
6. Unlike residential mortgages, most buy-to-let lending isn’t regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Exceptions exist, such as letting to close family members, subject to strict affordability rules similar to residential mortgages.
7. Advisory, arranging, lending, and administration of consumer buy-to-let mortgages are governed by FCA regulations, aligning with laws for residential mortgages.


How much can you borrow for buy-to-let mortgages?

The borrowing limit hinges on expected rental income, ensuring it covers mortgage payments. Lenders often seek 25–30% higher rental income than the mortgage payment itself. If the property’s rental valuation falls short, it can impact the required Loan-to-Value (LTV), necessitating a larger deposit.

To estimate potential rent, consult local letting agents or online listings for rates of similar properties. This proactive approach helps align your expectations with market realities and aids in making informed decisions regarding your property investment.

Where to get a buy-to-let mortgage
Major banks and specialized lenders provide Buy-to-Let (BTL) mortgages. Consulting a mortgage adviser before securing one is advisable to ensure selecting the most fitting deal for your specific needs. This practical step enhances decision-making and aligns your mortgage choice with your individual requirements.


Buy-to-let and tax


Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on buy-to-let properties is charged at 18% for basic-rate taxpayers and 28% for higher or additional rate taxpayers. If the profit from selling your property exceeds the annual threshold of £6,000 (2023/24 tax year), you’ll likely incur CGT. Couples jointly owning assets can combine allowances, potentially allowing a gain of £12,000 in the current tax year. To reduce your CGT, offset costs like Stamp Duty, solicitor fees, or losses from a previous property sale. Declare the gain to HMRC within 30 days, including it in your income and paying tax at the applicable marginal rate (18% and/or 28%).


Income Tax

The rent you receive is taxable income subject to Income Tax, declared in your Self Assessment tax return for the earned tax year. In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, tax rates range from 20% to 45%, depending on your Income Tax band. In Scotland, rates vary from 19% to 47%. Offset allowable expenses like letting agent fees, property maintenance, and Council Tax against your rental income. Tax is applicable only if your total income surpasses your personal allowance for the tax year.


Mortgage Interest Tax Relief

Landlords can no longer deduct mortgage interest from rental income to reduce tax. Instead, a tax credit of 20% is applied to the interest portion of mortgage payments. This change may result in a higher tax liability compared to the previous system.




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