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Welcome to Buy-to-Let Direct

Buy-to-Let Direct is a specialist in the buy-to-let and commercial mortgage market. We have a wealth of knowledge and are dedicated to helping UK landlords and businesses find the best financial products and services available to them.

Why use us?

All our products and services are available online, with the added benefit that you can speak to a specialist at any time should you require help or assistance.

With over 20 years' experience in the buy to let and commercial mortgage markets, we offer:

  • Independence - we are not tied to any one lenders’ products
  • Easy access to the information you are looking for
  • Products and services tailored for you
  • Support from specialists

Media centre



Recovery and support in the buy-to-let sector - Jun 03, 2020

Over the last couple of months there have been many conversations around the onus on students to pay rent for university accommodation during the coronavirus lockdown when they have returned home to live with their parents and are no longer using the property and facilities provided. It is a legitimate issue and most people can empathise with students facing this dilemma. 

For students in university owned accommodation, many have had their rent and related fees suspended whilst the university is closed, however the scenario is more complex for those living in private rented property.

Tenants in privately owned accommodation are still required to pay their rent in accordance with the contract they have with the landlord. Some tenants were under the impression that because landlords were entitled to apply for a 3-month mortgage holiday on their buy-to-let properties, that they wouldn’t have to pay rent. This is not the case and tenants are still required to fulfill their obligations where they can.

A lot of landlords have been demonstrating support towards their tenants during this period and have been keen to find solutions that work for both parties. Although it is right to support the concerns of those who are no longer living in their student digs or struggling to pay rent due to the impact of Covid-19, it is important to also remember that most landlords depend on their rental incomes to support their own livelihoods.

The National Residential Landlord Association (NRLA) has recently conducted a survey of 4500 landlords which shows how tenants facing financial difficulties are being “supported by landlords willing to take a temporary financial hit.”

In the survey, 44 per cent of landlords have been asked for help by their tenants and 90 per cent of those asked had been able to provide it. The type of help been offered included rent deferrals, rent reductions, rent-free periods, early release from tenancies and refunds on HMO service charges.

The survey also shows that 54 per cent of landlords were experiencing issues with tenants paying rents or unexpected voids. Of those dealing with tenants falling into arrears, 60 per cent had lost at least a month’s rent.

This data clearly demonstrates the impact that the crisis is having on landlords and that they are doing what they can to support their tenants during this unprecedented period.

There may be further concerns for landlords who rent to students, especially those who normally provide HMO accommodation to serve the sector. Cambridge University recently announced that it would be running all its lectures online for the next academic year and other further education institutions are likely to consider similar approaches to delivering their courses.

The result of having lectures delivered online and maintaining social distancing measures will impact on the whole university experience that students normally enjoy, so the further education sector is likely to report a reduction in student admissions during the 2020/2021 academic year particularly from international candidates.

This gives rise to the question of how the demand for student accommodation will be impacted if fewer students are required to live near campus to attend lectures. It also leads to questions about whether landlords will move away from the student sector to focus on single family lets or professionals sharing properties, leaving a shortage in supply for those who do seek student accommodation.

It is difficult to predict with so many unknowns, but for those landlords already experiencing rental voids due to Covid-19 repercussions it is certainly something to contemplate, especially for those who own student HMOs. In a lot of cases, it may be financially untenable to convert HMOs back to a single family let as it is likely to devalue the property considerably. However, there is a growing trend for professional sharers opting to reduce their rent expenditure by living with others, especially at the start of their careers. Some HMO landlords may simply shift their focus onto this area of the rental market.

It is important that landlords feel confident to remain in the buy-to-let sector as we ease out of lockdown and start to recover from the impact of coronavirus. If too many decide to leave, it will only further fuel the housing crisis leaving more tenants chasing fewer properties.

The opening up of the UK housing market, including the lettings market, has been welcomed by landlords as the lockdown measures are easing and visual inspections are resuming. The government has published guidelines on how to undertake the various stages in the letting process such as viewings, safety inspections and tenancy check-ins. This should kick start the buy-to-let sector and there may be some good opportunities for landlords to expand their portfolios, especially if some sellers are keen to move quickly.



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Riding out the turbulence - May 04, 2020

The buy-to-let mortgage market, unsurprisingly, has experienced significant turbulence since the beginning of the coronavirus lockdown which has meant that the profile of lenders and products available to landlords has changed.

To begin with some lenders have withdrawn from the market, a number of these (typically non-banks) should be temporary as they wait for funding lines to become available, but there may also be long term casualties who are unable to return to buy-to-let lending post-crisis.

The overall number of buy-to-let mortgage products has dropped markedly, with Moneyfacts reporting that 1304 products had been taken off during March with changes continuing throughout April and into May. It was reported that 5-year fixed rates took the biggest hit, followed by 2-year fixed rates.

Some lenders have also responded to the crisis by reducing their maximum loan-to-values, resulting in a significant dent to the 80 per cent LTV market and the removal of 85 per cent options. This may cause challenges for buy-to-let clients with more highly leveraged properties when they are looking to remortgage and deter those without high deposits from making purchases.

We have also seen lenders modifying their lending criteria, especially in the complex buy-to-let sector, which may allow the remaining specialist lenders offering, for example, finance for HMOs, limited companies and multi-unit blocks, to take a large slice of the pie.

Interest rates have increased on several ranges which will be disappointing to landlords, especially as the mortgage interest tax relief scheme for buy-to-let properties was finally phased out in April, creating additional costs to many rental property businesses. However, there are still competitive rates to be found.

The fact that the country is in lockdown has meant that visual property inspections are no longer possible and for this reason some lenders have suspended offering new purchase finance. However, there are a growing number of providers who have switched to using desktop valuations or AVMs during this unprecedented time, to allow business to continue.

The government has advised against house moves during the crisis period which has slowed the housing market and impacted on buy-to-let purchase transactions. However, it does mean that there is likely to be a pent-up demand for buy-to-let finance once lockdown measures are lifted and movement in the market is resumed. 

This is obviously a challenging time for everyone in the buy-to-let sector, but also a time when landlord clients can benefit from the support of a buy-to-let mortgage expert. Being able to answer questions about the availability of finance or other relevant issues, such as buy-to-let mortgage holidays(available for both personal name and limited company mortgages), may be invaluable to landlords during these unprecedented times.

Many landlords could save themselves money by remortgaging, so it is also worth reviewing the whole property portfolio during this period. There may be options to release some equity which could help ease the pressure on buy-to-let businesses in the current circumstances.

At our business, we are paying particular attention to remortgage business as many of our clients have mortgages coming to the end of their initial rates during the next couple of months. There are still plenty of options to choose from and solutions to be found for most scenarios, which is where having buy-to-let expertise comes to the fore.


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