Tenant eviction instructions have rocketed 43 per cent since ban ended
Instructions between 1 June and 1 September were up 43 per cent on the same period last year, the firm noted, while there has also been a 17 per cent jump in calls to its landlord advice line.
Landlord Action predicted a continued surge in enquiries in the coming weeks, as the period of notice landlords must serve to tenants returns to pre-pandemic timescales, but warned that the eviction process is suffering lengthy delays as a result of review hearings at county courts.
The firm reported that the vast majority of enquiries it receives are from landlords looking for clarification on the current legislation, those looking to evict for non-payment of rent, or those hoping to sell up and exit the buy-to-let market altogether.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, noted that many landlords who contact the firm do so because of the “continual changing of the process” which is “costing them more than they bargained for”.
He added that review hearings ‒ which were introduced last year in order to help the courts prioritise the most urgent cases, determining which should move to a substantive hearing later on ‒ were causing significant delays.
Zephyr Homeloans opens 80 per cent LTV range to all brokers
The range was previously available to packagers only.
Now all brokers can advise on and process applications for the lender’s standard two and five-year fixed rate buy-to-let mortgages.
Rates for a two-year fixed rate mortgage begin at 3.89 per cent, and five-year fixed rates start from 4.15 per cent. Individual and limited company borrowers will be eligible for the range and the maximum loan size of £750,000.
The range is open to standard buy-to-let properties and there are no application fees.
Paul Fryers (pictured), managing director at Zephyr Homeloans, said: “Extending access to 80 per cent LTV standard mortgages is part of our efforts to give brokers and borrowers the widest possible choice of products so they can find loans that best suit their individual circumstances.”
Paradigm adds United Trust Bank to lender panel
The Bank’s auto-underwrite system provides real-time information on its decision in three to five minutes, while customers can verify their ID at home or work quickly via its mobile app.
Richard Howes, director of mortgages at Paradigm Mortgage Services, said: “Specialist mortgage finance is likely to be one of the key growth areas for advisers in the months and years ahead, and we are very pleased to be able to bring on panel one of the key lenders in this sector. UTB are looking forward to working with the highly-experienced team at the Bank to ensure our member firms and their clients are fully aware of its mortgage and service proposition.”
Mike Walters (pictured) sales director for property intermediaries at United Trust Bank, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer UTB’s full mortgage product range to Paradigm’s members and look forward to working with Richard and the team.
“Our most recent service enhancements include the launch of an auto-underwrite system and online Decision in principle (DIP) giving advisers real-time pass, refer or decline decisions in just four to five minutes, 24/7, 365 days a year. With further exciting announcements coming soon, we’re confident this will be the start of a successful relationship for Paradigm, its members and the bank.”
Active in the specialist mortgage sector since 2015, UTB offers first- and second-charge products designed to cater for customers whose circumstances aren’t best served by the mainstream mortgage market with options available for purchase, remortgage, first-time buyers, interest-only and unencumbered capital release.
UTB has a range of flexible criteria available to the self-employed, contractors, other borrowers with complex incomes and married sole applicants. The lender considers a wide range of property types including ex-local authority, high rise, flats above commercial, flying freeholds and non-traditional construction.
Landlords impose “worrying” rent hikes on tenants as demand rises
Almost 80 per cent of letting agents said landlords increased rents in August up from 71 per cent the previous month, according to the Association of Residential Letting Agents Propertymark.
This is the highest rate increase on record, beating the previous record of 68 per cent in May this year for a second month running.
The average number of new prospective tenants registered per branch jumped in August to 107 from July’s figure of 102, also marking a record for the second consecutive month. The last time renter demand exceeded current levels was in August 2020 when the figure stood at 101.
At the same time, the average number of available properties to let fell from 204 in July to 196 in August.
The demand and supply imbalance has weakened tenants’ bargaining powers with just 0.4 per cent of tenants successfully reporting rent reductions in August down from 1.1 per cent in June.
Propertymark’s chief executive Nathan Emerson said: “The continued increase in demand from tenants, coupled with the decreasing amount of rental stock available means we are seeing a worrying increase in rent prices for the second month running.
“The private rented sector provides homes for approximately five million UK households and it is vital the service being provided by landlords is recognised. With the increasing pressure, more landlords need to be incentivised into the sector.”
Good service is crucial to the long-term success of the BTL sector – Young
Indeed, on Specialist Lending Solutions, the top dozen or so news stories all seem to cover various lenders doing exactly that, including Fleet I might add, as we respond, react and lead the market.
Clearly, that is good news for both advisers and their landlord clients, whether they are individual borrowers, those investing through limited companies, or those opting for houses in multiple occupation (HMO) or multi-unit blocks. You might truthfully say that borrowers of all kinds have perhaps never been so well-served in terms of competitive products.
There are, of course, some key drivers fuelling this lender activity, not least the fact we are coming to the end of the partial stamp duty holiday, and despite there being three months of the year left, the end of 2021 is in sight which means there is often a renewed focus on target-hitting.
Many will be wondering, ‘What happens next?’ in terms of activity levels, with some suggestions that we’ll see a major ‘cliff edge’ in terms of transaction numbers.
Certainly, July’s transactions fell significantly compared to June, but you would undoubtedly expect this, and the first half of 2021 has been very positive in terms of total number of transactions. Plus, the drivers of the buy-to-let sector remain incredibly strong.
In terms of buy-to-let activity, landlords wanting to purchase will have known for some time that they will have needed to set any pre-September transaction in train a good while ago. Anyone active in recent weeks must have factored in the return to stamp duty normality, and these recent product rates and criteria changes are focused fully on those landlords who will purchase or refinance post-September.
The last quarter of the year will be interesting to track because of this stamp duty shift, but we’re also acutely aware that landlords view investments over a long-time horizon.
They will be factoring in the increased stamp duty costs, and in some way looking to offset that by accessing strong mortgage rates, and products which are competitive in terms of fees.
Providing good service
However, we also know that price and fee are just two parts of the overall recommendation of a product and, by definition, a lender to process them.
In this market and specifically in this sector, business does not simply land in your lap just by dint of you existing. None of us buy-to-let lenders should think we have any sort of God-given right to your business and we’re acutely aware that this is a sector which is not solely about price.
If it was, lenders who hit the top of the best buy lists would secure the business regardless of their service offering.
And that, for us, remains one of the key driving factors of being successful in this sector. Service levels and a continued commitment to keeping those levels market leading.
If you’re an adviser confronted with a choice between two lenders, one of which is taking 20 days to open its post, let alone review its documents, provide a decision in principle (DIP) review or a valuation turnaround, then where are you going to place that client, even if the rate is slightly cheaper, the poor service takes that choice out of the equation.
Or, at least, it should.
Providing total certainty to advisers and their landlord clients has to be a priority and those that can marry up both cost and service efficiencies are likely to do well for their partners in the months and years ahead.
BTL rates cut at Precise and CHL – round up
CHL Mortgages has cut rates across its entire buy-to-let range.
Rates for the two-year fixed rate product, available up to 65 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) now start at 2.88 per cent, down by 0.16 percentage points, rising to 3.05 per cent, a cut of 0.1 percentage points, for up to 75 per cent LTV. Both deals come with a 1.5 per cent arrangement fee, and are available for both individual and limited company borrowers.
Its five year deals now start at 2.88 per cent, representing a cut of 0.11 percentage points, up to 65 per cent LTV and 2.98 per cent, down by 0.12 percentage points, up to 75 per cent LTV, again for individual and limited company borrowers alike, with a two per cent arrangement fee.
CHL has also reduced the rates on its range for investors looking to borrow against houses in multiple occupation (HMO) and multi-unit freehold blocks (MUFB).
Its two-year fixed range, available at up to 65 per cent LTV, starts at 2.99 per cent, which is down by 0.21 percentage points. For borrowers who need to get a loan at 75 per cent LTV, the new rate has been cut by 0.31 percentage points to 3.08 per cent. Both come with a two per cent arrangement fee.
All five-year products are calculated at interest cover ratio (ICR) payrate, with rental income starting at 125 per cent of the monthly mortgage repayment.
Ross Turrell, commercial director at CHL Mortgages, said the lender was employing a “competitive but cautious” approach to product pricing so that it could deliver a consistent service.
He continued: “Our wide distribution footprint with clubs, networks and directly authorised broker firms, means that we are confident that by making such competitive changes across our range will prove extremely popular and introduce us to many more new brokers seeking to use CHL Mortgages for the first time.”
Cuts at Precise
Precise Mortgages has also announced changes to its buy-to-let proposition, reducing rates and fees.
The new range includes a 75 per cent LTV two-year fixed rate at 2.79 per cent, down by 0.5 percentage points, with a 0.5 per cent fee. It also includes a five-year fixed rate up to the same LTV at 3.09 per cent, a cut of 0.3 percentage points, which comes with a 1.5 per cent fee.
Adrian Moloney (pictured), group sales director at Precise, said he was confident the rate cuts would be popular with brokers.
He added: “We’re offering competitive pricing, reduced rates and affordability options, all backed up by our award winning sales teams who have the knowledge and expertise to help get cases over the line. It’s an absolutely winning combination especially as brokers know that they can rely on us for our straightforward criteria and upfront decision making.”
Accord and YBS Commercial cut rates on BTL
A 0.20 per cent reduction has been made to YBS Commercial’s five-year fixed rate deals while a cut of 0.15 per cent has been applied to the ten-year fixed rate.
The house in multiple occupation (HMO) rate has been trimmed by 0.10 per cent.
Highlights of the new range, available to corporate or individual large loan buy-to-let borrowers, include:
• A five-year fixed rate at 3.20 per cent, cut from 3.40 per cent, available up to 65 per cent loan-to-value (LTV).
• A 10-year fixed rate at 3.70 per cent, cut from 3.85 per cent, available up to 75 per cent LTV.
Accord Mortgages has trimmed rates on selected buy-to-let remortgage deals for landlords with 35 to 40 per cent equity in their rental properties.
A two-year fixed rate remortgage at 1.31 per cent is available for landlords with 40 per cent equity for a fee of £1,495.
For landlords with 35 per cent equity, a two-year fixed rate remortgage at 1.71 per cent is available for a £495 completion fee.
Simon Garner, buy-to-let mortgage manager at Accord, said: “Reducing the rates on these selected products will give brokers and their landlord clients better value. We’re sure they will be a welcome addition to the current competitive market.”
HTB updates BTL range; Shawbrook launches platform-exclusive deal – round-up
The lender offers individual pricing depending on the borrower and the property asset.
Its two-year fixed rates now start at 3.84 per cent up to 65 per cent loan to value (LTV), 3.99 per cent up to 70 per cent LTV and 4.09 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV.
Meanwhile, five-year fixed rates begin at 3.99 per cent up to 65 per cent LTV, 4.14 up to 70 per cent LTV and 4.19 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV.
Marcus Dussard (pictured), sales director of HTB Specialist Mortgages, said: “We closely monitor lending and market conditions to offer competitive service and products to ensure our brokers have access to the most competitive propositions we have to offer.
“Being ready, willing and able to lend during all market cycles has meant we have continued to innovate and grow our capability to support the market at a time when landlords have needed us most.”
“With this product refresh and further enhanced service, we continue to be able to give brokers and borrowers what they’ve been asking for to support their ambitions and should be seen as a sign of our commitment to provide landlords access to a great service and compelling rates,” he added.
Shawbrook Bank launches exclusive BTL deal
Shawbrook Bank has introduced a buy-to-let product which will be available exclusively through its recently launched digital portal, MyShawbrook Buy-to-Let.
The platform was launched last week. It provides mortgage offers and automated valuations by using Application Programming Interface (API) technology to integrate with third parties such as Hometrack.
The non-portfolio product is designed to sit alongside the new system and support cases that are expected to benefit from the automation capabilities.
It has a rate of 3.69 per cent up to 75 per cent LTV, and is available to non-portfolio landlords with single dwelling applications. To be eligible, the property must qualify for an automated property valuation (AVM) and borrowers must be willing to proceed with one.
Additionally, the lender has reduced rates by up to 0.60 per cent across its buy-to-let range on mortgages up to £1m.
Emma Cox, sales director at Shawbrook Bank, said: “This product has been designed to work in harmony with our new digital portal. Cases that meet the product’s eligibility criteria should sail through the new system with minimal manual intervention, freeing up our expert teams to concentrate on the more complex cases that make us specialists. In turn, this will improve the experience for all our buy-to-let customers.
“I hope this, coupled with more competitive rates across our offering, sends a clear signal of our continued support and commitment to the market.”
Castle Trust Bank removes loading for HMO and holiday lets and cuts rates
The lender has removed loading, where an increased cost or additional rate is applied to certain products, from its HMO and holiday let range.
Castle Trust Bank has also cut rates across its product offering, with rates now starting from 3.82 per cent.
It has also brought out a buy-to-let (BTL) exclusive at 3.95 per cent up to 70 per cent loan to value (LTV). The product is available via Brightstar Financial, Brilliant Solutions, Commercial Trust, Crystal Specialist Finance, First 4 Bridging, SPF, Sirius, Synergy Commercial, Watts Commercial and Vibe Financial Services.
The lender is continuing its exclusive five-year fixed rate product, which is priced at 4.5 per cent and comes with early repayment charges for the first two years.
This product is available through Brightstar Financial, Commercial Trust, Complete FS, Crystal Specialist Finance, First 4 Bridging, Positive Lending, Rangewell, SPF, Sirius, Synergy Commercial, The BTL Broker, Watts Commercial, Vibe Financial Services and Yellowstone Finance.
Castle Trust Bank’s sales director Rob Oliver said: “It’s now more than a year since we became a bank, and one of the many advantages is that it gives us greater flexibility in our product development and pricing.
“We have already seen the popularity of our HMO, holiday let and bridge to let products amongst brokers and we hope to make them even more attractive to a wider group of customers, with even keener pricing.”
He added that the lender continued to support its distribution partnership with the BTL exclusive and the extension of its five-year fixed rate exclusive.
BTL rate cuts unveiled by Paragon and Landbay – round-up
Paragon Bank has launched two limited edition buy-to-let products for self-contained units, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and multi-unit blocks (MUBs).
Both products are available at up to 75 per cent loan-to-value (LTV), with a two-year fixed rate starting at 2.65 per cent and a five-year fixed rate at 2.99 per cent. The deals come with free mortgage valuations and £750 cashback. The two-year fixed product has a one per cent product fee, which rises to two per cent for the five-year deal.
The products are available for both purchase and remortgage, including experienced landlords purchasing as individuals or through limited companies.
Richard Rowntree (pictured), managing director for mortgages at Paragon Bank, said the fact the products were available for self-contained units, HMOs and MUBs alike made them unique, adding that he expected them to be very popular, particularly given they were only available for a limited time.
He continued: “In addition to the strong demand for rented property that is continuing to drive purchases, we know there is a need for keenly priced remortgage products. This is due to the significant numbers of landlords who have deals maturing, while others may want to take advantage of house price rises to raise capital for improvements; expanding our range of limited-edition mortgages will help to support landlords in these situations.”
Landbay launches green deals
Elsewhere, Landbay has cut rates across its special edition buy-to-let range, alongside the launch of two green products.
The rate cuts include the standard two-year fixed rate at 70 per cent LTV dropping from 2.95 per cent to 2.79 per cent, while the standard five-year fixed rate at the same LTV band moves from 3.39 per cent to 2.99 per cent.
Landbay has also dropped rates on its HMO range, with its two-year fixed rate at 70 per cent LTV moving from 3.35 per cent to 2.89 per cent.
Both of the new green products are five-year fixed rates for landlords with a deposit of at least 30 per cent. For properties with an EPC rating of C, the interest rate stands at 2.94 per cent, while for those with an A or B rating the rate falls to 2.89 per cent.
Paul Brett, managing director of intermediaries at Landbay, noted that these products were “highly competitive”, and pointed to the fact they followed reductions across the lender’s core range announced last month.
He added: “The interest we have received in our core green mortgage range, which we launched in June, led us to introduce green products into our special edition range. We are always keen to provide more choice as well as competitive products for our broker partners and their landlord clients.”