How do you accurately define a buy-to-let portfolio landlord?
Jason Hegarty is director at Criteria Hub
The rules on what constitutes a portfolio landlord are interpreted differently in many cases by lenders. On the surface, there are plenty of lenders who lend to portfolio landlords, but as brokers are increasingly finding, the devil is in the detail and finding the exact definition for each lender is harder. Particularly, when it comes to how a landlord is letting the properties (holiday lets) or the vehicle through which a property is being managed or owned (corporate) for example.
This is symptomatic of a wider issue of getting accurate data on products and how they are underwritten. In principle, a lender might lend to your client according to basic information, but when the full criteria are difficult to find, time can be wasted before discovering that because of your clients’ circumstances, they don’t qualify. Back to the drawing board!
I have lost count of the number of times as a mortgage broker, where I and my colleagues have spent hours checking individual criteria sheets, ringing BDMs and lender helpdesks to see whether they will lend to clients. Time we could have used more profitably working directly with customers.
Conversations with fellow brokers used to centre round the pluses and minuses of certain lenders we all used. However, now as the number of lenders and therefore products keep on increasing, those conversations tend to be about how difficult it is to find proper criteria definitions, beyond the standard criteria sheets or information held by sourcing systems.
In today’s specialist lending market, finding the nuances in criteria quickly can be the difference between whether an application is worth presenting to a lender or not. Defining buy-to-let portfolio landlords correctly is a particularly current problem but across the specialist lending arena and the wider mortgage market, being able to interrogate an accurate database is essential for brokers who don’t want to be bogged down searching for answers.
Fortunately, facilities do now exist to help brokers to find the information they need in one place and I am proud to have been involved in that development. Our recently launched buy-to-let module on Criteria Hub goes a long way to ensuring that the underlying criteria for defining a portfolio landlord can now be found easily in a few keystrokes.
We set up Criteria Hub, with the specific purpose of saving brokers the wasted time they were having to put into research, by providing a simple online interface, which enables them to see exactly what conditions lenders set for general and more specific issues, such as buy-to-let portfolio landlord definitions.
Brokers need the right tools to be effective in giving advice. Criteria Hub is such a tool.