Care Provider leases on HMO properties

Happy Friday everyone – I never thought I’d moan about the weather, but when everything is so busy and taking so long at the completions end, it is pushing a lot of us to our limits.

Today we are covering Care Provider leases on HMO properties.

Having got more investors wanting to get involved in this sector, I thought it good to cover this week.

As some of you know, I have been involved in this area for some time, starting some years ago with refinancing large HMOs for vulnerable women and their children. This was daily emergency housing, so the most difficult to place.  In recent years, lenders have shied away from the vulnerable areas, as they didn’t want the prospect of reputational risk.  Which really made me mad, as it is so important that they have options, which need funding.

Moving on, last July, I worked with one of our investors to get a supported living contract approved – which I did.  It wasn’t for the very vulnerable area, but a start.  Since then we have enabled funding for a number of HMOs on this is basis and this lender has now changed their policy regarding care providers.  This has enabled us to have much more certainty around what we can offer our clients.

So how do you get involved in this area…. 

The assumption is that you need lots of experience, but you actually only need to have had one buy to let (single let) for 12 months. You don’t need to have any previous HMO experience.  The refurbishment part is slightly different if it involves one, but if it is a light refurbishment then yo don’t need any previous refurbishment experience.

The important part is to check out is your potential care providers; a lot of them are not regulated as they cover areas that fall outside CQC etc.  Check their reviews, as the lenders will not tolerate those with poor reputations.  Doing your due diligence early on will save a lot of time and cost later on.

  •  Type of property – each care provider needs a specific type of property, whether it is the number of bedrooms, amount of communal space etc; and so on.  It’s a balance between making sure that it is not so bespoke you can’t do anything with it if this doesn’t work out without spending further money, if for any reason it doesn’t go through.
  • Area – again, this will be dictated by the type of tenants.  Location is so important to your care provider, so make sure you find this out before you start sourcing your property.  Distance to local amenities, transport links, particular things that need to be close (or not!) are vital to your provider.
  • The lease – ask for a copy of one of the care providers draft leases in advance.  Lenders will need to approve them, so it is important that you give us a copy of this to get it approved, in principal, before the transaction starts.  A recent case needed some amendments which the care provider agreed to, but this may not always be the case.  This is really important as the fund is dependent on it.

FYI – if a lease goes over 7 years, then it is registered at HM Land Registry and the care provider will pay SDLT on it.  Something to consider.

As a recent example, a client came to us who had bought a property cash to convert to an HMO.  He had bought it for £130,000 in January of this year.  As he started the refurbishment, he engaged a care provider early on to understand the requirements they had for the HMO.  They are a charity who help young adults leaving care, providing them with supported living as a stepping stone to living alone.  Their ethos is around helping their tenants not only with housing, but also with with their finances, employment and ensuring that they are supported at a time when so many are not.

The refurbishment cost £60,000 in total.

After looking carefully into comparables for the end value the clients estimated this would be around £200,000.  The surveyor inspected the property and lease and gave it a value of £210,000 – a great result, the lease created an uplift in value well as long term security.  The rental income is £2250 per month on a 3 year contract.

We were able to lend 75% of the new open market value, within 6 months of the purchase date. This is on an interest only mortgage too, which historically was an issue for this type of lease.

I genuinely believe that having commercial leases in place, with the current climate of uncertainty, can only be a good thing for both investors and lenders.  There are no void, referencing of new tenants and most of the contracts include the bills – so it is a much more profitable, both money and time for these type of contracts.

I hope that is of help, but were here for a call, as always.

Funding your projects when your usual lenders can’t help

I think we’ve all now recovered from the excitement of the Euros and now summer has arrived!  I hope you’ve all had a good week.  This week I am talking about funding that’s a bit more outside the box.  As you know, we can look at all sorts of scenarios, and one of our lender’s has really upped their game recently so I wanted to run through what they can help with.

Buy to lets when you don’t have enough experience for standard lenders

We often see clients come to us with a great project, and external experiences which means we are confident it will work – this is usually where they have carried out works in their day job, so not for themselves.  This doesn’t count as experience for most lenders though.  This can cover HMOs (of any size), multi-unit blocks of flats or semi commercial buildings as well as single lets.

We can now help with mortgages up to 75% LTV for these scenarios, at a really reasonable interest rate.  The products are fixed for 2, 3 or 5 years, allowing you to gain the experience you need to move on to a lower interest rate and longer term product.  Its important to balance the lender’s risk and your experience with the rate – and also remember that you aren’t spending time or capital on projects you don’t really want to do before jumping into bigger ones!

Foreign Nationals and Ex-Pats

This is another area which is tricky to fund at the moment, so this lender allows you an easy way in to the UK market.  We can raise up to 65% LTV and the minimum loan size is £50,000 so it is available for smaller properties.  Again, the loans are for 2, 3 or 5 years and the rates are reasonable so with a good yield it is an accessible way in.  you don’t need any experience, or property in the UK at all, which is often a sticking point.  Most counties are covered under this product, and it can be in a personal name as well as limited company.

Slight credit issues

This is another potential barrier to lending at the moment.  Many lenders have become more stringent with their credit rules, meaning that even a slight blip can prevent loan approval.  Having a short term solution for first time buyers and investors is lacking in the market

This lender will allow a small amount of adverse credit, which means that a past issue which has now been resolved will be disregarded.  Some examples could be a satisfied CCJ under £5000 in the last 2 years, or one missed mortgage payment in the last 3 years.

This would cover all scenarios, so buy to lets, HMOs, multi-unit blocks and semi commercial up to 75% loan to value at the same 2, 3 or 5 year terms.  This allows you to build your experience while time is passing on your credit file to allow you to move to a more mainstream lender afterwards for a slightly lower rate and longer term.

As always, give us a call if you want to run through a particular scenario then give us a call.

What can you do if you don’t have planning?

I hope you’ve all had a lovely week enjoying our new freedoms, I know I have! It is tiring though!

This week I want to talk about what to do when a property doesn’t have the right planning for your plans. This covers a number of areas, and some are easier to overcome than others. There are a few solutions though.

Create a back up option 

This is probably the easiest solution to the issue. It works particularly well with conversions to large HMOs (when you’re not in an Article 4 area).  Large is classed as everything 7 bedrooms or more and requires a separate planning class.  Also semi commercial property that you want to convert to residential and can’t under permitted development. What it means is that you have an ideal scenario (if planning is approved), but also an alternative that could work without any change of planning class.

With the example of an HMO it could work as either a large HMO but also as a 6 bedroom. You will need to asses the refurbishment costs and the rental for both options and ensure that it works either way.  Some clients will do the works assuming they will get planning, and then use the extra space for a study or additional communal space if they don’t. Others convert it to a 6 bedroom and then wait for planning to be approved to do an additional extension or garage conversion for example. What you do will very much depend on the layout of the property and the timescales needed for either option.

With commercial property, this can mean keeping the existing commercial if you don’t get planning to convert it to residential. The rental again would need to work either way and you need to be comfortable with either option. Vacant commercial buildings can be difficult, so there needs to be a good demand for the commercial unit for the bridging to work, and then let out before we move it to a term mortgage.  We have had other examples of when this scenario works; converting semi detached properties back to a single dwelling, houses to flats and licensed HMOs in Article 4 areas looking to extend to larger properties.

A favourable pre-planning application 

There are instances where a back up option just doesn’t work. This could be where the costs or rental potential just don’t work financially for the back up option, or when there isn’t a back up option! This is usually for vacant commercial buildings but there are some other examples too.

In this instance, buying yourself some time to get planning is the ideal solution. This can be done through a conditional exchange or an agreement with the vendor. Where this isn’t possible, achieving a favourable pre application can really help. It really does depend on the overall case and it’s not necessarily a guarantee but it can be enough to complete on your bridging loan. Where a precedent has been set, or there’s been a previous application that has expired then it really does help.

Take advantage of  permitted development rights

There are plenty of areas where permitted development rights exist, and the rules have relaxed considerably recently.  Knowing what you can and can’t do is so important and can give you an edge over other investors.  We can complete without the full approval, as long as we know that is falls under PD rights.

Use alternative funds

The final option is to avoid mortgage finance entirely. This is not something that will work for everyone, but when you have the cash to purchase the property and are willing to take the risk, then this can help. Once planning is granted then we can look at refurbishment finance and can take advantage of the uplift in value that planning has created. There are clearly risks involved with this, so ensure that you have carried out your due diligence, and we are happy to talk about the potential exit routes before you purchase the property.

It’s really important not to get emotionally involved… you are in for a return in investment, keeping your eye on the prize can mean saying No!!

As always, we are happy to chat through any specific deals that you have and talk about your options.

How does an 85% LTV bridge sound?

Here we are at Friday again, although the days all seem to be merging into one! I hope you are all doing ok, for those home schooling like me we’ve got one week left before a slight break of half term which I am so excited about! The irony of children’s mental health week being in the middle of a winter lockdown is not lost on me…

This week we genuinely do have some good news though. After a bleak January and with the stamp duty relief deadline inching closer we really do need it.

Shawbrook Bank have this week re-launched their 85% loan to value bridge. There are a few caveats to this, which I will go into but this is a great sign of confidence in the market moving forward. It allows you to borrow an additional 10% on top of the 75% (net of lender fee) for refurbishment costs.

What you need to know:

  • The 10% is for refurbishment costs, so you need to be spending at least that amount on the refurb. You can spend more (and fund it yourself), but if you spend less than the additional loan will be capped at that.
  • This is for a light refurbishment, so nothing which involves planning or building regulations or any structural changes.
  • You do need some experience, one similar project is enough
  • The maximum loan is capped at 75% of the post works value, so we need to give the valuer a copy of the schedule of works and they will give us a figure to work with.

This is brilliant for so many scenarios:

  • It allows you to borrow additional funds for the refurbishment and this is be upfront rather than in arrears which we often see with typical refurbishment bridges.
  • It suits conversions to small HMOs (up to 6 bedrooms)
  • Any residential internal refurbishment which can include kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems and re arranging layouts where no structural works are required.
  • You don’t have a cap on the amount you can spend on the refurbishment, and the additional funds will go towards this.

As always, we are happy to chat through any enquiries you have. We can let you know whether we think your project is something suited to this sort or product or whether something else would work.