Lender Ratings: The Best in Buy-to-Lease

Panel members

Jeni Browne, Sales Manager, Commercial Mortgages
Steve Walker, buy-to-let and residential specialist at The Buy To Let Broker
Greg Cunnington, Director of Lender Relations and New Homes, Alexander Hall
Tony Field, Sales Manager, Dynamo
Mark Pattanshetti, Associate Director, Largemortgageloans.com
David HollingworthAssociate Director of Communications, London & Country
Matt Tilbury, Senior Mortgage and Protection Advisor, Just Mortgages
Aaron Strutt, Chief Product and Communications Officer, Trinity Financial
Jonathan ClarkMortgage Advisor and Protection, Fairstone Wealth Management
Sebastien Murphy, head ofmortgage financing,JLM Mortgage Services

The start of the year saw a more optimistic approach from buy-to-let (BTL) lenders as they compete to win business.

Ongoing affordability challenges and tight rental stress tests facing potential investors mean lenders need to be more inventive in their proposals.

Ultra-fast processing makes Godiva a good choice when speed is needed

So, what efforts have paid off in recent months? Our latest lender ratings survey reveals it all.

Godiva Mortgages

Godiva took over the top spot from BM Solutions.

“The super-fast processing makes it a good choice when speed is needed,” says Matt Tilbury, Senior Mortgage and Protection Advisor at Just Mortgages.

Godiva has a simple yet powerful BTL proposition

Residential Buy To Let Broker and BTL Specialist Steve Walker believes Godiva offers a “simple yet powerful BTL proposition” combined with excellent service.

JLM Mortgage Services Head of Mortgage Finance Sebastian Murphy praises the lender’s competitive rates, flexible fixed products and support from the Business Development Manager (BDM), but notes: “We hope he will explore the company soon. anonymous BTL.”

NatWest Intermediate Solutions

That’s an impressive three-spot climb for NatWest.

NatWest is one of the most improved BTL lenders in recent months

“A strong proposition and cheap rates means more of our brokers are using it for mortgages,” says Aaron Strutt, director of product and communications at Trinity Financial.

Alexander Hall, Director of Lender Relations and New Homes Greg Cunnington calls NatWest “one of the most improved BTL lenders in recent months”, thanks to its criteria changes. “In particular, the lower interest coverage ratio requirements on similar mortgages and five-year fixes,” he adds.

Although Murphy acknowledges that NatWest has made improvements, he is nonetheless frustrated, citing his two different calculators as confusing and “unnecessarily long.”

BM Solutions

The lender fell two places from first place.

“BM will always be a big player, but may have felt the pressure of competition,” says David Hollingworth, London & Country’s associate director of communications. “Recent changes to stress ratings and criteria on acceptable rentals suggest it will respond.”

A little crazy that BM does not offer a limited company proposal

Cunnington says BM is “always very consistent when it comes to service”, while Fairstone Wealth Management mortgage and protection adviser Jonathan Clark praises its easy-to-understand criteria and great pricing, but adds: “Its low retention rates continue to cause it to lose business.”

Murphy observes, “A bit crazy he doesn’t offer a limited liability company proposal.”


It’s a two-seater climb for Santander.

Cunnington says an experienced counselor remarked to him, “[Santander] is perfect. Tell him not to change anything.

Cunnington adds: “It has attractive pricing and an identical market-leading mortgage stress test.”

Removing its £25,000 minimum income would further boost Santander’s appeal

Strutt believes the lender is preparing for another great year by improving its rental stress testing and easing some acceptance criteria, while “offering decent rates and good service”.

Clark says, “Santander offers great rates and a generous rental calculator. Removing its £25,000 minimum income would further boost its appeal.

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Like NatWest, Virgin moved up three places. Largemortgageloans.com Associate Director Mark Pattanshetti praised its “well balanced proposal”, adding: “The support of the Clydesdale team means confidence is high when placing business.”

Virgin’s volume, pricing and service were all poised to deliver a strong proposition

Walker is a fan of Virgin’s top slicing, which he calls “very useful” for low-yielding mortgages in and around London.

Hollingworth observes: “Virgin put in a great performance, with consistency at heart. Volume, pricing and service were all poised to provide a strong proposition. »

Dynamo sales manager Tony Field praises the lender’s “excellent rates” but adds: “Its criteria can be restrictive.”


It’s a three-spot drop for TMW this time.

“For a specialty lender, this is quite a vanilla proposition,” says Walker, “[albeit this enables] very competitive rates. »

Field observes: “Mortgages with properties that have an EWS1 form are very difficult to obtain due to the specific cover letter required by the lender.”

Pattanshetti praises TMW’s online system, competitive pricing and simplified underwriting. However, while cases usually come quickly, BDM support can be “patchy”.

For a specialty lender, TMW has a pretty vanilla proposition

Tilbury thinks the lender’s processing times could be better, but adds: “Good products still make it attractive.”


The lender is a non-mover in seventh place.

“Paragon offers amazing semi-exclusive products and pricing simplicity for singles, multi-occupancy homes [HMO] and full-ownership multi-unit blocks, with fixed fees – which makes the difference in terms of real savings,” says Walker.

Murphy calls it a “big specialist BTL provider”, adding, “You can’t compare Paragon to, say, BM Solutions in terms of pricing because they’re in the professional owner space and are arguably the leader .”

Paragon subscription requirements can be pedantic

However, he feels that the lender can sometimes be “too cautious” and the time to offer remains slow.

Pattanshetti praises Paragon’s “excellent” BDM support and HMO products, but adds, “We had issues with processing speed, and subscription requirements can be pedantic.”


It’s a fall of four places for Barclays, but opinions vary.

“It has a market-leading proposition for superior slicing, but service and processes continue to be a sticking point,” Field says.

Barclays offers great affordable products for the right customer

Clark thinks the lender’s “surprisingly flexible” criteria should allow brokers to do more business, “as long as they know their online system.”

But Walker finds Barclays “erratic”, with “either amazing service or a tough case”. He adds, however, “He has great, affordable products for the right customer.”

Specific Mortgages

Precise remains in ninth place this time around, and Field observes: “Some slow turnovers. It has good criteria, but the service is very competitive in this segment of the market.

Confidence to be able to offer has been mixed

Pattanshetti praises the lender’s competitive limited liability company products and good cascading system for credit distressed cases, but adds: “Cases can be dropped by pedantic underwriting, so the confidence to be able to offer a been mixed.”

Cunnington calls Precise “a very popular lender in the specialty space”, adding: “The return of some competitive pricing has come down nicely.”

Leeds Building Society

Leeds remain at the bottom of the table, with “good rates but some restrictive rent calculations”, according to Field.

Murphy says the lender is suitable for some customers, particularly in the vacation rental space, but adds, “Its range needs to be expanded.

Leeds has good rates but restrictive rental calculations

Hollingworth observes: “Leeds have a really comprehensive proposition, often with solid pricing to ensure they are in the mix for a wide range of owners’ needs.”

Wild Card – Metro Bank

It’s 11th place for Metro Bank, but feedback from the panel is positive.

“The products aren’t market leading, but they’re still making waves in the industry with lending criteria,” says Tilbury.

Strutt believes recent revisions to the criteria have given the lender an edge.

Metro is building a very credible BTL proposition

“Metro has decent criteria, which sets it apart from its competition,” he says.

“It no longer requires proof of income for self-funded BTLs and it changed the stress tests on some of its five-year patches to provide more generous mortgages.”

Hollingworth believes that while the bank does not attract high volumes, its service standards are strong.

“Metro is building a very credible BTL proposition and increasingly looking to cover a broad spectrum, including higher loan-to-value ratio,” he says.

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