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Expat Buy to Let Mortgages

Expat Buy to Let

Expat buy to let mortgages for UK nationals.

Here to help

Buy to let mortgages for expats.

Tips for Expat Borrowers

What you need to know
about our expat buy to let
mortgage lending criteria.

  1. We only lend to small portfolio landlords, which means no more than three properties within the total portfolio. This includes any [holiday let] properties. We can’t lend to anyone who operates their rental properties as a company or business.
  2. Properties must be in England or Wales, and let on an approved Assured Shorthold Tenancy basis.
  3. At least one applicant must hold a UK passport. Most countries of residence will be considered except for those which are UN Sanctioned
  4. Applicants must be employed or in receipt of pension with at least one applicant earning a minimum of £40,000 or equivalent.
  5. Applicants must not be in arrears with any mortgage they currently have.
  6. We’ll consider applications where the deposit has been built up in a foreign currency, as long as this is held in the UK or in your country of residence.
  7. We calculate affordability based on rental cover, not income, so applicants can be paid in a foreign income.
  8. We will lend on new build houses but won’t lend on new build flats located outside of our heartland area (Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire). Other exclusions include studio flats, basement flats, ex-local authority flats/maisonettes, flats above 5 storeys, flats above commercial property, houses in multiple occupancy (HMOs) which require licensing, multi-lets or student lets
  9. We’ll need to see a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property with a minimum Energy rating of E. If the property is exempt from the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 we require evidence of this.

We’re on hand to help you with any questions and talk you through the process, so either take a look at our expat buy to let mortgages to find out more or get in touch.






Commonly asked questions about
expat buy to let mortgages.

A buy to let mortgage is for properties which will be let out to tenants on a long-term basis, so an expat buy to let mortgage is simply one designed for applicants who are UK nationals but currently reside in another country.

As expat buy to let mortgages from Suffolk Building Society are assessed on rental cover you can be paid in any currency. Although we don’t assess affordability based on your income, we do require at least one applicant to earn £40,000 or equivalent.

As landlords receive income from their buy to let property this is usually how the affordability assessment is calculated, to make sure enough income is generated to cover the monthly mortgage payments and other property expenses.

At Suffolk Building Society we require a minimum 145% rental cover against the monthly mortgage payment, which needs to be stressed at a rate of interest of either the Product Rate +2% or a minimum rate of 5.5%. (A stressed rate is a regulatory requirement, requiring lenders to test borrowers can still make their payment at a rate that’s higher than what they actually would pay.)

Exceptions to this exist when a 5-year fixed rate product has been selected, where a stress rate scenario no longer applies, and also for remortgages taken on a transitional basis, where 125% rental cover is required. (When applying transitional arrangements the existing mortgage must be an existing buy to let contract, have originally completed prior to 1 January 2017, and no changes to named applicants or additional borrowing must be taking place.)

For any applications not meeting rental cover requirements we may be able to ‘top slice’, taking Sterling-only personal income into account to ‘top up’ any shortfall.

You should be aware that we do require at least one applicant to earn £40,000 or equivalent, even though we don’t assess affordability based on income (unless the top slicing feature is required).

If you are not renting out the property but simply keeping it for your family to live in whilst you work abroad, this is not classed as buy to let and instead you would need an expat residential mortgage. However, should the property be used for family with a commercial element (where rent is charged, even nominally) this is then known as regulated buy to let or family buy to let, and treated differently when it comes to affordability.

We’re happy to consider first time landlords, and can also consider expat buy to let first time buyers on a case by case basis.

No. If you are planning to return and live in the property yourself at any time in the future you will not be able to take a buy to let mortgage with Suffolk Building Society, due to the different regulatory requirements involved with assessing buy to let and residential mortgage applications.


We have conversations, not algorithms.

Our decisions are made by experts, not computers. We need to calculate the financials, but we understand there’s more behind a mortgage than the numbers on a page. We can’t promise to lend to everyone and anyone, but we’ll consider most applications on an individual basis.

Ready to go? We’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team.

Prefer to talk?
Call 0330 123 0723

Contact us

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