Santander’s Buy To Let Mortgage Thresholds

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Recently, I submitted a case for a client who had a few existing Buy To Let mortgages in the background. Without going into too much detail on the criteria, Santander was judged as the best lender for this particular job. Whilst Santander have had a cautious entry to the BTL market, they generally have been extremely good value for those that it suits.

When Santander first entered you could only mortgage properties over £125,000, you had to be fully employed, own less than three properties at the time of application and you couldn’t remortgage for anything other than home improvements. Now, this has all changed; they are much better aligned with the rest of the market and I’ve found they are a strong contender in most areas. Santander currently only allow new applicants to have five secured loans on completion if they earn between £25k and £50k, and seven if they earn more than the £50k threshold (unsurprising, as many lenders are reluctant to lend to clients with large portfolios).

My client in question was earning around £30k, had three BTLs already in the background, a residential property, and the new one that would take the total to the maximum of five. However, our frustrations arose when Santander declined the case after it was fully underwritten. They had conducted an additional credit search because of an undisclosed address. This address had a few of the BTL mortgages registered against it and caused the total number of secured loans to exceed the five that were allowed. As a result, it was declined and there was no right of appeal.

When speaking with me, the client was adamant there were no more than four existing secured loans in the household and, in addition, downloaded his credit report. It turns out his residential mortgage was the problem. This was a Woolwich account and consisted of a main account, a further advance taken three or four years ago and a reserve account, which he never used. These showed as three separate accounts on his downloaded Equifax report. It’s easy to assume that a mortgage statement would clear this up with Santander and we could move forward again; after all, the policy is supposed to limit those with excessive numbers of BTL properties. But I was shocked to find that, whilst Santander admitted it was unfortunate, there was still nothing they could do: to get the number of secured loans, Santander send a request to Equifax and it is this number they use when determining if the case fits their criteria. As there was no right of appeal, my client was left having to start again elsewhere.

It is these intricate criteria that complicate Buy To Let mortgage thresholds and makes the seemingly simple Buy to Let market so frustrating. Even experienced brokers like ourselves constantly uncover new and unique criteria. Fortunately, our client could press ahead with another lender, hadn’t paid any fees for the mortgage lender and the issue arose within days of first submitting the application, so it’s not done any real harm.

We write these posts not to criticise any particular lender, but to instead make future clients aware of any pitfalls so they don’t come up against the same problems.


Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

Picture of Author: Stuart Phillips

Author: Stuart Phillips

Fully CeMap qualified, Directly Authorised by the FCA and with over a decade of experience, Stuart has a wealth of experience in both specialist BTL and residential mortgages.

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