SPF Private Clients arranges UK’s largest buy-to-let incorporation

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What is Bridge to Let FinanceSPF Private Clients has incorporated a portfolio of more than 330 buy-to-let properties into a single company vehicle.

The deal, thought to be the largest buy-to-let incorporation in the UK, took over a year to arrange but had to take place in a single day in order to qualify for business rollover relief and to avoid significant capital gains tax penalties. The pandemic only added to the complications.

SPF’s Howard Levy steered the deal through to its successful conclusion, liaising with, and coordinating, the dozens of lenders, solicitors and valuers involved in the process.

Howard Levy, director of buy-to-let finance at SPF Private Clients, says:

‘Incorporating on any scale, but particularly this one, is a specialist area that needs advisers who know what they are doing.

The client has hundreds of properties with mortgages with various lenders – the objective was to create a company with sufficient funding to purchase the portfolio from him, and to complete every new mortgage on the same day.

I brokered the new finance to six lenders, with each of those having a number of staff specifically assigned to liaise with me to get the transaction completed.

Just as we got going, the world changed. Everyone was working from home on laptops. Some valuers were taking bookings but tenants didn’t want to let strangers into their homes.

I was dealing with 13 lenders to redeem the former finance, five legal firms – each with a number of solicitors to cope with the sheer volume of paperwork – and I lost count of the number of valuers.

Timing was paramount as each valuation has a finite life, and subsequently many of these had to be extended.

Covid-19 made everything more difficult. Obtaining responses from freeholders, service charge statements, ground rents and other legal requirements takes time in the normal run of things but everything was much slower.’

John Eastgate, managing director of property finance at Shawbrook Bank, one of the lenders involved in the deal, says:

‘The sheer scale of this transaction meant the client needed the sure-footed guidance of a broker and lender with deep subject matter expertise.

The result achieved is an outstanding example of what can be done with the right advice and right choice of lender.’

Alan Cleary, group managing director of Kent Reliance for Intermediaries, another lender involved, says:

‘We have done quite a few of these large-scale incorporations, although this is the largest we have seen from an individual to a limited company.

We were delighted to have been able to help a long-term client through this process.

The client had best advice and we were happy to work with SPF as one of our key partners to ensure the smooth process of what was a complex transaction.’