23 February 2021

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

SPF has incorporated a portfolio of more than 330 buy-to-let properties into a single company vehicle, thought to be the biggest buy-to-let incorporation in the UK.

With buy-to-let landlords hit with punitive tax changes over the past few years, many are considering using limited companies to hold their properties – known as incorporations. This particular deal took over a year to arrange but was further complicated because it 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 added a further level of difficulty.

The deal was led by Howard Levy, director of buy-to-let finance at SPF. He says: ‘The client had hundreds of properties with mortgages with various lenders. Our challenge was to create a company with sufficient funding to purchase the portfolio from him, completing 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 get the transaction completed.

‘Just as we got going, the world changed, with Covid-19 making everything more difficult. Everyone was working from home on laptops – obtaining responses from freeholders, service charge statements, ground rents and other legal requirements, takes long enough in the normal scheme of things but the pandemic made everything slower. Some valuers were taking bookings but tenants didn’t want to let strangers into their homes. We were 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 many valuers.

‘Timing was paramount as each valuation has a finite life, and many of these had to be extended. We finally completed at the end of January – the largest incorporation of buy-to-let properties completed in the toughest of circumstances.’

Mark Harris, CEO of SPF Private Clients, adds: ‘Buy-to-let is becoming ever more specialist. Incorporating on any scale, but particularly this one, is a specialist area that needs advisers who know what they are doing. With appropriate advice so critical, we have a number of advisers focusing on this fast-changing market.’

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