Accord Buy to Let’s lending policy makes no sense to us at all
Most brokers are well aware that, despite excellent rates, Accord Buy to Let is not the easiest lender to deal with. However, in my opinion its service has plummeted to new depths.
I had a client who earned well over £100,000 and wanted a buy-to-let remortgage of £115,000 on a flat in Putney worth around £450,000. Rental income was £1,900 a month. The flat was ex-local authority, in a block with six floors, but both of these points were within Accord’s policy. The mortgage was agreed in principle and the valuation instructed, and that was when the problems started.
Initially, I was told there was a lack of sales information for the block and so no value could be given. After a little bit of Google Earth and Zoopla research, we pointed out there were four other identical blocks in the same road that provided supporting comparative sales information. After considering this, the surveyor and the lender decided that, due to only 2 per cent of the housing stock in these blocks having sold in the past 10 years, the property must be considered difficult to sell and therefore unsuitable security.
We pointed out that, despite the flat being in London (where, obviously, there is a shortage of available homes), every property has a value, and that, although supporting evidence pointed to a value of £450,000, a value of only £200,000 was required to support the application. Surely, we asked, the surveyor must consider there to be a minimum value and, based on this, a lending decision could be made.
However, the answer was still no and excuses were given, ranging from “We cannot down-value for the purposes of fitting criteria (as this would preclude any future further advance)” to “The property must be readily saleable at the customer’s valuation.”
In reply to the latter excuse, we asked: if the customer had said they thought the property was worth £300,000 (and therefore it was easily saleable), would you have lent? No answer was offered.
Between an inflexible and lazy surveyor and a lender showing a total lack of common sense, this excellent case was declined – and immediately picked up by another lender, but at the expense of a higher rate to the customer.
I really wonder how anyone gets a buy-to-let case through with Accord.
Peter Stokes, Davidson Deem
A spokesperson from Accord BTL says:
“As buy-to-let lending is based predominantly on the property value and rental calculation, we rely on valuers to provide a professional opinion on whether the property is suitably secure.
“We employ expert valuers and we are guided by their assessment of a property when making a lending decision.
“We take all broker feedback seriously and seek to fully explain our lending decisions to them. We actively lend on properties that meet our criteria and have built a strong book of buy-to-let mortgages over the past five years since we launched.
“All colleagues who process mortgage applications are fully trained underwriters who make common-sense lending decisions and assess each case on an individual basis.”