What is a Multi-Unit Freehold Block (MUFB) ?
A multi unit freehold block, or multi-unit property, is the name given to one freehold property that is split into separate residential dwellings. None of the dwellings will have their own separate lease.
The property can either be purpose built or a conversion.
Examples of these are:
- Purpose built block of flats
- Converted house
- Multiple houses held under a single freehold title
Each dwelling or residence will be self-contained and can therefore be rented out to different tenants, all having their own Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
Each dwelling should have:
- Private entrance
- Separate AST
- Separate utilities
Some communal areas normally exist with an MUFB, hallways and gardens are a good example.
Is this the same as an HMO?
No, Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are different in a few ways.
With an HMO property the kitchens and bathrooms are often shared between the other residents. Tenants have their own private bedroom which may or may not include an en-suite bathroom. Often the utilities are paid by the landlord and included within the rent.
An HMO is classified as a property that is let to 3 or more people from 2 or more households. Therefore two people living in a property who are not related to each other would not be given HMO status.
HMO’s include shared student accommodation and flat/house shares for three or more tenants.
When acquiring a large property for a conversion in to individual units you will need to decide between HMO or MUFB. Your decision may be influenced by the immediate area and current housing. For an area with an established student population, applying for a HMO license may get the green light. But in a more owner occupied residential area the council may prefer a multi-unit freehold block.
A meeting with the local council planning officers prior to any decisions may give some insight into their preference.
Multi-Unit Freehold Blocks are often referred to as a complex buy to let and are popular with experienced property investors.
Some of the benefits are:
As you have multiple units to let your exposure to voids is shared between the units. If one tenant leaves you still continue to receive the remaining rental income.
This is what attracts most investors. Rental yields are generally higher than a vanilla buy to let
Multi-Units are popular with many different types of people and can be more appealing than an HMO.
Multi Unit Freehold Blocks do not need to be licensed, unlike many HMO’s.
In the future MUFB property owners could decide to split the title and sell off each unit individually.
Do you need a multi unit buy to let mortgage to purchase or refinance an MUFB property?
When it comes to securing a mortgage for a multi-unit freehold block, lenders may have their own eligibility criteria. However, there are some common terms and factors that you may encounter, including:
Loan to value (LTV) ratio: This refers to the amount of money that you borrow as a percentage of the value of the property. For multi-unit freehold block mortgages, the LTV ratio is typically around 75%, although it can be as high as 80%.
Unit restrictions: Some lenders may have restrictions on the number of units that are allowed within a single freehold. It’s important to check with your broker before submitting your application to ensure that the property meets their requirements.
Interest cover ratio (ICR): The ICR is a measure of the expected rental value of the property relative to the mortgage payments (interest only). Lenders will use this ratio to determine the risk of lending to a particular borrower.
Eligibility: Multi-unit freehold block mortgages are available to both individuals and limited companies, so investors can choose the level of personal liability that is most appropriate for their needs. Some lenders may be more willing to lend to experienced landlords rather than first-time buyers, but there are also options available for those new to multi-unit freehold blocks.
Age restrictions: Most lenders will only provide loans to borrowers who are 18 years or older, and some may have a minimum age requirement of 21. There may also be upper age limits in place, as older borrowers may be considered a higher risk.
As an experienced broker for buy to let and property investments we are well placed to get the competitive finance you need. The simplicity that a multi-unit property offers is favoured by lenders, with more options than for the equivalent HMO. Additionally rates and mortgage deals tend to be more competitive.
- Maximum 75%-80% loan to value (LTV)
- Interest only or repayment options
- Fixed interest rates available
- Terms from 5 years to 40 years
- Portfolio landlords
- First time buyer landlords
- Expats and foreign nationals
- Trading limited companies
- No upper age limit
- No minimum income
Mortgages for MUFB’s that have upto 4 dwellings are widely available to 75% LTV. For 5 or more dwellings we have access to specialist lenders who understand the multi-unit property model.
Please call 020 8301 7930 to have an initial discussion with one of our specialist brokers.
About our MUFB Mortgage Service
Multi Unit Blocks can be successful property investments that generate high yields and help to diversify existing portfolios.
Freehold blocks are not quite as straightforward as a BTL when looking at raising the mortgage funds and they sit between a buy to let mortgage and commercial finance. There are fewer lenders in the market and more property aspects to consider.
As an experienced whole of market mortgage broker we can help with access to specialist banks, lenders and finance houses but please contact us as early as possible in the property buying process.
There are no appointments or meetings needed – Everything can be done over the phone and electronically.
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Speak to an expert about MULTI-UNIT FREEHOLD mortgages
The right advice is crucial when starting or expanding your property portfolio. With over 20 years advising on buy to let mortgages we are well placed to assist landlords purchasing or refinancing a MUFB property..
Call 020 8301 7930 to start your journey with us.