Buying a Holiday Let Through a Limited Company – Updated March 2024

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    Buying a holiday let via a Limited Company is a common strategy that requires some careful planning, some specific company structuring and a realistic assessment of the various pros and cons before making the decision.

    Following the Government’s announcement in March 2024 of the removal of the Furnished Holiday Letting rules, investors are now looking at the limited company mortgage route in detail, as from April 2025, they will no longer be able to offset their mortgage interest on holiday lets held in their personal name.

    Covering everything from tax benefits to legalities, our comprehensive guide answers the biggest questions you may have about using a limited company to purchase a holiday let.

    Why go through a limited company?

    There are several reasons why you might want to structure your holiday let ownership via a limited company. Let’s consider some of the key reasons below.

    Reason one: so you can offset your mortgage interest

    The idea of buying residential property through a limited company was accelerated by buy-to-let landlords, following punitive changes to the way in which they could account for mortgage interest. These changes dictated that landlords were no longer permitted to offset their full mortgage interest against the profit of their buy-to-let. Now it has reached the stage where landlords can only claim a basic rate tax credit, in place of what was full mortgage interest offset.

    The way to get around this problem was to purchase a buy-to-let through a limited company, which aren’t governed by those same rules. Inside of a limited company, you are able to offset the mortgage interest against your profit.

    Until recently, the reality for holiday lets was different as they are not treated the same as buy-to-lets. When a property is deemed to be a furnished holiday let under HMRC’s guidelines, it is considered by HMRC to be a business. As such, there is no limit on the amount of mortgage interest that you can offset against your profits.

    This is set to change from April 2025 onwards and so now holiday let investors are migrating towards the limited company structure and mortgage route to ensure their mortgage interest can be offset against profits and save tax.

    Reason two: so that you can choose when to declare profit

    If you’ve bought a holiday let through a limited company, then the profit it makes will stay in that limited company until you take it out – and you can make the decision when to do this.

    Let’s say you’re a contractor whose income goes up and down; it might be that you keep all of your profits inside the limited company until your contracting day rate job isn’t going so well and you have low tax rates. You can then pay yourself dividends out of the limited company – in other words, you are managing your tax.

    When you run your holiday let in your personal name, on the other hand, you have no choice but to declare your full profits for that year in your tax return.

    It’s common for people to want to stay in control of their tax and remain tax efficient, and running your holiday let through a limited company is a legitimate way to do this – you don’t have to declare all of your yearly profits and face your tax bill increasing even more.

    Reason three: to build a holiday let business

    It could be that you have ambitions of owning numerous holiday lets and want to create a limited company to run them all through. By building a portfolio of properties inside one limited company, there are financial benefits.

    The idea is that you buy the first property and with the profits you make, can buy the second one. Then with the profits from those two properties, can buy the third one, and so on. In other words, you can reuse your returns to form the mortgage deposit of your next property.

    Reason four: inheritance tax planning

    You might choose to buy through a limited company for future inheritance tax planning. This is a more complex topic and we would refer you on to an accountant to deal with this.

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    When you decide to use a limited company

    Why get a limited company holiday let mortgage

    So, you’ve made the decision to buy your holiday let through a limited company! Here are some things you should know…

    Number one: Using Companies House

    You’ve got to incorporate and administer the company which involves various costs. Once you’ve established a limited company, you also have to ensure that it abides by all the necessary rules and regulations. For example, you have to submit an annual confirmation statement, accounts, and a corporation tax return. Generally speaking, most people use an accountant for these tasks – this is one of the recurring costs that you’re likely to incur when you run a limited company.

    Number two: Interest rate

    Typically speaking, where a limited company is the mortgage applicant and purchaser of a property, the holiday let mortgages will be more expensive. This is because the process is a little more complex and lenders don’t necessarily like lending to limited companies, as they perceive more risk than when lending to an individual.

    Holiday let mortgages for limited companies

    If you’re planning on buying a holiday let through a limited company, it’s advisable to speak with an expert, such as HCM, before you go full steam ahead and start setting things up. This is because there are a number of requisites which most people are not aware of.

    Number one: Mirroring

    The applicants to the mortgage normally have to be the same as the director and shareholder of the limited company – this is known as mirroring.

    Let’s say that it’s a husband and wife team – both parties will be named on the mortgage application and as such, they must both also be named as directors and shareholders of the business.

    Even though the limited company will technically be the buyer, the directors have to give personal guarantees. This means that if the limited company gets shut or sold, is closed down, or becomes bankrupt for example, it doesn’t matter – the mortgage provider will come for the directors. Hence, you should read more about how you can dissolve your company if needed.

    Number two: Setting up a limited company

    The limited company is often referred to by mortgage providers as an SPV – a ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’. The limited company has to be set up in a certain way, adhering to certain rules, to qualify as an SPV.

    The SPV has to be set up with a specific Standard Industrial Classification code – SIC code. The SIC code tells you what the limited company is allowed to do, and it must be one of three main types:

    • 68100 Buying and selling of own real estate
    • 68209 Other letting and operating of own or leased real estate
    • 68320 Management of real estate on a fee or contract basis

    For example, if a limited company is set up as a trading company, it would not qualify as an SPV and could not get a holiday let mortgage. It is also dictated that the limited company must have been correct from the beginning, meaning that it can’t have been used for regular trading or something similar once in the past and then changed.

    Generally speaking, the SPV will be an existing entity with existing properties, or, it is a newly incorporated company. It must also have a company bank account and has to be incorporated in the UK (some lenders limit this just to England and Wales).

    Number three: No layering of ownership

    There are so many self-employed people nowadays that a lot of people have limited companies.

    Let’s say that you’re a vet and have a veterinary practice limited company. You might be advised, in this situation, that the best thing to do is to set up an SPV that is owned by your limited company.

    This is called layering of ownership; when you’ve got a limited company owning the shares in the SPV, either in part or in full. The problem is, the vast majority of holiday let mortgage providers will not allow it.

    When a limited company owns some or all of the shares in the SPV, you essentially create a group company structure, and many mortgage providers don’t like this.

    When it comes to ownership of the SPV, it generally has to be in the individual’s name – as mentioned above: mirrored, personal ownership. There are mortgage lenders who will deal with more complicated applications where quirks such as layering are involved, but you should expect the rates to jump up.

    Pay personal tax on an investment property

    How to get your mortgage deposit into the SPV

    When it comes to putting your holiday let mortgage deposit money into your SPV, there are generally only three accepted methods…

    Number one: Director’s loan

    A director’s loan is very flexible and by far the most common approach. It is where the directors of the SPV have the deposit cash sitting in their savings account and will simply put that cash into the company as a loan.

    So, once you have created a new SPV with the correct SIC code, you transfer the deposit money from your bank account into the SPV. The deposit is then sat legitimately inside, ready to be used.

    Number two: Shareholder’s funds

    It is rare that people choose this option, but it does happen. It is where you, as a shareholder, put an amount of money into the business, in return for your shares.

    Number three: Retained profits

    If you have existing money in your SPV, this is known as retained profits, and you can use this money for your mortgage deposit.

    Let’s say that you have two buy-to-let properties in your existing limited company, that have been generating profits for a few years. Therefore, there’s already £100,000, for example, sat inside the SPV from retained profits – you can use this money for your mortgage deposit.

    If the amount of money isn’t enough you have two choices: you could either put in more money as a director’s loan or put in more money by way of shares.

    Can you loan the money?

    Some people want to use more elaborate schemes to get their mortgage deposit. A common question we hear is, ‘Can I loan the money from my trading company?’

    For example, you have an IT contractor who owns his own trading company, IT Contracting Ltd, which is a day rate business. He wants to loan money from IT Contracting Ltd into the SPV.

    Generally, this won’t be accepted by lenders because it is technically a loan, meaning there is a debt involved and the lenders see too much risk. Even if that loan is written off, many lenders will shy away from the transaction.

    However, there are a small few lenders who will allow this method of placing the deposit into the SPV and some will require you to sign a Deed of Subordination to ensure that the mortgage debt sits above any other debt in the SPV.

    Furnished holiday let in a field with a mountain view

    Lending to a limited company

    When it comes to lending to a limited company, you will find that mortgage lenders have different criteria. There will be those who accept more complex situations, as well as those who only accept the simplest, whiter-than-white applications.

    One lender might only accept mortgage applications from limited companies where everything is mirrored, with personal names and no layering. Then you’ve got the lenders who’ll consider a little bit of layering or an inter-company loan that has been written off. These cases are far more complicated with more hoops to jump through, and as a result, your mortgage rates tend not to be as good.

    Here at HCM we can offer professional advice for your personal circumstances. We’ve dealt with more complicated mortgages which have involved layering and inter-company loans and are therefore in a great position to advise you!

    In summary…

    If you’ve decided to purchase a holiday let through a limited company, here’s what you need to do:

    Make sure that you’ve got a limited company with the correct SIC code. Or, if you’re dealing with an existing limited company, make sure that it was correctly incorporated as an SPV with the correct SIC code in the beginning.

    Plus, check that it has never traded and has no trading history, other than owning property. And don’t forget that the shareholders and directors normally have to mirror the applicants for the mortgage.

    Next steps? Request a free Initial Assessment from us by clicking the button below, creating an account and answering a few online questions about your situation and one of our expert holiday let mortgage advisors will contact you to discuss your options and give indications of mortgage viability, loan size, rate and repayment types.

    Get your free mortgage assessment

    Request your free mortgage assessment, personalised to your requirements - completed by one of our expert mortgage consultants. We're here to help.

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    Andy Soye

    Founder @ Holiday Cottage Mortgages
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      The information contained in this article is accurate at the time of writing, based on our research. Rules, criteria and regulations change all the time and so please speak to one of our Consultants to confirm the most accurate up to date information. Nothing in this article constitutes financial advice. You understand that by clicking any external links on this page that you will be leaving the website of Holiday Cottage Mortgages and we cannot be held responsible for the content of this external website. Please always consult your accountant or solicitor for all financial, taxation or legal matters.