Ex-Pat Buy-To-Let – renting your home while you’re overseas

Anita Arch, our Head of Mortgage Sales, says that one of the most common requests we get at Saffron Building Society is in relation to our Expat Buy-To-Let mortgages.

If you are thinking of moving overseas or already live abroad then we may be able to help you if you are looking to either let your property, or to buy a further one to rent out back home. We have years of experience in lending to people who have left the UK, once you are living abroad the application can take place.

Expat couple living abroad.

Why are Ex-Pat Buy-To-Let mortgages so popular?

According to the Office of National Statistics, immigration has declined since the EU referendum in 2016, but more UK nationals have decided to uproot and move overseas. In June 2016, 95,000 people left the UK and it was estimated that by September last year this number had risen to 135,000. Letting while abroad is increasing as more people leave but still want an income from their UK property. Furthermore, with a staggering 1.3 million people born in the UK living in other EU countries thousands are potentially eligible for an ExPat Buy-To-Let mortgage and the opportunities this investment can create. The opportunity doesn’t just restrict itself to Europe either - 33% of all British-born emigrants living outside the UK live in Australia or New Zealand, with 28% living in the US or Canada compared to 26% in the EU.*

What do you need to know when applying?

The application process is very similar to that of a normal Buy-To-Let Mortgage and is open to First-Time-Buyers or established Mortgagees, but certain rules apply. For example, one of the problems we sometimes encounter is that people start their application before they have moved and are unable to confirm their new address. Many lenders, like ourselves, need evidence that you are already living abroad to lend the money so it’s important to have your proof of new address in place.

Many lenders also have restrictions on specific countries, where they will not lend. You should make sure you have checked this before applying. With Saffron Building Society it’s easy though as we don’t place restrictions on countries. Our mortgage advisers will take the time to understand your circumstances which means we will consider any location around the world, including popular destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

Income restrictions

Before lending, some Ex-Pat Buy-To-Let mortgages stipulate a minimum income in addition to sufficient rental income. Just like a standard Buy-To-Let product, this will vary from one lender to the next. For experienced overseas investors this is not normally a problem, but if applicants are overseas on a medium-term work assignment, and looking to invest in property while away, they may not always have thought through the numbers in detail. (Expat Buy-To-Let mortgages from Saffron do not require a minimum income). It will save you time if you plan and collate your income figures in advance of your application. If you need assistance with this then you can call us and we can help you to get the information together that you’ll need.

Proof of residency – The Middle East

If you are moving to the Middle East, or another Arab country, you may find your address is a PO Box number. This can present problems when it comes to proof of residency. Again, we can help here and can assist with Middle Eastern applications. It’s also worth bearing in mind that proof of residency is a common cause for delay in applications.

Option to return home

The Expat Buy-To-Let mortgages from Saffron are available on a regulated Buy-To-Let basis allowing the applicant to return to live in the rented home unlike other lenders (or a family member can live in the property).

What to do next?

Many still regard the UK property market as a good prospect for growth. If you are considering leaving the UK or already living abroad and want to let your home then you can find out more about our Ex-Pat Buy-to-Let mortgages or contact one of our Mortgage Advisers on 0800 072 1100.


  1. Office for National Statistics (ONS), February 2018
  2. Mortgage Strategy, May 2018

*United Nations estimates 2017 / Full Fact – independent UK fact checking charity

You can access our mortgages through Saffron Mortgage Finders or through your mortgage broker.