Important service and lending policy changes

On Monday 4 December, we made several service improvements to make it easier for you to do business with us as well as some important lending criteria changes for both residential and Buy to Let (BTL).

Soft footprint at agreement in principle (AIP)

When an AIP is submitted, we now make an enquiry search known as a soft or quotation credit search. This has no effect on the applicant’s credit score and ability to get credit as lenders are unable to see this if they search the applicant’s credit file.

When a full mortgage application is submitted, we conduct a full credit enquiry, also known as a hard credit search on your client. If their situation changes during the application process, a further search may be required.

To support this change, we’ve changed the way we tell you about an AIP decision:

Decision Description


The AIP has been successful and you'll be asked to complete and submit the FMA.


The AIP has been referred to an underwriter for further consideration with the aim to provide a decision within one hour.

Provisionally approved

The AIP has been provisionally approved and you'll be asked to complete and submit the FMA which will be assessed by an underwriter.

Specialised underwriting

The AIP will need to be assessed by our Specialist Mortgage Service Team.

Outside lending policy

The AIP doesn't meet our lending policy.


The AIP has been unsuccessful. 

Buy to Let affordability

Changes to our BTL affordability mean some of your clients may be able to borrow more as we now use a more bespoke approach which has three possible levels of rental cover:

  • NEW! 130% rental cover where at least one applicant’s income tax band is 20% or less.
  • 145% rental cover if all applicants’ income tax bands are 40% or 45%.
  • 125% rental cover for remortgages without capital raising under transitional arrangements for all income tax bands.

NEW! We also now accept remortgage applications without capital raising which don’t meet our eligibility criteria for transitional arrangements.

Application type

Rental cover

Buy to Let affordability rate

At least one applicant's income tax band is 20% or less

All applicants' income tax bands are 40% or 45%

Less than 5 year products

5 year fixed

Purchase or remortgage





Remortgage without capital raising (meets eligibility criteria for transitional arrangements)         





* Porting applications don't qualify for the 4.50% affordability rate so 5.50% applies.

Residential affordability

We’ve increased the amount of secondary income we’ll use in our affordability calculation to 65% from 50%. This means some of your clients may be able to borrow more.

Tenancy agreements

We’ve updated our lending criteria regarding tenancy agreements:

  • Increased the maximum tenancy term for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (or equivalent) to 36 months from 12 months.
  • Increased the number of acceptable tenants on one tenancy agreement to four tenants (previously three tenants).

Pipeline rules for these changes

All full mortgage applications (FMAs) already submitted on Introducer Internet by 9pm on Saturday 2 December won’t be affected and will continue to be progressed on our existing residential and BTL lending policies.

Any FMAs submitted from 6am on Monday 4 December, or where a material change is made to an FMA submitted before 9pm on Saturday 2 December, will be assessed using the new residential and BTL lending policies.

Further help and support

The BTL calculator and affordability calculator have been updated to reflect these changes as well as our website and lending criteria.