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What options are there for UK landlords that need to access cash for home improvements?

28th May 2024 Print

Landlords in the UK have several options if they need to access cash for home improvements. These options include taking out a buy-to-let mortgage, remortgaging an existing property, applying for a personal loan, or utilising government grants and incentives. Each option has its pros and cons, and the choice depends on the landlord's financial situation, creditworthiness, and long-term investment strategy.

1. Buy-to-Let Mortgages

Buy-to-let mortgages are specifically designed for landlords who wish to purchase additional rental properties or refinance existing ones. These mortgages typically require a larger deposit than residential mortgages, usually around 25% to 40% of the property's value. 

According to UK Finance, in 2021, there were approximately 2.5 million buy-to-let mortgages in the UK, accounting for around 20% of all mortgage lending.

Interest rates for buy-to-let mortgages can vary, but they are often higher than standard residential mortgage rates due to the perceived higher risk associated with rental properties. However, the potential for rental income can offset these costs. Landlords can use the equity from their rental properties to secure the loan, providing them with the necessary funds for home improvements.

2. Remortgaging

Remortgaging involves switching your existing mortgage to a new lender or negotiating a better deal with your current lender to release equity from the property. This option is popular among landlords seeking to fund renovations or other property improvements. In the third quarter of 2021, remortgaging activity in the UK saw a significant rise, with 85,000 remortgages completed, representing a 5% increase from the previous quarter.

By remortgaging, landlords can take advantage of lower interest rates and better terms, freeing up cash that can be reinvested into the property. There are options to remortgage with bad credit too, to release cash or get better rates than you are currently paying.

It's essential to consider the costs associated with remortgaging, such as early repayment charges, valuation fees, and legal costs, to ensure that the benefits outweigh the expenses.

3. Personal Loans

For landlords who need a smaller amount of cash for home improvements, a personal loan might be a suitable option. Personal loans are unsecured, meaning they don't require collateral, but they often come with higher interest rates than secured loans like mortgages. The average interest rate for a personal loan in the UK was around 7.9% in 2021, according to the Bank of England.

Personal loans are typically easier and faster to obtain than mortgages, making them a good option for landlords needing quick access to funds. However, the amount that can be borrowed is usually limited to a maximum of £25,000, which may not be sufficient for extensive renovations.

4. Government Grants and Incentives

The UK government offers various grants and incentives to landlords to encourage property improvements, particularly those that enhance energy efficiency. One such scheme is the Green Homes Grant, which provides vouchers covering up to two-thirds of the cost of energy-efficient improvements, up to £5,000. Although the scheme closed in 2021, other similar initiatives may be available at local or national levels.

Another option is the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which obligates energy companies to provide funding for energy-efficient measures in private rented properties. These grants can help landlords reduce the upfront costs of improvements, making it easier to invest in their properties.


Landlords in the UK have several avenues to access cash for home improvements, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Buy-to-let mortgages and remortgaging are viable options for those with substantial equity in their properties and who require larger sums of money. Personal loans can be a quick solution for smaller projects but come with higher interest rates. Additionally, government grants and incentives can significantly reduce the financial burden of specific types of improvements, particularly those that enhance energy efficiency.

Understanding the costs, benefits, and eligibility criteria of each option is crucial for landlords to make informed decisions and effectively manage their properties. By leveraging these financial tools, landlords can maintain and enhance the quality of their rental properties, ultimately benefiting their tenants and investment portfolios.