As landlords continue to look for ways to beat the latest raft of tax changes and stricter lending rules, purchasing buy-to-let properties through a limited company is growing in popularity.

Setting up a limited company through which to buy and operate buy-to-let properties is now on the cards for 38% of landlords over the coming year, according to research by Precise Mortgages which polled members of the National Landlords Association (NLA).

For those landlords with portfolios containing four or more properties, 42% intend to operate through a limited company in the year ahead, compared to 31% of those with up to three properties – and presumably those with just one property, including “accidental landlords“, will be the least likely to benefit from setting up a limited company.

Beating the tax hike

With the Section 24 tax changes now being phased in for landlords, which means that less of their mortgage interest payments can be offset against their tax bill, as well as the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) introducing stricter lending criteria for portfolio landlords seeking mortgages, switching to a limited company can have many advantages.

Daniel Bailey, principal at Derbyshire-based Middleton Finance, said: “If a client is looking to buy more than three or four properties, the majority of clients are purchasing property though a limited company.

“It is important to get tax advice from a tax expert as each client’s circumstances are different. Limited companies offer a lot more flexibility and are proving to be popular with landlords who are looking to start or increase their portfolio.”

According to the research, 15% of landlords are planning to increase their portfolios over the next 12 months, buying an average of two additional properties, while 23% intend to make three or more new investments. The Precise Mortgages poll shows that 89% of brokers expect to see a rise in the number of landlords setting up as limited companies in order to continue to claim tax relief in mortgage interest payments.