What Is a Second Charge Bridging Loan?

A second charge bridging loan is a type of short term (e.g. up to 12 – 24 months) finance that is secured against a property which already has an existing mortgage or loan (i.e. the first charge) on it. Second charge bridging finance is typically used to bridge a temporary gap in financing, such as when someone needs funds to purchase a new property before selling their current one.

Here are the key features and considerations of a second charge bridging loan:

  1. Secured loan: as a secured loan, second charge bridging finance uses the borrower's property as collateral. The second charge element means it is subordinate to and separate from the first charge, which is the primary mortgage or loan on the property
  2. Short term financing: bridging loans are typically short term, ranging from a few months to up to a year or more. They are designed to provide immediate funds and are usually repaid once long term financing is secured or the property is sold
  3. Purpose: second charge bridging loans are commonly used for property purchases, renovations, or development, where there is a need for quick access to funds. They can also be used to manage cash flow issues or to finance other business opportunities
  4. Interest rates: these loans often have higher interest rates compared to traditional mortgages due to their short term nature and the risk involved for lenders
  5. Repayment and interest: second charge bridging loans offer flexibility as you don’t make normal repayments like with a standard second charge secured loan. Instead, the loan balance is repaid at the end of the term via a repayment vehicle. Interest payments are also flexible and can be structured in various ways, such as serviced on a monthly basis or rolled up and repaid along with the principal as a lump sum at the end of the term
  6. Eligibility: lenders will assess the borrower's creditworthiness, the value of the property, and the exit strategy (how the loan will be repaid) before approving a second charge bridging loan
  7. Exit strategy: a clear exit strategy is crucial. It makes it clear to the lender how you intend to repay the loan. Acceptable repayment strategies usually include selling the property, refinancing with a traditional mortgage, or using funds from other sources to repay the loan

A second charge bridging loan can be an effective solution for someone needing rapid access to capital, but this kind of finance comes with higher costs and risks. Borrowers should carefully consider their financial situation and the terms of the loan before proceeding. The simplest way to do this is to consult a mortgage broker such as John Charcol.

What Are Second Charge Bridging Loans Useful for?

Second charge bridging loans are flexible and can be arranged quickly, so they’re useful for a variety of purposes.

Here are some common uses for flexible second charge bridging loans:

Quick Property Purchases

  • Buying before selling: second charge bridges allow property buyers to purchase a new home before selling their existing one. Instead of waiting on the property chain and the sale of their existing residence, buyers can use a second charge bridge to release equity from the existing property and fund the purchase of the new home quickly
  • Auction purchases: often a quick completion is required when you buy a property at auction, and a second charge bridging loan can be a way to use your existing property to access the immediate funds needed

Property Renovation and Development

  • Renovation projects: homeowners or developers can use second charge bridging loans to fund renovation or refurbishment projects on existing properties, thereby increasing their value before selling or refinancing
  • Development projects: for property developers, bridging loans can finance new construction or significant development projects

Business Purposes

  • Business expansion: business owners can use the funds from second charge bridging to expand their operations, purchase new equipment, or invest in new opportunities
  • Working capital: second charge bridging loans can provide short term working capital to manage cash flow issues or cover unexpected expenses

Preventing Foreclosure or Repossession

  • Avoiding repossession: if a borrower is facing foreclosure or repossession due to missed mortgage payments, a second charge bridging loan can provide the funds needed to pay off arrears and avoid losing the property

Short Term Cash Flow Needs

  • Immediate cash flow: these loans can address urgent financial needs that require quick access to funds, which traditional loans might not be able to provide in time

Investment Opportunities

  • Grabbing investment opportunities: investors can use second charge bridging finance to seize investment opportunities that require immediate capital, such as purchasing undervalued properties or investing in lucrative ventures

Resolving Legal Issues

  • Legal settlements: second charge bridging can be used to pay for legal fees or settle disputes where immediate funds are necessary

Tax Liabilities

  • Paying taxes: borrowers can use the second charge bridging finance to cover significant tax bills, avoiding penalties and interest on unpaid taxes

What Is the Criteria for Second Charge Bridging Finance UK?

The criteria for obtaining second charge bridging finance can vary between lenders, but there are several common factors that most lenders will take into consideration.

Here are the key criteria typically required by second charge bridging lenders.


1. Property as Security

  • Existing mortgage: to qualify for a second charge bridging loan, the property obviously must have a first charge mortgage already secured on it (otherwise you’d just be securing a standard bridging loan, not a second charge bridging loan). A second charge bridging loan is secured against the remaining equity in the property after the first charge
  • Property value: the lender will assess the property’s will be assessed to determine that there is enough available equity to use as collateral for the loan

2. Loan-to-Value (LTV) Ratio and minimum loan amount

  • Second charge bridging maximum LTV ratio: second charge bridging lenders usually offer a maximum LTV ratio up to 75% - 80% - this LTV is a combination of both the first and second charges. For example, if the property is worth £500,000 (100% LTV) and the first mortgage is £300,000 (60% LTV), the maximum loan amount (including the existing mortgage) might be up to £400,000 (80% LTV)
  • Some second charge bridging lenders will have a minimum loan requirement: a typical minimum loan amount to make the bridge worthwhile for the lender is at least £25,000. There are some that will let you borrow a lower amount but this will often incur higher interest rates

3. Creditworthiness

  • Credit history: lenders will check the borrower’s credit history to assess their ability to repay the loan. While some lenders may be more flexible, a poor credit history could result in higher interest rates or refusal
  • Income verification: borrowers will often need to provide proof of income to demonstrate their ability to meet interest payments

4. Purpose of the Loan

  • Use of funds: lenders will want to know the purpose of the loan, whether it’s for a property purchase, renovation, business expansion, or something else

5. Exit Strategy

  • Clear exit plan: a viable exit strategy is crucial. This could be the sale of the property, refinancing with a long term loan, or other means of repaying the bridging loan within the agreed term
  • Timing: the exit strategy should realistically match the loan term, typically 6 - 24 months

6. Property Type and Condition

  • Property type: the type and condition of the property can affect the lender’s decision. Residential, commercial and mixed-use properties may all be eligible, but the specifics can vary
  • Condition and location: lenders have varying degrees of appetite for risk and they each come with their own criteria. Properties in poor condition or in a location with low demand might be less attractive to some lenders with a lower appetite for risk, though this does not mean there won’t be another lender out there that will happily consider your application

7. Borrower's Experience

  • Experience level: for development or renovation projects, lenders may consider the borrower’s experience in similar projects. Experienced developers may have an easier time securing second charge bridging finance

8. Legal Requirements

  • Ownership documentation: proof of ownership and existing mortgage details will be required
  • Legal checks: lenders will conduct legal checks to ensure there are no legal impediments to placing a second charge on the property

9. Additional Security

  • Additional assets: in some cases, lenders may require additional security, such as other properties or assets, to further secure the loan

10. Interest Payments

  • Payment plan: lenders will look at how interest payments will be managed. Options include monthly interest payments or rolling up interest to be paid at the end of the loan term when the loan balance is paid

By meeting these criteria, borrowers can improve their chances of securing a second charge bridging loan.


The amount you can borrow with a second charge bridging loan depends on several factors. Here are the primary considerations that lenders take into account.

Property Value and Equity

  • Current property value: the value of the property against which the loan is secured is crucial. Lenders will conduct a valuation to determine this
  • Existing mortgage balance: the outstanding balance on the first charge mortgage affects the available equity
  • LTV: most lenders offer second charge bridging loans with a maximum LTV ratio, typically up to 75-80% of the property's current value. This ratio includes the total of the existing mortgage and the new bridging loan

    Example Calculation

    If your property is valued at £500,000 and your existing mortgage balance is £300,000:

    • Maximum LTV offered by the lender: 75%
    • Maximum total borrowing (75% of £500,000): £375,000
    • Existing mortgage: £300,000
    • Potential second charge bridging loan amount: £375,000 - £300,000 = £75,000


    • Credit score: a higher credit score can result in better borrowing terms, lower rates and potentially a higher loan amount
    • Income verification: proof of income may affect the loan amount, especially if the lender requires assurance of your ability to make interest payments

    Purpose of the Loan

    • Loan purpose: the intended use of the loan (e.g. property purchase, renovation, business expansion) can influence the amount lenders are willing to provide

    Borrower’s Experience

    • Experience: for development projects, an experienced borrower might be able to secure a larger loan compared to someone with little or no experience in property development

    Exit Strategy

    • Clear and viable exit plan: a solid exit strategy (e.g., sale of the property, refinancing) can positively impact the amount you can borrow, as it assures the lender of loan repayment

    Additional Security

    • Other assets: if you can offer additional properties or assets as collateral, lenders might be willing to increase the loan amount

    Who Are Some Second Charge Bridging Lenders?

    Several lenders in the UK specialise in second charge bridging loans. Here are some notable ones:

    • Together
    • Precise Mortgages
    • MT Finance
    • Shawbrook Bank
    • Octane Capital
    • LendInvest
    • United Trust Bank (UTB)
    • Castle Trust Bank
    • Aspen Bridging

    How to Choose a Lender

    When choosing a second charge bridging lender, consider the following:

    • Interest rates and fees
    • Loan terms
    • Reputation and reviews
    • Approval time
    • Customer service

    Are Second Charge Bridging Loans Regulated?

    Yes, second charge bridging loans can be regulated, but it depends on the specific circumstances and the nature of the loan. Here's a detailed breakdown:

    Regulated Bridging Loans

    • Primary residences are regulated by the FCA: bridging loans secured on a property that is the borrower's primary residence or that of an immediate family member are considered regulated. These loans must comply with FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) rules, which include providing clear information about the terms and costs of the loan, assessing the borrower's affordability, and ensuring the borrower has the right to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service if things go wrong

    Unregulated Bridging Loans

    • Business and investment purposes: if the loan is secured against a property for business or investment purposes (such as a buy-to-let or commercial property) and not for personal use, it is typically unregulated. Unregulated loans do not have to comply with the same stringent FCA requirements
    • Non-primary residences: loans secured on properties that are not the borrower's primary residence, such as second homes or investment properties, often fall outside of the FCA's regulatory framework depending on the specific circumstances of the property

    Key Differences Between Regulated and Unregulated Loans

    • Consumer protections: regulated loans offer more consumer protections. Lenders must follow FCA guidelines, which include ensuring that borrowers fully understand the terms and can afford the repayments
    • Transparency: regulated loans require lenders to provide transparent and detailed information about the loan terms, interest rates, fees and potential risks
    • Right to complain: borrowers of regulated loans have the right to take complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, providing an additional layer of protection
    • Application process: the application process for regulated loans is typically more rigorous, with stricter affordability checks and documentation requirements

    How Do I Get a Second Charge Bridge?

    Getting a second charge bridging loan involves several steps, from evaluating your financial needs to selecting a suitable lender and completing the application process.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the second charge bridging process:

    1. Assess Your Needs and Eligibility

    • Determine the purpose: clearly define why you need the bridging loan (e.g. property purchase, renovation, business expansion)
    • Check eligibility: ensure you meet basic criteria, such as having a viable exit strategy (e.g. property sale, long term refinancing)

    2. Evaluate Your Property's Value and Equity

    • Property valuation: obtain an up-to-date valuation of your property. Lenders will typically conduct their own valuation as part of the application process
    • Calculate equity: determine the amount of equity available in your property by subtracting the outstanding mortgage balance from the current property value

    3. Research Lenders

    • Identify lenders: research lenders that specialize in second charge bridging loans. Consider factors such as interest rates, fees, loan terms and the lender's reputation
    • Compare offers: use comparison tools or consult with a mortgage broker to compare different lenders’ offers

    4. Consult with a Broker

    • Professional advice: engage a mortgage broker such as John Charcol who specialises in bridging finance. We can help you navigate the options, understand the terms, get your application together and find the best deal
    • Tailored solutions: a broker can provide access to exclusive deals and tailored solutions that may not be available directly from lenders

    5. Prepare Documentation

    • Proof of identity: provide identification documents such as a passport or driver’s license
    • Proof of income: submit recent payslips, bank statements, or tax returns to demonstrate your ability to make interest payments
    • Existing mortgage details: provide information about your current mortgage, including the outstanding balance and lender details
    • Property information: include details about the property, such as its current valuation and any other secured loans or charges

    6. Submit Your Application

    • Application form: complete the lender’s application form, providing all necessary information and documentation
    • Valuation and legal checks: the lender will arrange for a property valuation and conduct legal checks to ensure there are no issues with placing a second charge on the property

    7. Review Loan Offer

    • Loan terms: carefully review the terms of the loan offer, including the interest rate, fees, repayment schedule, and any conditions
    • Legal advice: consider seeking independent legal advice to ensure you fully understand the terms and obligations of the loan

    8. Accept the Offer and Complete Legal Formalities

    • Sign agreement: if you agree with the terms, sign the loan agreement
    • Legal formalities: the lender’s solicitor will complete the legal work, including registering the second charge on your property

    9. Receive Funds

    • Funds disbursement: once all legal formalities are completed, the lender will release the funds to your designated account
    • Utilize funds: use the funds as intended, whether for property purchase, renovation, or other approved purposes

    10. Manage Repayments

    • Interest payments: make regular interest payments as agreed, or ensure that interest is rolled up to be paid at the end of the loan term
    • Exit strategy: execute your exit strategy to repay the loan by the end of the term. This could involve selling the property, refinancing with a long term mortgage, or using other funds to repay the loan

    Alternatives to a Second Charge Bridging Loan

    If a second charge bridging loan is not suitable for your needs, there are several alternatives that you can consider. Each option has its own advantages and potential drawbacks, depending on your specific circumstances and financial goals.

    Here are some common alternatives:


    • Overview: remortgaging involves replacing your existing mortgage with a new one, either with your current lender or a new one. You may be able to borrow additional funds if your property has increased in value
    • Pros: potentially lower interest rates compared to bridging loans and consolidates debt into one payment
    • Cons: can be a lengthy process and early repayment charges on the existing mortgage might apply

    Personal Loan

    • Overview: a personal loan is an unsecured loan that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as home improvements or debt consolidation
    • Pros: no need to use property as collateral and it’s a straightforward application process
    • Cons: come with lower borrowing limits, higher interest rates compared to secured loans and shorter repayment terms

    Home Equity Loan

    • Overview: a home equity loan, also known as a second mortgage, allows you to borrow against the equity in your home. It is a lump sum loan with fixed payments
    • Pros: fixed interest rates and monthly payments, and longer repayment terms
    • Cons: your home is used as collateral, risking foreclosure if you default and it may have fees and closing costs

    HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit)

    • Overview: a HELOC is a revolving line of credit secured by your home, allowing you to borrow as needed up to a certain limit
    • Pros: flexibility to borrow only what you need and interest is only paid on the amount borrowed
    • Cons: variable interest rates can increase costs over time and your home is at risk if you default

    Further Advance

    • Overview: a further advance involves are approaching your existing lender to release additional funds based on the increased equity in your property
    • Pros: potentially lower interest rates than a second charge and your existing mortgage also remains the same
    • Cons: may involve some fees and you’re restricted to your existing lender’s affordability and rates, potentially missing out on cheaper products from other lenders

    Development Finance

    • Overview: this is a specialized loan for property development projects, including renovations and new builds
    • Pros: tailored for development needs and interest can be rolled up and paid at the end of the project
    • Cons: typically short term, may have higher interest rates and specific to development projects

    Refurbishment Buy-to-Let Mortgage

    • Overview: if you’re purchasing a property to rent out, a refurbishment buy-to-let mortgage can be a suitable option. It’s a hybrid between a bridge and a conventional buy-to-let
    • Pros: designed for rental properties and interest-only payment options may be available
    • Cons: requires a larger deposit and comes with higher interest rates than residential mortgages. Not many lenders offer this product

    Business Loan

    • Overview: for business purposes, a business loan can provide the necessary capital without tying it directly to your personal property
    • Pros: keeps personal and business finances separate and is tailored to business needs
    • Cons: may require a personal guarantee and can have higher interest rates and shorter terms

    Credit Cards

    • Overview: for smaller, short-term funding needs, using a credit card can be an option
    • Pros: quick access to funds and no need to use property as collateral
    • Cons: high interest rates and not suitable for large amounts or long term borrowing

    Savings or Investments

    • Overview: using personal savings or liquidating investments can provide the necessary funds without borrowing
    • Pros: no interest or repayment obligations and immediate access to funds
    • Cons: reduces your savings/investment balance and can have potential tax implications on investment withdrawals

    Choosing the right alternative to a second charge bridging loan depends on your financial situation, the amount you need to borrow, your repayment capacity and your risk tolerance.