Commercial property finance for Kenyan beneficiaries


It can be extremely frustrating when you have an existing relationship with a lender, and are happy with your current facility, but are forced to refinance for reasons outside your control. This is especially true if you are not based in the UK. This was the case on a commercial property refinance I recently worked on.

The property in question was a commercial multi-tenanted asset in Cambridge, with a range of quality tenants. These tenants were blue chip companies, which is reassuring for potential mortgage lenders, as it shows that the properties are unlikely to suffer from rental voids. They needed to refinance the property, as their current lender no longer has an appetite for commercial lending and is now focusing on residential property. Time was of the essence, as their current product was shortly due to expire.

The property was held through an Isle of Man trust, which can create problems—but the truly challenging bit about this case was that the beneficiaries of the trust were Kenyan. Although it is understandably more difficult for foreign nationals to arrange a UK commercial property refinance, this is a sliding scale—it is much easier for a European client living in Germany, for example. Securing finance for Kenyan clients is quite challenging, as there is a limited pool of lenders who will work on such cases. My clients were still living in Kenya.


However, the company that manages the trust introduced this client to me, as they knew Enness has access to a wide range of lenders and can therefore usually find a solution to difficult cases.

I therefore approached a lender I knew from experience was comfortable with lending to African clients. This lender is a private bank with an open-minded and flexible outlook. I arranged for a £2.1million facility, at an excellent rate of 2.85%. This lender was also able to work with the short time frame available, which was a fantastic result for my clients.

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