Every year, thousands of homeowners are forced into becoming an ‘accidental landlord‘ for reasons such as they are unable to sell a property or have moved in with a partner and do not want to sell up.
Becoming a landlord for the first time
Becoming an accidental landlord for the first time can be somewhat daunting, especially with all the red-tape and legislation surrounding the Private Rented Sector. From having to apply for permission from your lender, known as Consent to Let, to knowing your rights as a landlord and the rights of your tenants can all be a little too much to take in.
Download our 30 point checklist for first time landlords. It’s packed with useful information to help an accidental landlord get ready to rent out a property.
Top tips for an accidental landlord
To get you started on your journey of becoming a landlord, here are our top 10 tips for ‘accidental landlords’ entering the lettings market:
- Consent to Let – you must (at all times) inform your lender of your intention to let your property. This is commonly referred to in the industry as a Consent to Let. Some Lenders are fine with this and some ask you to change the product that you are on to a buy to let mortgage.
- Landlord Insurance – you should have landlords insurance on your property when you are renting it out. If you do not inform your current buildings insurer you may risk invalidating your policy.
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). This is a legal requirement and landlords face big financial penalties if caught out. For all tenancy agreements that started on or after April 6, 2007, landlords are required to protect their tenant’s deposit using one of the Governments tenancy deposit protection schemes. In England, from the 1st of June 2019, a maximum of 5 weeks rent may be taken as a deposit.
- Gas Safety Regulations – To comply with gas safety regulations, it is a legal requirement for you to provide a copy to each of your tenants of a valid landlords Gas Safety Certificate which has been carried out by a GasSafe (Formerly Corgi) registered plumber and is valid for a period of 12 months. It will need to be renewed every 12 months.
- Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) – Energy Performance Certificates are a legal requirement. Landlords are required to provide a copy of the certificate prior to the tenant signing the agreement. The EPC is required by law when a building is constructed, sold or put up for rent and can only be produced by an accredited Energy Assessor. You should familiarise yourself with the latest MEES regulations.
- Tax Liability – It is wise to consider that as a Landlord, you are effectively running a business and will need to declare and income and expenses to the Tax Office – Any good accountant should be able to advise you on rental income and landlord tax. If you are a non resident landlord (you live overseas), you may be able to apply for UK tax relief.
- Keys – Make sure you have enough sets of keys cut for each of your tenants – we would recommend a minimum 2 sets.
- Money – Do not release the keys to the tenants until you have your deposit and first month’s rent which is cleared in your bank account. You may be interested to find out when is a good time to sign the tenancy agreement.
- Mail Redirection – ensure that you have all of your post redirected.
- Utilities – make sure your tenant has registered with the relevant utilities companies.
If you find yourself becoming an accidental landlord for the first time, please contact our landlord team on 0333 577 8888 and we’ll be happy to talk you through the process of how we can help you find a tenant through to offering you rent protection.
See also: When is the best time of year to let a property?
See also: What is the best way to find a tenant for rental property?