If you’ve become a landlord due to unexpected circumstances such as bereavement or a new relationship, here’s some helpful advice. A two-minute read.
It’s surprising how many people become landlords more by chance than design – or in other words, ‘accidental landlords’.
Whether through inheritance, a change in a relationship or a new job, sometimes people find themselves in the (rather fortunate) position of owning a property that they don’t want or need to live in. And instead of selling up, the owner decides to rent the property out.
While this usually works out well in the long run, accidental landlords can slip up if they underestimate what the job involves – it’s not as easy as it looks.
Here are four tips for accidental landlords.
1. Talk to your lender
If you have an owner-occupier mortgage on the property, you must notify your lender if you intend to rent it out (otherwise you could be penalised). Sometimes, the lender will grant ‘consent to let’, which is permission to rent the property under your existing mortgage. But this is usually a short-term solution, and you’ll probably be expected to get a buy-to-let mortgage eventually.
2. Get landlord insurance
A bog-standard home and contents policy won’t suffice – you’ll need specific landlord insurance. Do your research on this because the policies on offer can vary significantly. On top of buildings and liability cover, some policies allow you to opt in to cover legal costs, loss of rent, or accidental damage.
3. Understand the rules on deposits
There are strict laws regarding tenant deposits. When a tenant pays you a deposit, you must register it within 30 days with a government-approved scheme. (This is a third-party scheme that protects tenant deposits.)
4. Get to grips with red tape
There are all sorts of laws – at least 175 – that apply to UK landlords covering everything from evictions and gas safety to electrical checks. It can be overwhelming trying to get your head around these, but most successful landlords develop systems to make sure they stay on top of things. And if you really wanted to sit back and let someone else take the strain, employ the services of a professional letting agent to do it for you.
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