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Tips on renting out my house please

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lizzywilmot, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter


    I will soon be moving jobs, I will be at the opposite end of the country and I will need to rent my house out.

    If you have rented your house out is there anything you wish you had known beforehand or that you would do differently next time. I know you need to take readings for gas and electricity and take out landlord insurance but what else do I need to think about? Does my mortgage need to change?

    Thanks, Lizzy.
  2. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    Congratulations on your new job!
    I think your mortgage may need adjusting, and it may cost more each month. Think about the idea that tenants might (accidentally or otherwise) cause damage. What can you do to prevent this becoming an issue? For example, simplify the garden, make sure there are curtain rails, towel rails etc, so they won't need to put up and take down their own each time there is a change of tenant.
    And Get A Good Letting Management Service! This is essential if you are miles away. It will cost (about 8% of your rent) but otherwise, you will need to charge up and down the country constantly. Meet each tenant face to face before you take them on, and if at all possible, get a guarantor. I would also recommend the landlord insurance covers your costs if they fail to pay rent, or you need to take them to court to evict under these circumstances.
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    • Notify mortgage provider.
    • Notify HMRC (rent received is considered to be income).
    • Notify local council (re. Council Tax)
    • Arrange for Gas Safety Certificate.
    • Arrange for Electricity Safety Certificate.
    • Arrange for Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
    • Check or fit smoke alarms on each floor.
    • Fit Carbon Monoxide alarm if gas or oil boilers are in enclosed spaces.
    (Not an exhaustive list...)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  4. xmal

    xmal Occasional commenter

    Make sure you get references from any tenant
  5. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I think, @nomad, that you only need a carbon monoxide alarm if it is a gas or oil boiler, not for an electric one. And if you do have such a boiler, an alarm is advised, wherever the boiler is situated.
    @lizzywilmot, a good letting agency will provide you with a list of things you need to do, and you could even get a list from more than one, to make sure everything is covered.
    lizzywilmot, Lara mfl 05 and nomad like this.
  6. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    In addition to the above, it may be worth seeing if friends & family know of anyone seeking to rent for a short time.

    I was away for a year some years ago, and orginally planned to leave my house untenanted (with regular visits & overnight stays from a raft of friends to keep it secure).

    Then a friend asked if I'd thought of having someone to stay there. Their daughter & son-in-law needed somewhere to live while they sorted out their future plans. I met them, a lovely couple. They stayed in my house for 9 months, paying only a nominal 'rent' (£100 a month), and actually looked after the house better than I do!!.
  7. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    If you are on a fixed term mortgage, your lender may not impose a higher rate on you until that deal expires. You do need to inform them, though, if you are letting out the property.
    You must inform your House Insurer and they may impose special conditions. They may not cover landlord properties. I rent to students and have a limited range of sompanies that will insure that market.

    The local Council will have minimum requirements for any rental property, based on minimum room sizes for rooms to be advertised as bedrooms, for instance. You will need to comply with regulations on locks, smoke detectors, safety glass, fire doors (as a mimimum on the kitchen), heating etc. My daughter renovated a flat last year (to live in herself) but spent the extra on fire doors for all bedrooms and the lounge so that she would be fully compliant if she ever rented it out.
    Will you be renting to a family, a couple or several unrelated people? With 5 or more unrelated tenants (even if some are couples), it will be an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation) and will need a Council licence. They last for 5 years (if you meet requirements) and cost around £675. They take months to be processed as so many rental properties fell under the HMO regulations last October with government changes to the Housing Laws and there's a backlog. The Council require the owner and any managing agents to attend a compulsory course (chargeable) to make sure they understand all rules regarding lettings. Some Councils make you sit a test at the end of the day course. I did mine in Leeds and there was no test.

    Properties will fewer than 5 unrelated tenants are called Small HMOs. You don't need a licence at present but have to keep up to date with changes and thus it is best to be a member of a landlord organisation such as the RLA (Residential Landlords Association) or SLS (sMALL lANDLORDS aSSOCIATION).

    Paperwork has increased so much in the 17 years that I have been a landlord. Tenants are better covered now and more aware of how they can sue the landlord if they have failed to give them the correct paperwork prior to a tenancy (The Government advice on renting, Gas Safety certificate, Electrical safety report, the EHIC for the property with a rating of E or better... likely to change to a D or better ...,the Prescribed Information to each tenant when they pay a deposit etc).
    You should actually get tenants to sign a ticklist of every document you give them.
    You have to comply with the Right To Rent legislation which makes landlordds liable for hefty fines if they rent to people who have no right to settle in the UK. You need photo documentation of tenants. We use passports in the main and have to take our own copies of the original documents. It's problematic because many British tenants have neither a passport nor a driving licence. As holders of confidential information, you need to register yourself on the DATA pROTECTION SCHEME.
    If you take a deposit you have 30 days from when they paid it (not from when you received it in your account) to protect it in a government approved scheme (custodial where you hand th e money over, or insurance-based where you keep the money and pay an insurance premium to protect it). Fail to protect the deposit in a scheme in 30 days and the tenants can sue you for the return of the deposit plus a fine (to tenants) of three times the value of the deposit, even if they are still in the property and you have provided a safe and well-maintained home.

    You need to let the Inland Revenue know that you are renting property out and will get a Self-Assessment tax form to submit every year. For properties with an income over a certain amount, the tax office will next year require landlords to keep their rental accounts on specific IT packages that are compatible with their system. You then transfer your accounts to them electronically. They will be requiring that to be done every quarter, with a fifth submission at the end of a tax year. That way they can gather tax from you, if applicable, throughout the year instead of getting arrears of tax. That might not affect someone renting out a modest home.
    As a landlord who will be absent and unable to manage the tenancy, you would almost certainly be using a letting agent and manager. It is still your responsibility as the landlord to ensure that they protect deposits and supply all the other documentation to tenants. Ask to see proof of that from their other managed properties.
    Decide which white goods will be left in place. It should be written into the tenancy contract if they will be repaired/replaced under the tenancy or whether they are for tenants' use only until they break down.
    You need to have the gas boiler serviced every year and a Landlord's certificate of safety issued every year.
    kEEP A HOUSE FILE OR NOTICE BOARD FOR ALL SUCH DOCUMENTS AND KEEP COPIES YOURSELF TOO. yOUR CONTACT DETAILS or those of your managing agent must be displayed in the property. I laminate everthing for full protection of the documents.
    Check tax regulations on what are allowable expenses to reduce your profit for tax purposes. (it used to be booklet IR150 WHICH IS PROBABLY ON-LINE NOW).
    mathsmutt, lizzywilmot and nomad like this.
  8. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    lizzywilmot and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. towncryer

    towncryer Senior commenter

    Let the agent do most of the work...they know what they are doing.
    Check about the changes to giving notice to tenant as I believe that it will no longer be possible to serve notice.They can stay indefiniitley .There is supposed to be some change in this rule when it's your only property but I have yet to update myself on this. In the meantime I'm not letting mine out.

    In my opinion it's worth paying al letting agent and accountant but then I'm not in the country...might be easier to do it yourself and keep an eye on it if you're only a couple of hours away.
    lizzywilmot and nomad like this.
  10. Penguinitis

    Penguinitis Occasional commenter

    The tax assessment is a bit of a pain so keep receipts and make sure you get your online codes early. Any capital gain might need to be accounted for depending on when you sell that house. I used an agency and said yes to every request as I was renting as well and wanted to be a good landlady.
    Don’t leave nets! Mine were thrown away by the tenant.
    lizzywilmot likes this.
  11. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The proposed removal of Section 21, where no fault 2month's notice can be served in tenants (as long as the landlord has done all tenancy arrangements kegalkyy) does NOT mean that tenants can stay infinitely! Landlord will instead use Section 8 to take back their properties.

    A letting agent and accountant can do most of the work for you but your property needs to be rental ready in terms of fire doors, smoke alarm system etc and you'll get that done cheaper if you arrange the work yourself.
    lizzywilmot and nomad like this.
  12. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Predictive text strikes again! Should be legally and indefinitely.
    lizzywilmot likes this.
  13. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    The government certainly doesnt want you to rent it seems
    BY the way, if you are tempted to leave it empty some boroughs are charging double rates where a property is left empty. I an attempt to make you rent it our, whilst discouraging you from renting at an earning price. If you are then you might consider visiting the house and staying there for a period of time. or even be easier to sell it
    lizzywilmot and towncryer like this.
  14. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    Sign up to landlord zone website. It tells you everything you need to know.
    lizzywilmot likes this.
  15. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    Thank you everybody, so much information to process. There has been a developement today in that a local boarding school close to me contacted me about renting the house from me for it's staff. Any ideas on that?
  16. lizzywilmot

    lizzywilmot New commenter

    Thanks Jubilee, you certainly know your stuff and your advice is invaluable. I will start getting my act together in the next few weeks in terms of all the relevant paperwork etc. I'm sure I'll be back with questions if you don't mind. What is the rule on fire doors, does every room need one? I have an older house with original doors.
  17. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    I have 5 bedroom HMO that I let to students. I've always had a fire door on the kitchen and a fire blanket. A few years ago Council regs meant that I needed incandescent cold deal strips around the original (1939) lounge door as the lounge is on an escape route to the French doors at the back. The other doors are the original ones.
    I have mains interlinked smoke detectors on hall ceilibg, landing ceiling and lounge ceiling.
    If you're Will not be an HMI, follow your Council's requirements in letting the property.
  18. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    That sounds a good idea - hopefully responsible people and some comeback to the school if there are problems.

    But, yes, a letting agent & accountant are invaluable, and will save you a lot of time and hassle.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  19. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    The idea of letting to staff from a nearby school is positive. They should be responsible people as @chelsea2 says, and they will have a guaranteed income.
    Not sure about doors - HMOs are different too. A letting agent will tell you.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    The option to rent the property to the local boarding school for their staff sounds like a winner to me. You ma not even need a letting agent as the school will probably have an accommodation officer and they may mnaage the property in the same way that universities sometimes add houses/flats owned by others to theIR PORTFOLIO OF PROPERTIES TO BE SUBLET TO STUDENTS.

    Landlords need to register with the ICO under Data Protection legislation if they hold any information on tenants on electronic devises (computers, tablets, smartphones etc). If you keep everything with personal details on paper and have aletting agent/manager who holds the electronic stuff, you don't need to register. We areregistered because we hold copies of passports electronically for Right To Rent purposes and we scan in our signed tenancy agreements. Registration is £40 per year (£35 by DD) for 'businesses'/sole trader with fewer than 10 employees. Mr.jubilee and I count as one registration.

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