Whether you’re an experienced landlord or completely new to the world of letting, a buy to let property can come with all kinds of legal headaches.
Many believe that as long as you have good tenants and house prices keep rising, buy to let is easy money. Because of this, it is a very popular form of investment – in 2014, one in five houses in the UK was rented out by a landlord.
However, there are risks, as well as legal problems that can present themselves – not to mention you must ensure you’ve gone through all the proper procedures and paperwork before you even start as a landlord.
At First4lawyers, we can offer you the expert help and advice of highly experienced property solicitors to tackle any legal hurdles around buy to let. Simply contact us to find out more.
What is buy to let?
The phrase buy to let refers to the purchase of a property for the specific purpose of renting it out.
What are the legal requirements of buying to let?
As with buying a property you intend to live in, once the seller accepts your offer, you will need a solicitor to act on your behalf throughout the conveyancing process, making sure all the legal matters around taking ownership of a house are taken care of. It is highly advisable to choose specialist property solicitors at this stage. First4lawyers can help you do just that.
If you already own a property and are considering renting it out, there are several points to consider.
If you have a leasehold property, where you only own the property for a set number of years, you must make sure that your lease allows you to rent it out. If it does, you may first have to obtain permission from the freeholder.
Do you have an existing mortgage on the property? If so, you must seek the permission from your current mortgage provider to rent out your property, and receive this consent in writing before you let it out.
Additionally, you must draw up the tenancy agreement in writing. Assured Shorthold Tenancies are the most common type, but your circumstances may require unusual clauses that you need the help of a solicitor to draw up.
Finally, you may have to pay income tax on rent, stamp duty when you buy your property and capital gains tax if and when you sell it. In all these circumstances, a reliable lawyer can be invaluable in making sure the letter of the law is followed exactly.
If you face any of these cases, First4lawyers can match you to the perfect solicitor after listening to all the details of your situation. Just get in contact.
What are my duties as a landlord?
As a landlord, your responsibilities include the following:
- Finding tenants.
- Getting references (if needed).
- Placing any bond in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
- Taking rent from tenants.
- Keeping the property in a liveable condition.
- Obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate (EFC).
- Resolving any issues that may arise.
- Arranging the proper landlord’s Insurance for the property.
- Undertaking any repairs.
- Ensuring that all gas units and electrical appliances are safe.
- Meeting the fire safety requirements for furniture and furnishings (if supplied).
- Obtaining a House in Multiple Occupation Licence.
- Informing your mortgage company of any changes.
I want to get into the buy to let market – what should I do?
You will need to instruct a solicitor to help you with your buy to let purchase. They will deal with any required aspects of your mortgage offer and the conveyancing process.
Past that, you should use their services when you want to draw up tenancy agreements, or you need to obtain permission from your mortgage lender or the freeholder to let the property.
First4lawyers can assign specialist property solicitors to your case. Whether you are considering a buy to let purchase, or you need legal advice with regard to non-payment of rent or any other issue, simply get in touch.
For straightforward legal help and advice, First4lawyers can help. Follow the options below to speak to one of our advisors.