Landlords are raising rents in response to tax changes

It’s been two years since changes to buy-to-let mortgages also changed the way that landlords are taxed. As some had predicted, many landlords have been forced to reconsider their position and think about what the future now holds for them.

How has buy-to-let tax changed?

Before 2017, landlords could deduct mortgage expenses from their taxable profits, including all of the interest they paid for the mortgage on their rental property.

In 2017 this began to be phased out until April 2020. it stopped altogether. This was replaced by a 20% tax credit, which is substantially less for higher rate taxpayers who, under the old system, would have received 40% tax relief.

How has this affected landlords?

These changes in how landlords are taxed have had significant implications for them, with one in three reporting that their portfolio is not as profitable as it was before the changes came in. The same number of landlords have considered selling properties due to the loss of mortgage tax relief.

Apart from the financial impact, the lettings sector is undergoing a raft of changes, with more on the horizon; we recently talked about how the Renters Reform Bill will change things. All these changes and proposals are proving challenging to keep up with, causing 58% of landlords to claim that changing and confusing government legislation is the biggest challenge.

Two options for landlords

In addition to changing legislation, 32% of landlords stated that rising taxes are also a key challenge. To manage the financial impact of these changes, landlords are taking one of two main options – raising rents and selling properties.

25% of landlords said they have increased rents to cover the cost of increasing tax on their tenants, and for landlords with more than 20 properties, this increases to 58% passing on costs.

Around the same proportion of landlords with more extensive portfolios (26%) have reduced the size of their properties to reduce the impact of tax changes. However, the percentage decreases to 13% for landlords with smaller property portfolios.

What does the future hold for landlords?

With more changes to the law on the drawing board that will impact landlords, for example, renting with pets, changes to energy efficiency rating requirements, as well as possible interest rate rises, life for landlords won’t get any easier in 2022.

Ongoing changes and uncertainty in the rental market will continue to have unintended knock-on effects, such as reducing the amount of affordable housing and rental properties on the market.

Despite the challenges, almost 60% of landlords still believe that letting a property is worthwhile. Demand for rental properties is still high, so there is still much for landlords to be optimistic about, so long as they have a realistic business plan, which includes the right support that keeps costs down and maximises occupancy.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamline your costs and reduce your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.

Understanding the numerous taxes that apply to landlords and then calculating the amount of tax owed can be complex. To ensure that you meet all your obligations, keeping up to date with tax changes that may affect your income is essential.

In 2022, we’ve already seen buy-to-let tax changes coming into full effect, so what else should landlords be aware of?

Changes to tax

Some changes in UK tax regulations may impact landlords:

Tax on dividends – There is currently a £2,000 annual dividend allowance, but tax must be paid on income from a dividend after this allowance. From April 2022 tax on dividends increased by 1.25%. This means if you pay the basic tax rate, you will now pay 8.75% tax on dividend payments, those paying a higher rate of tax will pay 33.75%, and additional rate taxpayers will pay 39.35% on dividends.

National Insurance – National Insurance contributions have increased by 1.25%. Landlords renting properties as a business venture will see an increase in the NI contribution they must pay on any rental earnings if they exceed the relevant thresholds. It also means that if they employ people in their property business, employer contributions to NI will also increase.

Capital Gains Tax – The timeline for reporting and paying Capital Gains Tax made on profits from selling a buy-to-let property has increased from 30 days to 60 days.

Make Tax Digital – From April 2022, any landlord with a VAT-registered property rental business with a rental turnover below the VAT threshold of £85,000 must now keep digital tax records and report income and expenses figures online to HMRC each quarter as part of the Making Tax Digital initiative.

From 2024 this requirement will be extended to include self-employed landlords completing self-assessments. They will be required to maintain digital financial records compatible with HMRC’s Making Tax Digital system.

More changes on the horizon – 2022 is shaping to be an economically challenging year, with the possibility of higher inflation and recession affecting landlords’ finances.

Inflation, already at a 40-year high, is set to increase. In addition, rising interest rates are likely to continue their upward trend throughout 2022. Any rise in interest rates may concern landlords; if a mortgage is due to be renewed, it may be time to shop around for the best deal.

In addition to financial changes, The Renters Reform Bill will continue to go through the stages of parliamentary approval. Changes, such as proposed energy ratings certificate, carbon monoxide alarm regulations and “Lets with Pets”, mean landlords should be prepared for more changes in regulation and the extra costs they imply.

Preparing for an uncertain future

Making sure you are on top of your existing landlord’s obligations will make adjusting to whatever lies ahead easier because you won’t be in a position where you are already trying to catch up with reforms. Implementing a thorough inventory process is one important step to help you achieve this, providing you with a solid benchmark and clarity in an ever-changing sector.

The right business partner can also help you reduce running costs and ensure optimal occupancy for your properties.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamlining costs, reducing your workload and boosting efficiency, then contact No Letting Go today.

Finding a new home to rent can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. It’s a big financial commitment and one you don’t want to get wrong. To help you check that you’ve found the right property for you, here are five things to look out for before signing on the dotted line.

Five things renters should consider

1. Is the furniture in good condition?

It’s important to check that furniture in the property is in good working order and meets fire safety standards. Furniture that comes under fire safety rules should have labels attached to confirm they meet the required standards. Any furniture, including sofas, beds, cushions and mattresses that don’t meet fire standards, is broken or needs replacing through wear and tear should be replaced at the landlord’s expense. It isn’t your responsibility to replace the furniture in furnished property.

2. Is the property secure?

Different properties have different security needs, but it’s essential to know that your home is secured properly. You need to feel safe in your home, so ensure that locks are fitted properly and of good quality. Windows should also be checked to ensure they close properly and can be locked. It may also be necessary to consider security lighting and an alarm system.

3. Are there signs of dampness?

Damp and mould create uncomfortable living conditions and can be a health risk. Look in the corners of rooms and around widows for dampness and condensation. Signs of mould, flaking paint or wallpaper coming away from walls are all warning signs.

4. Are safety alarms in place?

There are specific regulations around smoke & CO alarms and CO2 monitors in rental properties, and you need to ensure that any property you are looking at has the required alarms in place and that they work. If not, this is a breach of the law and needs to be addressed before you can move in.

5. Check there’s an inventory

A comprehensive property inventory can save you from difficult conversations and disputes at the end of the tenancy. It should list all furniture, appliances, etc. and their condition, and you must agree that the inventory accurately represents the property’s contents and condition. If you don’t have one, you could find yourself bearing the cost of repairs and replacements you weren’t expecting when you come to leave the property.

Don’t rush in, only to pay for it later.

A few checks before you decide to rent a property could save you a lot of heartache and unforeseen costs down the line. Understanding what you and the landlord are responsible for when you look at a property can help you ask the right questions if you are unsure of anything.

Taking time to read a letting agreement can help you feel confident that you and your landlord are starting off on the right foot from the beginning of your tenancy.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamlining your costs, reducing your workload and ensuring that both you and your tenants are well protected, then contact No Letting Go today.

Short term lets have had a significant role to play in the rental market over the past year, performing better than other sectors, and the good news is that this trend looks set to continue in 2022.

What’s driving the growth in short term lets?

Although the short-term rental market has not been immune to the challenges presented by the past couple of years, it has weathered the storm well for three key reasons:

The rise of the “staycation”: Many people are choosing to avoid foreign travel and remain in the UK for their holiday, with the increase of “staycations” driving demand for short-term holiday lets. People’s desire to explore the UK and enjoy the convenience of holidaying while avoiding airports indicates that demand for short-term lets for holidays is here to stay. BuyAssociation reported that 47% of families looking for holiday accommodation were interested in finding a cottage or villa rather than staying in a hotel.

Nomadic workers: Another trend driving the demand for short term lets is that of the nomadic worker. For many people, working from home looks set to remain a long-term work option; it doesn’t matter where they are based if they can continue to work. This has seen a rise in people taking on short term lets they can work from but also use as a base to explore a new area, allowing them to combine travel and work.

Modern rental options: We recently discussed how the build-to-rent sector continues to grow and the increasing availability of purpose-built rental properties specifically designed for the rental market. They offer an attractive proposition with great facilities, easy access to wi-fi, and high-spec interiors. Unlike many traditional rental properties, they offer flexible rental solutions, including short-term lets. These types of properties speak to those who don’t want to rent, and as the number of build-to-rent properties increases, it will also help attract more people to the short-term rental market.

How can landlords adapt?

As the short-term rental market is likely to continue performing well, landlords and letting agents may want to look to their own portfolios to see how they can benefit from the trend. In this case, the ability to be flexible and manage regular changes in tenants will be essential, and technology will play a vital role.

We’ve already seen how technology such as keyless entry, digital property guides, and an array of communications tools can smooth the onboarding process for new tenants. But there’s also an array of technology that supports the quick transition of tenants. Online inventory tools, check-in services, and end-of-tenancy checks all make property management efficient and easy while still protecting your property and keeping operational costs low.

There are plenty of opportunities for landlords and letting agents in the rental market, but you may need to examine how you apply tech to manage your properties to keep pace with change.

No Letting Go

If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, applying high-tech solutions to streamline your cost and reduce your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.

Thinking of investing in Build to Rent but not sure how to go about it or if it’s right for you? Our guide on why to invest in Build to Rent explores the risks and rewards of getting involved in the sector.

Build to Rent developments are growing across the UK thanks to higher demand for quality, purpose-built rental accommodation among young professionals and the over 50s. This burgeoning sector has great potential for property investors and commercial landlords, as long as you do it right.

 

What is Build to Rent?

Build to Rent, or (BTR) describes the process by which residential properties are purpose built for the private rental sector. In most cases, this is done by large property development companies, investors and commercial landlords.

Build to Rent developments commonly contain 50 homes or more, all managed by one landlord. They often feature desirable perks such as in-house gyms, entertainment facilities and sophisticated security systems.

 

The Build to Rent Trend

The Build to Rent sector in the UK is on the rise. According to property experts, Knight Frank, £50 billion will be invested into the sector by 2020 to accommodate for the growing demand in the private rented sector.

We’re now well aware that the rental sector is growing. Rising house prices and new working trends have resulted in a wider pool of tenants looking for suitable, long-term rental properties.

The demise of home ownership has resulted in a slightly older, professional tenant group looking for quality rented accommodation, complete with all of the modern conveniences.

 

How Does Build to Rent Work?

Typically, a Build to Rent development is owned by a large institution, such as a bank or pensions company and managed by a lettings agency.

Funding comes from investors keen to take advantage of reliable rental returns and long term growth. Some Build to Rent Schemes are also being supported by the Government to help with the building process and supporting infrastructure.

The main players in the Build to Rent process are;

  • Build to Rent investors
  • Build to Rent developers
  • Build to Rent letting agents
  • Commercial landlords

To invest in Build to Rent property, there are a few routes to go down, one of the easiest being through one of the large private rental developers.

 

The Benefits of Build to Rent Properties

According to Savills, Build to Rent investment came to £2.6 billion in 2018, suggesting that it can be a lucrative option for commercial landlords. There are many exciting opportunities for landlords investing in Build to Rent. Here are some of the benefits;

  • Longer tenancies are common (3 years +)
  • High tenant demand
  • Higher rent rates (around 11% higher than standard rental accommodation)
  • Reliable rental income and likely growth
  • Landlords retain control over their investment
  • Long term investment rewards

There are also many benefits for tenants which will make advertising and filling vacant rental properties much easier;

  • Greater choice of housing
  • Quality, purpose-built buildings with special amenities such as gyms and entertainment facilities
  • Access to convenient services such as security, laundry and concierge
  • Modern, sustainable buildings
  • Bills usually included
  • Furnished
  • On-site management
  • Encourages regeneration in surrounding areas

 

The Risks of Build to Rent

With all investment comes potential risk. Before going ahead, it’s important to understand what these risks are and how to manage them.

 

Construction Risks

Construction is a risky business, and all sorts can go wrong or take longer than planned, leading to greater financial costs.

 

Planning Permission Issues

As a relatively new phenomenon, planning permission for Build to Rent can take longer, resulting in growing costs and a reduction of rental income.

 

Void Periods

As the landlord, you may experience delays in receiving the full rental income as the development fills up. To avoid long void periods, you could implement a tenant sign-up scheme while the building is still in progress. Alternatively, you could plan the development in stages to ensure some rental income is coming in throughout the process.

 

Drawbacks for Tenants

It’s also important to consider the disadvantages for tenants when it comes to Build to Rent, as this will help you determine your target tenant and mitigate any risks.

Some drawbacks for tenants include;

  • Many Build to Rent developments target elderly tenants or young professionals and may not appeal to families or lower income renters
  • This type of accommodation can be more expensive for tenants

 

Homes UK Event

From incorporating affordable housing into your Build to Rent project, to attracting institutional investment, Homes UK: The Future of Living will be answering the pressing questions in the sector today.

Taking place at Excel in London 27-28 November 2019, the event is a great place to meet important players in the industry.

 

Protect Your Investment

Keen to take advantage of this fast growing sector? Here at No Letting Go, we supply a specially designed range of Build to Rent services to ensure compliant reporting, no matter the size of the development.

We offer;

  • Inventory management
  • Property visits
  • 360 virtual property photography for use in marketing, reporting and Build to Rent projects
  • Check in and right to rent
  • Legionella risk assessment and water testing
  • Central account management for national, corporate or large regional clients
  • Fully insured, qualified and professional clerks, surveyors and inspectors
  • 24 hour turnaround for reports

With our national and local services you get consistency, accuracy and efficiency delivered by our 65 offices across the UK.

Find our full list of Build to Rent services here.

Thinking of investing in London rental property? There are plenty of benefits for landlords, including high demand from a wide range of tenant groups and convenient access to quality tradespeople and property services.

Buy-to-let in London can offer great rewards, as long as you’re clever about where you invest. We explore why investing in London property is worth the risks and how to protect your investment for the long term.

 

The Advantages of Being a London Landlord

Thinking of becoming a London landlord? Here are some of the benefits you can expect;

 

Is Property in London a Good Investment?

There has been a lot of debate recently around whether investing in the UK property market is still a safe investment. Despite some instability in the London property market due to Brexit uncertainties and recent changes to stamp duty and tax relief for landlords, there are still many factors that make London a good opportunity for property investment.

 

High Rental Demand

For one, it is unlikely that the demand for rental properties in popular areas of London will decrease significantly in the long term as London remains a hub for many industries.

With a large number of students and young professionals, London offers a wide range of tenant groups to target.

Shorter term, Brexit uncertainties have been putting off first time buyers from taking the plunge- increasing the demand for rental properties further.

 

Opportunity for Capital Gain

While some property prices in central London have experienced dips, central London prices are now on the rise and there are plenty of up and coming areas marked for big property development projects. By investing in areas likely to experience long-term price growth, you are well placed to earn impressive capital growth when you decide to sell.

 

Where is the Cheapest Place to Buy in London?

House prices vary significantly from each London borough. According to Homes&Property, some of the cheapest areas to buy in London in 2019 include;

  • Barking and Dagenham – average house price £300,518
  • Bexley – average house price £341,784
  • Newham – average house price £365,182
  • Croydon – average house price £365,931
  • Havering – average house price £375,014
  • Sutton – average house price £382,607
  • Hounslow – average house price £395,734
  • Enfield – average house price £396,908
  • Hillingdon – average house price £399,639
  • Greenwich – average house price £411,492

However, the purchase price isn’t the only factor to consider when searching for an investment property.

If you’re looking for buy-to-let, the location’s desirability to your target tenant is just as important as getting a good deal. If you can’t find tenants to fill your property, you risk losing money. That’s why it’s equally important to consider factors such as transport links and the proximity of schools and shops to assess the risks and return.

In addition, looking at rental yield data is essential in order to calculate your return on investment.

 

Best Buy to Let Areas in London

When looking for the right location to buy to let, London has a few hotspots that still offer impressive rental yields.

Totally Money’s Buy to Let rental yield map provides valuable data when searching for the most profitable postcodes. Here are some of the top buy to let areas in London according to the map;

  • E12 in East London including Manor Park, Little Ilford, Alderbrook, Newham and Redbridge have a 6.04% average yield.
  • SE17 in South East London including Walworth and Newington has a 5.75% average yield.
  • IG11 in Barking has a 5.59% average yield.
  • Romford is home to several top performing postcodes including RM9, RM8,RM6 and RM10. Find property inventory services in Romford here.
  • SE11 in South East London including Kennington and Vauxhall has a 5.12% average yield.
  • SE28 including Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich has a 5.00% average yield.
  • N18 in North London including Upper Edmonton, Edmonton and Enfield has a 4.92% average yield.

 

How Do I Buy My First Investment Property?

Once you’ve decided that becoming a London landlord is right for you, there are several steps you need to take;

 

Choose a Location

Decide on the right location, taking into account your budget, target tenant and the rental yields in the area.

 

Find a Buy-to-Let Mortgage

To start the buying process, you will most likely need to apply for a buy-to-let mortgage. Our guide on buy-to-let-mortgages provides helpful information on the different types of mortgage available and how to choose the right one, as well as tips and advice on the process.

 

Protecting Your Investment

Decided to become a London landlord? Our No Letting Go offices throughout London are home to dedicated and experienced inventory clerks ready to help you on your journey.

From inventory reports to check in services, we can provide professional support to help manage your portfolio.

We offer;

To explore our full list of offices, search our branch pages to find property inventory services near you.

With Brexit looming, it’s unclear what the state of the UK economy will look like in a few months’ time, let alone the private rented market.

While it’s right to be wary, Brexit doesn’t necessarily spell disaster for landlords. In fact, there may even be some positive developments. Here, we look at how Brexit will affect the rental market, what it might mean for landlords and how to protect your investment in this unsettling period.

 

Will Brexit Affect Right to Rent?

Since February, 2016 it has been a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that their tenants have the right to rent in the UK. If landlords are found to be letting to an illegal immigrant, they could face fines of around £600 per tenant.

However, Brexit brought new uncertainties as guidance on the new regulations after leaving the EU were unclear, particularly in regard to the status of EU national renters.

For now, the Home Office have confirmed that during this transitional period, EU nationals will still have the right to remain in the UK and will be able to use their current passports or ID as proof of legal status. According to the Home Office, the European Union settlement scheme will provide legal EU citizens with digital documents to make these checks easier for landlords.

However, longer term this could cause issues, especially if longer term tenancy agreements are signed, as the legal status of some tenants may change post-Brexit.

The most recent update from the government confirms that the right to rent check regulations will stay the same until January 2021, regardless of whether a deal is made. Similarly, the requirements for Irish citizens will not change.

 

How to Stay Protected

One of the easiest ways to stay on top of essential document checks is to enlist the help of a professional reporting service.

No Letting Go clerks can verify right to rent documentation at check in, to determine whether they match the tenant’s appearance as part of our right to rent service. This is particularly helpful for landlords who aren’t able to meet with tenants personally.

 

Unstable House Prices: Good News for Buy-To-Let Landlords?

Brexit uncertainty has caused the UK housing market to slow down, with average UK house prices falling by £5000 at the beginning of this year.

This could be seen as a positive for buy-to-let landlords who can take advantage of this lull in the UK property market. For landlords looking to expand their portfolio, it could be your chance to buy for less.

However, a lack of stability is understandably putting some people off;

  • Recent changes to stamp duty have meant that landlords have to pay an extra 3% on each band on new buy to let properties, significantly increasing outgoings.
  • While the reduction of tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will be paying more in tax by 2020 and may even find themselves in a higher tax bracket.

Combined, these changes are making landlords think twice about investing in buy-to-let as it may be harder to enjoy the same rental yields as before.

 

How to Improve Your Rental Yield

If you do decide to take the plunge, you may find a real buy-to-let bargain!

To minimise the risks, it’s worth doing your research to find the best place in the UK for rental yields.

 

Brexit and Mortgages

Depending on what happens to Bank of England interest rates, mortgages could be affected by Brexit. It has been suggested that the base rate may rise after Brexit, which could make buy-to-let mortgages more expensive. One way around this could be to re-mortgage your property now, before the economy shifts.

Nonetheless, if this is the case, mortgages will be equally difficult to obtain for prospective house buyers, adding to the increase in those looking to rent.

 

The Impact of Brexit on the Rental Market

The instability of the UK housing market could put off potential home buyers from taking any risks in the near future. With less people buying, this could be good news for letting agents and residential landlords, as more people will be looking to extend their lease.

Shortages in social housing could also result in a rise in rental demand, placing landlords and property professionals in the private rental sector in a good position.

Bearing this in mind, it looks like the rental market should stay secure for the foreseeable future.

One thing to think about is that the location of your rental property could have an impact on the number of prospective tenants looking for housing. For example, some No Letting Go regional branches in which a higher level of EU nationals reside experienced lulls after the referendum due to uncertainty surrounding legal status.

 

How to Stay Protected

Providing quality rental properties that people want to live in will help minimise the risk of any void periods as we prepare for this transition. Staying on top of essential property maintenance and providing an appealing home for tenants will help to ensure you don’t lose out.

 

Property Renovation and Build to Rent

If you’re thinking of renovating your rental property or building property to rent, Brexit could make things a little difficult.

As much of the construction materials and labour resources used are imported from around the EU, tariffs and ease of supply could be affected. So, if you’re thinking or extending or renovating, you may need to save up more than you originally planned for to be on the safe side.

Thankfully, the government has confirmed that those with EEA qualifications, such as EU architects will still be able to work in the UK, even in the event of a no deal Brexit. Therefore, there shouldn’t be any disruption to ongoing work.

 

Brexit for Landlords: Stay Protected

To sum up, Brexit may not be the blow some private landlords thought it might. Although it’s hard to predict what might happen in the coming months, unstable house prices and rising mortgage rates could even drive the demand for rental properties.

To make sure you don’t miss out when the time comes, it pays to have a solid plan in place. And that’s where we come in.

Our professional property inventory services provide you with the essential reports you need to stay on top of the latest legislation. Covering everything from right to rent to property appraisals, our teams of experts are here to help protect your investment and give you peace of mind.

Browse our full list of property services to find out more about our individually tailored services.

With recent changes in regulations and unstable house prices, is property still a good investment?

If you’re looking for a long-term investment, buy-to-let property can still provide rewarding returns.

We explore the benefits and drawbacks of buy-to-let investments to help you decide whether expanding your portfolio or becoming a first-time landlord is still worth the risk.

 

Buy-To-Let Investment: The Risks

We would be lying if we said investing in property was completely risk-free. It’s important to understand the risks involved before making any big investments.

Here’s a look at some of the potential risks currently facing the buy-to-let sector;

 

Unstable Property Prices

With Brexit on the horizon, no one can be entirely certain what the after-effects will do to the UK property market. If house prices fall, you may lose out on money if you decide to sell.

However, this works both ways. If the property market experiences an uplift post-Brexit, as it often does after slow periods, your investment worth could grow by a significant amount.

 

Stamp Duty Changes

The changes to stamp duty made in 2016 mean that landlords now have to pay up to 3% more on buy-to-let properties. This can greatly increase your initial outgoings so needs to be factored into the decision-making process.

However, this doesn’t apply to first-time, buy-to-let buyers who can pay the standard home mover rates instead.

 

Reduction to Tax Relief

A new tax system is being phased in, and by 2020, buy-to-let landlords will no longer be able to deduct any mortgage interest payment from their rental income before paying tax.

These changes mean most landlords will be paying higher tax on their rental properties and may even find they move up a tax bracket.

 

Void Periods

Unfortunately, void periods can happen, and are sometimes out of your control. Extended void periods can negatively affect your annual returns and are best avoided.

To prevent void periods, there are some simple steps you can take;

  • Invest in quality marketing
  • Keep up with maintenance
  • Think about your target tenant
  • Ensure compliance with current health and safety obligations

 

Investing in Residential Property: The Rewards

When you get it right, buying residential property to rent can still be a profitable investment. Here, we explore some of the benefits;

 

HMO Properties: Higher Rental Yields

Investing in an HMO property is a good way to see larger returns on your investment.

An HMO property is shared by multiple people or ‘households’, and according to Property Investment UK, can provide rental yields up to three times higher than single lets.

With the demand for shared housing continuing to grow in cities and student towns, investing in property with the idea of renting it as an HMO remains a solid investment.

 

Location: Maximising Returns

When looking for a stable investment property, location remains key.

While larger cities in the North such as Manchester and Liverpool are currently experiencing an uplift in local housing markets, some areas of London are slowing down.

Finding the right rental market in an up-and-coming area will improve your chances of enjoying a higher rental yield.

For example, properties in larger University towns make a great investment for student landlords as there is a steady supply of students looking for housing.

To get a better idea of where to invest now, the following areas have been tipped as providing a solid investment;

  • Northampton
  • Leicester
  • Manchester
  • Leeds
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham

Look for areas with a younger population who haven’t yet stepped a foot onto the property ladder and areas with good transport links into popular areas.

 

Long Term Rewards

As long as you’re willing to exercise patience, investing in buy-to-let property still brings with it worthwhile, long-term rewards.

The security of a steady income flow and the possibility of inflation provides a solid return on investment and a safety net for retirement.

 

The Brexit Effect: Should I Be Worried?

Due to Brexit uncertainty, many people have delayed selling or buying a home. But that shouldn’t necessarily put you off investing in buy-to-let property.

The UK population is growing, and people still need homes to live in. In fact, as first-time buyers are thinking twice, the demand for renting may even rise in the short term.

Although it’s hard to predict, unstable house prices and rising mortgage rates could result in a higher number of people looking to rent, allowing private landlords to enjoy a stable rental market.

Either way, the residential property market continually experiences ups and downs, meaning that quiet periods don’t usually stay quiet for long.

 

 

Look After Your Investment with No Letting Go

If you’re thinking of investing in buy-to-let, it’s vital to have all of your documents and property checks in order.

Here at No Letting Go, we help landlords, letting agents and property professionals alike manage their portfolio by providing reliable inventory reports and other essential services.

From check-in services to property appraisals, discover our wide range of professional property inventory services to see how we could help protect your investment.

What if your tenant moves out without paying their utility bills or council tax? Does it fall on you as the landlord to pick up the pieces?

This is a common question among both landlords and tenants, and it needs clearing up. So, who is responsible for unpaid utility bills? Let’s find out.

 

Are Landlords Responsible For Unpaid Utility Bills?

Not usually. As long as it is the tenant’s name on the bill, and it is stated in the tenancy agreement that tenants are responsible for utilities, landlords are not liable for unpaid bills left over by tenants.

However, as a landlord, there are some steps you will need to take to protect yourself if you find yourself in this tricky situation;

  • Always tell the local council when a new tenant moves in. You will need to provide the names of the new tenants and the contact details of the previous tenants so they can get in touch if needs be.
  • Inform the energy suppliers of the property of any change in tenancy (this includes gas, electricity and water)
  • Encourage new tenants to change the name on the utility bills as soon as possible.
  • Make a note of the meter readings at the start and end of each tenancy so you have a record for the utility companies.
  • Ensure your tenancy agreement clearly states that utility payments are the responsibility of the tenant.
  • Keep a signed copy of the tenancy agreement in a safe, easily accessible place.

 

What Bills Are Tenants Responsible For?

This depends on the tenancy agreement you have in place.

Commonly, tenants are responsible for the following bills;

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Council tax
  • Internet

However, this is not always the case. Let’s look at two different situations;

 

Utilities Registered In The Tenant’s Name

When bills are registered in the tenant’s name, the tenant is responsible for paying them from the date they move into the property. However, they are not responsible for any debts left behind from previous tenants. It’s important for tenants to check the meter readings on move-in day so they can supply their energy providers with the correct readings at the start of their tenancy.

In this case, landlords are not required to pay any remaining payments after their tenant has left. The utility companies will have to chase the tenant themselves, meaning the issue is out of your hands.

 

Utilities Registered In The Landlord’s Name

You can choose to register bills in the landlord’s name and ask the tenant to pay you for their usage. This can be helpful for short lets, or if you rent out a room in your own house. However, if the tenant leaves without paying, you may be responsible for paying the outstanding sum.

To avoid this situation, always follow the steps outlines above.

 

End Of Tenancy Utility Bills

To end a contract, most utility suppliers require a few days notice before the end of a tenancy. As long as the bills are in the tenant’s name, this is entirely their responsibility to organise.

If there is outstanding debt left over and…

  • The utilities are in the landlord’s name
  • Or the tenant failed to register for utilities whilst living at the property

You may be able to prove the tenants were living at the property if you supply a copy of the tenancy agreement. However, this will depend on the individual policies of the utility companies.

 

Who Is Responsible For Bills During Void Periods?

If your property is empty for any period of time, the owner of the property is responsible for utility payments.

This is why it’s best to keep energy usage to a minimum in between tenants. However, during the winter, we recommend keeping the heat consistent to protect against mould and damp and avoid further maintenance costs in the long run.

If your property is left vacant for an extended period, you will need to organise regular vacant property inspections to check for leaks or mould.

 

 

Who Is Responsible For Utilities In Multiple Occupancy Properties?

If there are several tenants living at a property, disputes can often arise regarding bills. The main thing to remember is that whoever’s name is on the bill is ultimately responsible.

This means, if all tenants in a house share or HMO rental property have their name registered to a utility bill, they are all equally liable to repay debts, even if it’s only one tenant who hasn’t paid.

 

Property Management Help From No Letting Go

One of the simplest ways to avoid disputes and protect your investment at the end of a tenancy is to have all of your property reports in one easily accessible place.

All of our check in reports come with utility checks and meter readings included to help landlords and property professionals keep on top of their responsibilities.

Keen to learn more about how our flexible reporting could help? Find our full list of property inventory services here.

For landlords and property professionals, finding the right tenant for your rental property is fundamental for business success.

But who should be your target tenant?

It’s not as simple as finding someone who can pay the rent on time. Wide-ranging factors such as profession, marital status and long-term goals should also come into play when thinking about what you want from the arrangement and the safeguarding of your property.

Here, we look at the pros and cons of renting to different types of tenants so you can identify the right target tenant for you.

Choosing the Right Tenant

Before you start marketing your rental property, you first need to identify a target audience to gear your tenant search towards.

By identifying a specific tenant persona from the get-go, you will be in a better position to rent your property and attract your ideal tenant. Whether your first priority is the careful upkeep of your property, or to find a long-term tenant, establishing your needs and requirements at this stage will help narrow down the search.

When it comes to finding a good tenant, think about your future relationship and who you want to be dealing with on a regular basis. A good tenant looks different to different landlords. Do you want someone looking for a long-term let, or a you happy with a quick turn-around?

Whatever your needs, here are some of the pros and cons of different types of tenants;

 

High Income Tenants

The income of your target tenant depends largely on the type and size of the rental property you own and its location.

For example, landlords with property in central London will need to target high income tenants in order to meet monthly rent payments.

One of the biggest benefits of renting to high income tenants is that you can rely on sufficient rent return and are unlikely to have to chase up missed payments. However, a tenant with a higher income is likely to hold your property up to higher standards.

Any good landlord will be committed to ensuring their properties are pleasant, safe spaces to live in, but renting to this group requires a higher level of detail.
This means replacing carpets and furnishings more regularly and providing sought after benefits such as high-speed internet and modern security systems.

 

Low Income Tenants

If your property is located in a less costly area, it’s likely you will need to target lower income tenants.

Renting to tenants receiving housing benefits comes with its advantages and disadvantages;

  • One disadvantage is that rent is paid to the landlord in arrears rather than in advance.
  • There is also a lot of paperwork involved in renting to tenants on housing benefit and administration processes can be slow.
  • Another issue is contents insurance. Premiums can rise when letting to this tenant group.
  • Unfortunately, some landlords are wary of renting to tenants on housing benefit due to an assumption that their property won’t be looked after properly, and payments will be missed. However, this negative stereotype is unfounded and is down to a minority of individuals.

However, renting to this group comes will lots of benefits to landlords;

  • Due to the lack of rental properties available, advertising your property as accepting housing benefit means you will have a large pool of prospective tenants to choose from.
  • Tenants in receipt of housing benefit are often looking for long-term housing
  • As the rental payments are made by the Department for Work and Pensions, payments should be regular and guaranteed.

 

Renting to Families

Renting to families comes with wide ranging benefits;

  • For one, most families are looking for a long-term home as moving with children is a hassle usually best avoided.
  • There has also been research to show that renting to families results in less property management time.

The downside is that with children, there usually comes more damage and wear and tear to your property. If you’re particularly precious about a certain property in your portfolio, you may want to avoid renting to large families with young children.

However, if you’re letting the property long-term, you will most likely be redecorating at the end of the tenancy agreement anyway.

Most families are looking for a rental home with a little extra space. Make sure you highlight this benefit of your property when attracting tenants. Families are also more likely to have their own furniture so may be looking for an unfurnished home.

 

Tenants with Pets

It could be debated what causes more damage to a property- children or pets! While lots of landlords refuse renting to tenants with pets outright, accepting these tenants may be to your advantage.

For one thing, you can charge more in rent. With rental properties that accept pets being few and far between, pet owners will expect to pay a little extra for the privilege. The extra maintenance needed allows you to justifiably charge a premium.

If you do decide to go down this route, obtaining a previous landlord reference from your potential tenants will alert you to any problems caused in the past.

 

Renting to Student Tenants

Students have a bad reputation when it comes to taking care of rental properties. However, the student rental market is ripe with opportunity, with student homes in high demand in University towns.

Here are some of the benefits;

  • If you own property in a University town, finding tenants won’t be a problem.
  • If you’re looking for short-term lets, students tend to move on after a year.
  • Students are less fussy when it comes to appliances and furnishings, so if you have an older property with basic furnishings it shouldn’t be a problem. As long as your property complies with health and safety obligations and is a comfortable place to live, you won’t need to offer state-of-the-art appliances.
  • Renting per room means higher returns!

But don’t forget to consider the following;

  • Maintenance and repairs needed may be higher as there tends to be more individuals living in student properties.
  • Students like to socialise. When renting to students you need to be aware of the neighbours as you might be called upon to deal with complaints!
  • For most students, this is their first time living away from home. In place of a credit check, you will need to ask for a guarantor to safeguard your investment.
  • There is growing competition in the student rental market, with purpose-built housing being created. Do your research before you commit.

 

Renting to Young Professionals

Young professionals are often favoured by landlords due to their independence and financial security.

Here are some of the advantages;

  • While still young, this group are less likely to host big parties than students and tend to be more house proud, resulting in less wear and tear.
  • With more experience behind them, young professionals are better able to deal with minor issues independently before asking the landlord for help.
  • If you decide to rent an HMO property you can expect greater returns.
  • Professional couples tend to be stable tenants and are better able to manage rent requirements with two incomes.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind;

  • Like high income tenants, young professionals will expect certain living standards and mod cons. You may need to provide a dishwasher, high-speed internet and contemporary furnishings to attract this group.
  • If your property is an HMO, you need to be aware of the added paperwork and responsibilities this requires. You may also need to consider potential conflicts between tenants.
  • Young professionals tend to move jobs more often which may result in the premature end of a tenancy.
  • Younger renters usually search online to find rental properties. Bear this in mind when choosing where to advertise your property.

Finding the Right Tenant

Once you’ve chosen a target tenant group, make sure you complete this checklist before renting your property;

  • Meet your potential tenants face to face. It’s important to have a good relationship with your tenants and meeting in person is the best way to work out if it’s the right match.
  • Ensure essential tenant checks are undertaken. No Letting Go offer a right to rent check service which is a legal requirement for landlords and letting agents in the UK.
  • It’s also worth getting a credit history check and a previous landlord check to be on the safe side.

What Happens Next?

The rental property industry works both ways. If you want to attract your ideal tenant, you need to prove that you’re a responsible and organised landlord with the right safety checks in place.

No Letting Go provide a range of professional services to help streamline your workload and ensure you are fully compliant. From house viewings to inventory management, we can help during all stages of the rental process.

Browse our fully-compliant suite of letting services and feel confident that your property inventory management needs are taken care of