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
- 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 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.
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.
- 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;
- High rental demand
- High demand from student renters
- High demand from professional tenants
- Reliable flow of tenants
- Wide range of properties
- Wide range of tenant groups
- Wide selection of tradespeople, letting and estate agents and property managers
- Access to quality inventory clerks and services
- Rewarding rental yields in certain areas
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.
- Property inventory services in Stratford & Newham, East London
- Property inventory services in Greenwich, South East London
- Property inventory services in Southwark, South East London
- Property inventory services in Enfield, North London
- Property inventory services in Bromley and Bexley
- Property inventory services in Croydon
- Property services in Sutton
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.
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;
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;
- Council tax
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
Some believe tenants with criminal convictions are less likely to pay rent, and more likely to cause damage.
However, is it really that simple?
Should you let to tenants with a criminal record? Let’s take a closer look to help you weigh up the different factors.
Why Do Some Landlords Have Their Reservations?
First things first, let’s explore why some landlords have reservations about letting to certain tenants.
All private landlords are looking to safeguard their investment. This means making sure a tenant:
- Can pay rent on time
- Has the right to rent in the UK
- Is unlikely to cause damage to their rental property beyond fair wear and tear
For this reason, many run tenant reference checks to ensure someone doesn’t have a criminal history.
However, someone with a criminal past may not necessarily be a bad tenant. This also works vice versa.
How to Find Out If a Tenant Has a Criminal Past
Asking a tenant for a basic disclosure certificate will show their criminal record. Also, certain reference checks can give you the information you’re looking for.
What to Consider When Running Criminal Record Checks
If you run a background check and discover a prospective tenant has a criminal record, there are some key factors to consider:
What Crime Was Committed?
Some crimes are far more serious than others. You should consider the severity of the offence before deciding whether to rule out a potential tenant or not.
You should also weigh up whether this crime would impact them as a tenant. If someone was caught growing cannabis in your property, for example, this is grounds to serve them with a Section 8 eviction notice.
How Many Crimes Were Committed?
Was the crime a one-off offence or multiple? This should give an indication into whether they’re a reformed character or not. An isolated incident is very different to a long rap sheet.
How Long Ago Was the Crime?
Time is also a significant factor that you should weigh up. How long ago was their crime committed?
Arrests vs. Criminal Convictions
If considering a potential tenant, you need to ensure you only look at convictions – not arrests. Being arrested for something does not make someone guilty of that crime.
Is Anyone Else at Risk?
If you’re letting a HMO, you need to make sure your other tenants won’t be at risk. This involves looking at the nature of the crime; violent offences are very different to others.
Can They Still Pay Rent?
As a landlord, your primary concern will often be to ensure your investment is secure.
Has this criminal conviction prevented them from holding down long-term employment? If so, this may impact their ability to keep up with rental payments.
This is why thorough credit checking is essential.
Is Your Rental Property at Risk?
Does the prospective tenant have a history of arson, or vandalism? This may make you think twice about whether to let to them.
Regular landlord inspections can help you ensure your property is being looked after as agreed.
Tips for Letting to a Tenant With a Criminal Record
If you’ve decided to proceed, here are some tips:
Tenants with unspent criminal convictions can cause havoc for landlords, as they can make their insurance invalid.
You’re not legally required to check if your tenant has a conviction. However, many insurance providers insist you inform them if anyone with a conviction is living in the property.
Some insurance providers may refuse the tenant altogether, while others may increase your premium.
Run Thorough Checks
When it comes to a tenant with previous convictions, being thorough is key.
Don’t take any information at face value, always gather the facts for yourself. If anything seems unclear or vague, ensure you get to the bottom of it.
Meet the Tenant More Than Once
Form your own opinion of the tenant! Remember, you’re letting to a person, so building a relationship is highly important.
Meet them multiple times if possible, and decide for yourself whether you’d like to let to them.
To Let or Not to Let?
While many landlords have their reservations, there are some undeniable positives to letting to tenants with a criminal history:
- May encourage a longer-term tenancy, particularly if they’ve struggled to find somewhere to rent previously
- Builds trust with your tenant, helping to create a positive relationship
- Encourages the tenant to stay loyal, reducing the risk of void periods
You need to weigh up what’s right for you, considering all the factors mentioned above.
Need Help Safeguarding Your Property?
Regardless of who you let to, you need to ensure your property is being looked after properly.
From check in to check out, our property inventory services can help. We’ll make sure you’re compliant with safety regulations. We’ll also reduce the risk of disputes and ensure the terms of the tenancy agreement are being met! Hassle-free renting has benefits for everyone – so we’ll help you get there.
High tenant demand means buy to lets can offer a lucrative investment for prospective and professional landlords. However, changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages and rising interest rates require landlords to think carefully about the risks and rewards of entering into one.
If you’re considering a buy to let (BTL) mortgage, it’s important you understand the differences between a BTL mortgage and a residential mortgage and the different types available to you.
Having all the information available is one way to make a secure decision. That’s why we’ve created this guide on buy to let mortgages so you can make the right choice for you.
What is a Buy to Let Mortgage?
Put simply, a buy to let mortgage is a loan specifically designed for landlords looking to buy property to rent.
Buy to let mortgages are viewed as higher risk by lenders, meaning there can be higher fees, deposits and interest rates than residential mortgages.
But don’t let that put you off completely!
Can Anyone Get a Buy to Let Mortgage?
If you’re looking to buy property in order to rent it to other parties, it’s likely you’ll need to make a BTL mortgage application.
There are certain criteria you need to meet in order to be considered.
You are eligible for a BTL mortgage if:
- You are looking to invest in residential property (this includes houses and flats)
- You have the financial stability to repay the mortgage
- You own your own home (either with a previous mortgage or outright)
- You have a good credit rating
- You earn over £25,000 per annum
- You are below a certain age. (Most lenders have stipulations regarding the age you are when your mortgage ends which is usually between 70-75 maximum)
How do Buy to Let Mortgages Work?
BTL mortgages aren’t too different from regular mortgages, which, as a homeowner, you’ll be very familiar with.
There are, however, some variations it’s important to be aware of:
- Fees and interest rates are a lot higher than residential mortgages
- The deposit is around 25% of the property’s value as a minimum
- BTL mortgages tend to be interest only, rather than requiring monthly repayments. This means that the loan is to be paid in full at the end of the mortgage term.
- Most buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, if you are letting the property to a family member, this will be considered as a consumer buy to let mortgage and will be subject to the same regulations as a regular residential mortgage.
Types of Buy to Let Mortgages
Buy to let mortgage deals can differ depending on which lender you go with.
Interest rates will all depend on the amount of money you borrow and how much rental income you receive.
It will also be affected by the type of buy to let mortgage you choose:
Tracker BTL Mortgage
If you opt for a tracker mortgage, your monthly repayments are subject to change each month depending on interest rates. This is great news if rates decrease, but not so good if they increase dramatically.
Discounted Variable Mortgage
A discounted variable mortgage is a mortgage deal with an interest rate set around 2% below the SVR (standard variable rate). These deals usually last around two years. The rate is still subject to change dependant on the SVR, but the discount will stay in place for the agreed time.
Multiple Year Fixed Rate Mortgage
A fixed-rate mortgage will keep your repayments low and stable for two to five years. Different mortgage providers offer different deals, so it’s worth shopping around. Just make sure to check what the rate will increase to at the end of the fixed period.
How to Get a Buy to Let Mortgage
Now you know the basics, it’s time to find out how to apply for a BTL mortgage and where to look.
Most large banks loan BTL mortgages, and a mortgage broker can help you decide which mortgage deal makes the most sense for your needs and purposes.
Another place to look when searching for the best mortgage rates is a reputable price comparison website.
Here are some reliable sites to use:
It’s worth checking a few comparison sites to get the bigger picture before making a decision. And don’t forget to read the small print for hidden fees and extra charges!
How Much Can I Borrow?
Your borrowing limit is connected to your rental income. This is called a loan-to-value, or LTV amount, which is worked out as a percentage of the property value. An LTV for BTL mortgages is usually around 90%- 95% rather than 100% for residential mortgages.
This means that your loan is likely to be lower, due to the perceived high risk factor.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you charge around 25%- 30% more for rent than your mortgage payment.
Local property agents or websites can help you get an idea of the amount of rent you can charge in your desired area.
Despite lower borrowing amounts and a larger deposit, the average buy to let purchase price is actually lower than for a residential property.
Tax on Buy to Let Mortgages
Keep in mind that there will be other outgoings to consider when deciding if you can afford a BTL mortgage.
Income tax, capital gains tax, landlord fees, landlord insurance, and letting agent fees all need to be considered.
With changing terms to tax relief on buy to let mortgages it’s important to keep track.
The new regulations mean that landlords can no longer claim all their mortgage interest against income tax on rent. The amount of interest deductible is being reduced by 25% a year until 2020, when it will become a 20% tax credit on the mortgage interest paid.
This change has the potential to raise some landlords up a tax bracket.
Plan for all Circumstances
As you know, applying for a mortgage is a not a decision to be taken lightly as the responsibilities are a long-term commitment.
To protect your financial security, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for different eventualities.
For example, it’s not uncommon for a rental property to experience void periods in which no rent is coming in. Or, at some point or another, a pipe might burst, or a roof might need urgent repair. As a responsible landlord, you need to be able to provide effective and timely repairs.
To protect yourself from this burden, making a savings plan is vital. Ensure you are saving as much as possible when you have full paying tenants to avoid any stressful situations in the future. This should happen before making an offer on a house.
Tip: Don’t rely on selling the property to pay the mortgage off! If house prices fall, and you don’t have a backup plan, you’re in serious trouble.
Protect Your Buy to Let Investment
While applying for a mortgage is always a risk, once you have all the information at your fingertips, you can make a better informed decision.
One way to help guarantee the safety of your property investment is to ensure you are fulfilling all your duties and requirements as a landlord.
No Letting Go offer a wide range of property management services including professional unbiased inventories, safety assessments and maintenance reports to help you protect your investment.
Browse our full list of services to find out how we can help.
Looking to invest in rental property? There are many things to consider before getting involved in buy-to-lets.
Whether you’re trying to increase your portfolio or you are just getting on the ladder, it’s worth keeping these key principles in mind when choosing a rental property to invest in.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to rental property investment.
Is Investing in a Rental Property a Good Idea?
In short, yes. Rental properties are very attractive to landlords as mortgage rates and interest rates are low and rental return is high. The current housing market means that there is a great demand in tenants looking to rent.
As a landlord, you need to have a business plan for rental property investment. It’s worth familiarising yourself with how much mortgage interest you will be able to claim and what income tax you will need to pay. By 2020, landlords will get a 20% tax credit on their mortgage payments which may push some property owners up a tax bracket.
Before investing in property, you will also need to consider stamp duty, how much maintenance costs will be and whether you need landlord insurance.
Once you’ve decided you will buy a property, there are some significant factors you need to take into account.
Choosing the Right Area
This is the most important thing to consider in real estate. You need to perform market research to work out whether you will get a good return on your investment.
It may sound simple but choose an area that renters would like to live in. There will be a price growth for properties bought in up and coming areas. You will get a higher return by investing in a developing area. Consider:
- Transportation links
- What are the local schools like? (if renting to families)
- Are there enough shops, restaurants and businesses?
- Is there a university?
- What are the other properties in the area like? Do the neighbours correlate to your desired tenants?
This needs to be an area that your tenant will be able to afford.
Carefully consider how much rent to charge. Ideally this will be competitive for the area.
If you’re renting to students or younger tenants, they will be unlikely to afford high rent prices. You need to calculate the percentage of rent return compared to your mortgage rate.
What is the neighbourhood like for insurance premiums? Is the house likely to be broken into? Will you need to pay excess? These are all questions you must ask regarding your property.
Do you want to buy a rental property that is close to where you live or work? Being close to your property will allow you to monitor it if your tenants need assistance. However, there may be better areas further afield. If your property is not in a convenient location, you can hire a property manager to look after it.
Decide which cities to invest in by researching average rental yields. Invest in Manchester or areas surrounding London. Colchester, Essex had the second best rental yield after Manchester.
Choosing The Right Tenant
Deciding who you will rent your property to will inform what kind of property you will invest in.
It is important to choose the right tenant. These are some factors you need to consider about your tenant:
- Their age
- Is it a family? (E.g. single family or two income family)
- What is their financial situation?
- What do they want out of a rental?
The type of tenant you rent to will affect decisions you make about decorating your property, where the property will be located and the type of property you choose. To secure the best tenants, perform a tenant reference check.
Is it worth renting to students? If you decide to rent in a student area, you need to be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of this. There will be a consistent turnover of tenants who will keep your property from sitting empty and generate cash flow. However, students can be unreliable and do not always treat the property well. Maintenance of the home may cost you more in the long term.
The Type of Property
The type of property you choose will dictate what kind of tenant you will have. If you invest in a HMO (house in multiple occupation) property, it will likely be occupied by tenants aged between 22 and 30. A four bed house will be well suited to families or, you can convert a house into several flats and have multiple tenants.
This depends on what kind of landlord you want to be. Do you want to be hands on or would you prefer to outsource to a letting agency? Consider your schedule and your expertise.
What is the Condition of the Property?
You need to think about how much upkeep your property will need. If you want to invest in a property that needs renovating, you need to take into account the amount of time and money a renovation will take. In the long term, you may be able to charge a higher rent which will be a better investment.
Choosing to buy a home that needs little upkeep will be better for landlords who wish to receive a passive income. Tenants will not require as much assistance and you will not need to be too hands on with your property.
The Tenancy Agreement
Creating a good tenancy agreement is fundamental to your investment. Seek legal advice before choosing a rental property. This contract will set out what is expected from your tenants and how you will be expected to act as a landlord so it’s important to get it right.
For a standard tenancy, ensure your agreement covers the following:
- A full inventory of the home
- Clauses regarding the deposit and when it can be withheld
- How you expect the tenants to treat the property
- When the tenancy can be terminated
If it is a HMO property then you may need a license from the council. Your property may fall under the general definition of a HMO but might be exempt from licensing laws. Seek legal advice if you are unsure if this applies to you.
Seek out a tenancy template that will help you draw up your contract and familiarise yourself with the relevant bylaws.
It is important to prevent void periods. Choose trustworthy tenants who will occupy the home for long periods and try to be an organised and efficient landlord. If a tenancy is coming to an end then be sure to advertise your property as soon as possible.
How to Market Your Property
Once you have bought a rental property, you need to be able to market it successfully. You will find the best tenants by thinking about how to market to them.
- Advertise the area your property is in and the benefits of that location according to what your desired tenant would be interested in. For example, a group of professionals are likely to be drawn to somewhere with good transport links for commuting
- How is your property decorated? Is it furnished? What kind of facilities are there?
- What is the length of the tenancy and how much will the rent be?
- Describe the property as accurately as you can
The easiest way to market a property is by using a letting agency. They will be able to do the work for you, such as arranging newspaper advertisements and showing prospective tenants round the property. Agents will also be in charge of collecting deposits and rent payments and drawing up tenancy agreements.
Using a letting agency does not mean you won’t be involved with the management of your property. You can choose how much work you want to delegate to an agency and how much you want to do yourself.
It is important to look after your investment. For help with your property, use No Letting Go inventory services. We can conduct full reports on your properties so you can be confident that your investment is secure. Browse our full list of services to find out more about how we can help.
For any budding landlords out there, you’ll be excited to know that No Letting Go will be attending this year’s National Landlord Investment Show!
Taking place in Manchester on the 9th October 2018, the show will be running for its 5th consecutive year, with industry experts giving seminars on a wide range of topics.
Here you’ll find an overview of the event and what you can expect to gain from it:
What is the Event?
The event is effectively a hub of valuable information for any upcoming or established landlords.
Running from 9am to 3.30pm, there will be a range of seminars covering several different topics, as well as a morning networking event being held prior (between 9am to 10am).
Here’s what you can expect:
- Hear from leading industry experts across 15+ seminars held throughout the day
- An opportunity to meet the team to help guide you through the process
- The ability to meet other prospective, alongside already established (and successful), landlords
- Gain valuable guidance and insight into the current industry trends
- A tour of the stadium (if you stay after 3.30pm!)
How the Event Can Help You
There will be many complimentary seminars taking place, being led by experts in the industry. This is the perfect place to keep up to date on industry trends in a face-to-face setting with those at the forefront of their field.
The structure of the event has been proven to help landlords maximise their property investments after networking with both professionals and peers. The morning preceding the event is a fantastic opportunity to share experiences and discuss local issues.
You’ll be privy to a lot of in-depth information which can only serve to improve your acumen as you move further forward in your career!
5 Top Tips for Landlord Investments
Keeping in the spirit of the event, here are 5 top tips for landlord investments which you may find useful:
Research the Market
Keep yourself informed on both the risks and benefits involved with each investment you go into. Make sure it’s an investment you’re absolutely sure of.
Use Some Outside Guidance
It never hurts to employ some outside guidance – an agent who’s an expert in property management will be able to give you advice on best practice regarding rent, maintenance costs and other areas of property management.
Find Good Tenants
It may seem obvious but finding the right tenants can make your life a whole lot easier. Finding tenants who are responsible and unlikely to cause problems means less money and time being spent on maintenance or chasing unpaid rent.
The next step is securing long-term tenancies!
Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights as a landlord is extremely important. Being well informed on both your rights AND those of your tenants puts you in a better position to avoid any potential legal issues (which can set you back significantly).
Make Sure You’re Covered
Make sure you’re thoroughly insured to avoid any surprise issues. Landlord insurance will cover you for a wide range of unprecedented problems, so don’t make any assumptions – make sure you’re covered!
There are a lot of challenges you’ll face as a prospective landlord – events like this can be extremely helpful. Our services can also help you face these challenges – you can find out more about these services here.