Top Tips for Buy to Let Landlords

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  • Top Tips for Buy to Let Landlords

The property market has been the best type of investment for the last 20 years! It is estimated that landlords receive £14.2 billion in income per annum.

 

If you have recently entered the Buy to let market for the first time, there are a few things that you need to know about the investment and how to make it a success.

 

They are as follows: –

 

1) It is an investment not your home.

 

We often find with landlords that when they come to purchasing property they get emotionally involved. Or, perhaps they have had the property for a very long time, and they wish to rent it out. You need to understand it’s an investment from now on and so needs to be treated differently from your own home. For instance, you will be renting it out long term to a tenant and you must accept that you have certain responsibilities in respect of the internal state of it.

Understand that it will not be treated the same by a tenant. Especially as they may only be staying for six months to a year. You need to ensure that you get the right tenant. But you also need to know that you have got to maintain it over a period even redecorating and refurbishing over the years. Many landlords don’t consider any future works that may be needed.

 

2) Mortgage interest tax relief changes

 

The Government has been phasing out over a period mortgage tax relief on the income that you will receive. This is the proportion that you can deduct slowly from each year has now been reduced. This will come to an end in April 2021 tax year. It is so important that you understand that you will no longer get this as a taxable deduction.

 

3) Does it financially give you a return?

 

We often find that landlords don’t understand that there are only certain items that they are entitled to deduct from their tax bill such as repairs. Rather than say improvements. If you are a 40% taxpayer then the return you may be getting on your property might not be as high as you believe it is. You need to understand whether it is a short term or long-term investment. The property market goes up as well as down so don’t expect that the value of the property will always go up over a period. This isn’t always the case. You need to decide if it’s short or long term and then speak to your tax advisor. This is to ensure the best way of mitigating your income to ensure the best possible return.

 

4) Do I go big or start small?

 

We would always suggest that you start small as many buys to let landlords don’t understand what their responsibilities in future will be. There can be a problem with tenants, evictions and even legal documentation. Did you know that the Government has over the last five years provided over 127 new laws for lettings? When taking property over from landlords who have been doing it themselves, they often don’t realise the legal responsibilities. We will touch on this later.

 

If you start on a small scale at least you don’t have to worry about any more than one property at a time.

 

5) Local Licencing

 

Landlords operating Houses in Multiple occupation are likely to be up to speed with licencing rules that were adopted in 2018. But there is a lot of confusion that remains around other local licencing schemes.

 

The local authority may have brought in their own rules on properties within your area and it is so important to check. For instance, in Brighton and Hove there are local rules on properties with three bedrooms or more. You will need a minimum of a licence for the whole of Brighton and Hove from now on.

 

More councils throughout England are starting to operate more or selective schemes and you need to check these. The local licence schemes have faced significant criticisms with some councils failing to make landlords aware of the requirements. Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss it. You will be surprised what landlords aren’t aware of.

 

6) Energy efficient Rules

 

These are being phased in over the next few years. From April 2020 landlords will need to meet the new minimum energy efficient standard (means) regulations. These require homes to have a minimum energy performance rating of E.

 

Landlords that don’t have properties who meet these regulations must carry out Energy efficient measures up to a cap of a certain amount. It is important that you check when purchasing a property exactly what the EPC rating is. The rules were introduced in 2018 and will be changed over the next few years.

 

Electrical checks. These are now becoming law from the 1st July and all new tenancies entered must have an electrical installation condition report. These will need to be carried out every five years. Which can add large cost to landlords where the electrical installations are old.

 

You will also need to carry out any PAT test which is a portable appliance testing for any of your equipment that you have supplied. These must be carried out every year for students and every two years for residential.

 

If you wish to gather more information on this, please refer to our previous article on Maintenance Responsibilities Explained (click here).

 

7) Right to Rent

 

The Governments right to rent initiative was brought in from 2016 and these are an important check. The right to rent requires the landlord to check whether tenants have the right to live in the UK. There is a criminal sanction for those that fail to adhere to it.

 

8) Know the law

 

There are a huge number of rules as discussed above in relation to law and requirements for landlords. Especially when it comes to providing documentation to tenants. Did you know that you must serve a gas safety on the tenant within 30 days of it being carried out? But most landlords don’t understand it is not a question of providing a copy. They must have the tenants sign it and then have it returned to yourself. The law can be a mine field and not serving one initial document could lead you to not being able to remove the tenant if you had a problem in future. It is so important that you are aware of what you need to do.

 

9) Research the market in your area

 

If you are new to buy to let and don’t know anything about it, you need to research your market. It is best to understand that purchasing a property is not a short-term solution to an income. You need to buy the right property in the right area to get the best possible return for you.

 

We have an acquisitions department that offer a one-hour free advice service on what type of investment you could buy.

 

10) There is risk and return

 

You must consider that there are risks with property as well as having a return. The amount of rent you can charge varies according to many factors including market trends and we can tell you in this regard.

 

11) What happens if you can’t find tenants and your property is empty for a period. Can you afford to pay the mortgage? What happens if prices fall and your property is worth less than you thought it would be? Would you have to sell it and make a loss or could you hold it and wait for prices to increase.

 

12) What happens if major repairs are required?

 

Would you have the money to carry out the repairs in relation to the property? This could also be unexpected.

 

13) If I needed instant income would I be able to sell the property easily?

 

Unlikely so you need to take this into account.

 

14) Do I need different insurance?

 

You will need landlord’s insurance rather than the normal insurance you might get with your building Society. There are certain requirements in relation to a buy to let that you will need to have cover for that most insurances don’t always provide. We have a sister company iInsure365.co.uk that will be able to help you in this regard and please do not hesitate to contact them on (012730 827090.

 

15) What sort of property should I buy?

 

Finding the right property in the right location is important when searching for your own home. But it is even more important when dealing with a buy to let.

 

Get the location and type of property wrong and rents will be lower and tenants harder to come by.

 

Keep in mind that some properties are more difficult to get a mortgage on such as council houses, new developments of flats above commercial shops. Do your market research.

 

16) What are my responsibilities as a landlord?

 

There are always different responsibilities, but they can be summarised as follows: –

 

  1. a) Making the property safe for the tenants to live in

 

  1. b) Dealing with the repairs to the property structural exterior

 

  1. c) Maintaining the heating and water systems

 

  1. d) Ensuring that any furniture meets safety regulations

 

  1. e) Make sure that the electrical checks are done

 

  1. f) Obtaining an EPC

 

  1. g) Putting the deposit in the correct Government scheme

 

  1. h) Serving a How to rent check list on the tenant

 

  1. i) Serving a gas safety on the tenant

 

You can see from the above that there are huge amounts of regulation, don’t hesitate to talk to us in this regard.

 

17) Will I need a buy to let mortgage?

 

You may need a mortgage to buy the property. It is important to check interest rates before you invest. Low interest rates could mean it will be easier for you to borrow money but there could be charges later that you need to investigate. You should ensure that your income from your letting will cover the mortgage and what happens if the property is empty? Can you afford to pay the mortgage? Most lenders will need you to prove the rent that you are receiving is going to cover the mortgage and in fact they often need it to cover a lot more. You will often find that some mortgages will need cover of the rental amount to be more than 125% of the mortgage payment if not more. Make sure you speak to your financial advisor before you even start.

 

If you have any thoughts about wanting to buy a property, then don’t hesitate to contact our valuations expert who will be able to help you in this regard.

 

It is so important to ensure that the money you are going to spend on one of the biggest investments of your life is done correctly. Don’t hesitate to contact us on (01273) 724000.

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google-review Review
Pasha Salahshouri
Pasha Salahshouri
10:40 16 Jul 24
In what became a complex purchase, in which our financial circumstance changed during conveyancing, Janey was exceptional in her management of the purchase through to completion. Her comms were consistent and reasonable, which is more than can be asked of from a selling agent. When she wasn't available (rarely), the rest of the sales team in the office were also prompt with their correspondence and also clear and concise. A great experience overall.
Ms Natalie Vivien Christou- Sapsted
Ms Natalie Vivien Christou- Sapsted
17:57 15 Jul 24
Wonderful, fair, and supportive letting agency. Highly recommended.
Cristina Mihail
Cristina Mihail
12:53 09 Jul 24
I have heard of Harringtons via Rightmove. Communication was excellent, prompt, your employees that I had the opportunity to talk too were very friendly and helpful. The whole process of viewing and renting was quick and efficient
Caleb King
Caleb King
08:01 07 Jul 24
We would like to rate you 5 for your service, the two viewings that we went to for properties were excellent. Georgie was extremely friendly and helpful with great advice and information given.Despite the difficulties around gaining our property, communication was excellent from you throughout the whole process which we really appreciated.
Anita Vasko
Anita Vasko
18:21 29 Jun 24
I recently met Georgie while searching for my current home, and she showed me a lovely apartment. I must say, she is one of the best real estate agents I have encountered over the years. She was very helpful and friendly, and most importantly, she provided answers to all my questions. I hope others also have such a pleasant and helpful experience in their search for a new home. She was amazing throughout the whole process. Thank youuuuu :)
Ryan Arnold
Ryan Arnold
23:47 26 Jun 24
Harringtons have been extremely helpful and flexible with us so far! Very glad to have them as our letting agents for our forthcoming move.
Oliver Cannon
Oliver Cannon
09:32 22 Jun 24
Beth and Georgie were easy to get hold of, trustworthy, professional and quite frankly excellent. Really quick at replying to emails and understood I can’t always be contacted via phone. Would recommend to everyone.
Maria Ruxandra Ifrim (Rux)
Maria Ruxandra Ifrim (Rux)
12:38 21 Jun 24
Janey was wonderful. As first time buyers she really ensured this process is going forward. We had a lot of trouble with the seller's solicitors, but she made sure we are always kept in the loop. We will probably use the company when we want to sell the place.
Lydia Freeman
Lydia Freeman
10:44 19 Jun 24
Very prompt, really helpful information given at viewings, an excellent experience in an otherwise stressful time of flat hunting. Thank you Georgie!
Joel Dracott
Joel Dracott
07:02 17 Jun 24
Lovely and friendly staff who are always happy to help with any problems or questions!
Collette Tupling
Collette Tupling
14:48 14 Jun 24
I run lettings portfolio with my partner in Hove, and have solely used Harrington Lettings for many, many years. The main attraction to me is their insistence of guarantors which in these particularly tough times for all of us but particularly tenants, protects us from getting caught up in the legal system which can take months, over 6 in many instances, until a bailiff is appointed and the property returned-very stressful for Landlord and tenant alike. I have always thought that Harringtons offered a great service, but I have been amazed at how this service level has been improved by the recent appointment of Beth Roberts. Beth is a "can do" person and is motivated by results and getting me the market rent initially and on tenancy renewals. Any Landlord who is feeling dissatisfied with their current Letting Agency, should give Beth a call-they will not be disappointed!
Cat Westmacott
Cat Westmacott
17:57 10 Jun 24
Generally helpful for Lettings. As with any company, sometimes need a push for a response, but often easier to speak on the phone than email. Feeling hopeful for the next year’s contract with Harringtons🤞.
Kirsty Turner
Kirsty Turner
20:50 04 Jun 24
Great experience. Everyone is so lovely and helpful over the phone at Harringtons! The best experience we have had with a letting agent in Brighton, none of the other agents in Brighton have been bothered to keep in touch and help us find a property as much as these guys. A special shoutout to the lovely lady who showed me around the flat (Georgie I believe -sorry if I got that wrong), great at answering all my questions and been very lucky in securing the first property we viewed with her (an amazing spacious flat that has everything we need - including nice storage space for our paddleboards!) Looking forward to moving into our seaside home. Thank you!
Shadan B
Shadan B
23:31 30 May 24
Great experience, very helpful staff and friendly. I wish you all the success. Thanks for your care. 💐😊
Rachel Roberts
Rachel Roberts
21:13 30 May 24
Best experience I've had with a letting agent!
Charley Besant
Charley Besant
10:25 30 May 24
So far the process with Harringtons has been amazing. We viewed 3 properties with Georgie and each time she was so informative and kind, she gave us the time we needed in each property to look around, take videos and ask questions about everything. The whole process has been easy so far and I can now happily say we found our property thanks to Georgie and the team at Harringtons.
Ainhoa Negro
Ainhoa Negro
09:15 30 May 24
Georgie at Harringtons Lettings in Brighton has been exceptional throughout my rental process. From the very beginning, her professionalism and friendliness stood out. She provided clear and prompt communication, ensuring all my questions were answered thoroughly. Georgie made the entire experience seamless, from viewing properties to finalizing the paperwork. Her attention to detail and genuine care for my needs made me feel confident and supported. I highly recommend Georgie and Harringtons Lettings to anyone looking for a top-notch rental experience in Brighton.
PRBL1
PRBL1
09:11 30 May 24
Joel Starcross
Joel Starcross
15:22 29 May 24
Beth has been an excellent agent, great communicator and enthusiastic member of the team. Highly recommended!
Jess Pond
Jess Pond
13:16 29 May 24
Had an absolutely awful experience with this company. Told me one thing on the phone and then told me another thing on email. Very mixed messages. Left 7 students homeless by putting the house back on the market with only 24 hour notice. Will never use them again. AVOID!
Roisin Lilley
Roisin Lilley
11:42 24 May 24
I recently had some problems with my previous agent and came to Beth for help! She took over the correspondence for me and sorted everything out for me! I can’t thank her enough for her patience and help!! I’d highly recommend her to other landlords that need help!
Chris Lilley
Chris Lilley
11:26 24 May 24
I’ve been a tenant with Harringtons Lettings for a while, they are great, they always sort out any issues I have quickly and efficiently, Beth in particular is really helpful and I’ll be going to her for my next rental property when I look to move in September!
Georgina Palzeaird
Georgina Palzeaird
11:21 24 May 24
Beth Roberts was a huge help when I needed to switch to a new letting agency. She was friendly and efficient and I’ve always felt I’m in safe hands.
Eliya Halim
Eliya Halim
10:26 24 May 24
Top service
Maryana Atiya
Maryana Atiya
10:20 24 May 24
Rees Harper
Rees Harper
17:53 21 May 24
Lauryn Keller
Lauryn Keller
15:20 03 May 24
Georgie was great on our viewing - super lovely, informative and honest. Thank you!
Sammi Richmond
Sammi Richmond
09:16 24 Apr 24
Well, they just contacted me via email asking for a review for money... so here, I guess.Does 3 stars get me that tenner? Probably not. Nothing terrible to say, but never had any issues with the property really. Don't enjoy that they were willing to pay for reviews though, seems sketchy.UPDATE: As the business has finally replied to my review 6 years later, I thought I would mention that I indeed have the email still as proof. Offer of £10 for a review, and to mention Rachel Erridge in the review. Also a prize of £200 to one lucky winner. The email was sent from the Harrington's admin email address. I can email the proof to whoever requests it.
Jayden Charles-Frempong
Jayden Charles-Frempong
01:20 18 Apr 24
Every interaction I've had so far with Harrington has been positive with workers responding to calls very quickly and addressing any queries efficiently.
severin severinov
severin severinov
10:05 11 Apr 24
It is very good that they do their job professionally and take care of the customers.
kate quick
kate quick
13:15 09 Apr 24
I am very happy and extremely grateful to have found Harringtons lettings and the beautiful flat that I am now living in. Not only is the flat perfect for me, ticks all the boxes and is in a great location; the whole communication/admin process was so fast and efficient. I spoke to many of the team, but the two main contacts initially were Georgie and Beth. Great personalities, friendly and fast at replying to emails and phone calls. It was all turned around very quickly and everyone at Harringtons seems to appear to really be happy in their jobs. Great letting agent and I would recommend them to others looking for a new home.
Michael Hollamby
Michael Hollamby
12:32 09 Apr 24
Having worked with many many lettings it has been refreshing to deal with such a dynamic and energetic team. From start to finish the team have outstanding. Special mention to Beth who has been fantastic. I can thoroughly recommend using Harringtons.
Celyn James
Celyn James
17:08 27 Mar 24
Great experience, Georgie was so knowledgeable and kind with any enquiries I had. Really put me at ease while house hunting, amazing service thank you so much!!
Madison Harris
Madison Harris
14:29 27 Mar 24
Georgie was so helpful and really kind very appreciative x
Amber-Rose Cook
Amber-Rose Cook
08:58 22 Mar 24
easy to use and navigate as a first time user
Buffy Vaughn
Buffy Vaughn
18:06 21 Mar 24
Harringtons have been so helpful so far. Everyone we’ve spoken to on the phone including Georgie have been so warm and receptive and easy to communicate with. As a couple renting together for first time me & Danny couldn’t have found better people to help us out, they’re clear and concise. We discovered them through Rightmove and would highly recommend anyone to use their services to rent with.Thanks guys!Buffy & Danny
Sajan Raja
Sajan Raja
01:48 21 Mar 24
Kerryn Johnson
Kerryn Johnson
16:58 18 Mar 24
Georgie was absolutely amazing! Very helpful, easy to talk to and all in all an absolute sweetheart. Made the process of renting and finding a property less stressful. Always happy to help and lovely to chat to!Thank you again for everything!
Julia Reinstein
Julia Reinstein
11:22 18 Mar 24
5/5 - Everyone I’ve spoken to on the phone has been so friendly and patient with our move in documents. We found Harringtons through Rightmove, and have been really happy with our interactions. The team respond to queries efficiently and are happy to answer any and all questions.
Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown
07:09 15 Mar 24
A really excellent agency, who are very easy and friendly to deal with. Highly recommended.
Rob Rainbird
Rob Rainbird
18:04 13 Mar 24
Lovely staff and all round positive experience - Georgie is an absolute diamond and a credit to the team!
Tori Tor
Tori Tor
11:15 08 Mar 24
Harringtons have been really helpful and very swift with their responses. Georgie was very proffesional and really friendly when she did the viewings with me and Beth on the phone was again really helpful and gave me hope when I was explaining my eagerness to find somewhere new to live. Thanks Harringtons!
christos papanicolaou
christos papanicolaou
09:33 07 Mar 24
Staff were brilliant. Very helpful
Yasmin Bright
Yasmin Bright
20:54 01 Mar 24
I'm in a difficult situation at the moment with my landlord wanting to sell the flat that myself and my 3 children have been living in for 7 years. I came across Harringtons Viewings by applying to view some properties outside of my area.Unfortunately I haven't been able to sort anything with Harringtons, however I wanted to write this to say that they have been nothing but kind, warm and very understanding of my situation. I've been really impressed by their customer service (namely Georgie & Beth) and hope that they are able to find me something eventually!Thanks so much.Yasmin
Tegan
Tegan
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
TheFlyingCrocodile
TheFlyingCrocodile
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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