Landlords must take certain steps before they rent out a property.
You must register as a landlord. You will have to pay a registration fee.
Get a HMO licence
You will need to get a licence if your property is going to be a HMO or House in Multiple Occupation. This is a property where at least 3 unrelated people pay rent and share certain facilities.
You may need to get certain certificates for your property, including
- a fitness certificate (unless the property is exempt)
- an energy performance certificate
- a gas safety certificate for any gas appliances in the property.
You will need extra certificates if your property is going to be a HMO.
Mortgage, insurance and tax
Most landlords with mortgages have special "buy to let" mortgages. You need to get your lender's permission to rent the property if you have a residential mortgage.
Make sure you have the right insurance. You should have buildings insurance, but may also need to insure against
- damage to furniture or appliances you provide
- non-payment of rent
- liability for accident or injury.
Make sure you understand how tax issues work for landlords. This is especially important if you do not live in the UK.
Landlords who only let our rooms in their home will only need to do a tax return if they receive £7,500+ in rent each year.
You will be responsible for collecting and paying rates to Land & Property Services if
- the property's capital value is £150,000 or less, or
- the property is a House in Multiple Occupation.
Landlords can get a 10% discount on their annual rates bill in certain circumstances.
Tenants can get help with rates. This help is paid as a credit to the landlord's rate account.
Landlord Advice can help with questions about rates.
You will need to decide whether to manage the property yourself or hire an agent.
It is cheaper to do the job yourself, but you need to make sure you know all the laws and rules around renting. You will have to be available to your tenants and need to let them contact you out of hours if there is an emergency.
If you decide to use an agent, check if they belong to a redress scheme like The Property Ombudsman. These schemes deal with complaints about members that come from landlords or tenants.