- Stamp duty and legal fees, including surveys / valuations
- You will need a deposit in order to secure a mortgage
- Obtaining compulsory inventories, gas and electricity safety certificates
- The cost of any minor repairs required before tenants move in
- Furnishing costs – you can choose to let your property out with or without furniture and your rental price will probably reflect this
- Refurbishment and development costs if you plan to buy a property to improve or update
- Letting agents – you may choose to find your tenants with the help of an agency, who will charge for this service
- Maintenance and repair of the property in the long-term
- Void periods - there may be periods where you don’t have a tenant so your mortgage payments won’t be covered by rental income. In order to make sure you can still meet your monthly payments, you should aim to raise rental income of at least 145% of your mortgage payments – most lenders will require proof of this affordability when considering your application.
- Landlords insurance
- If you decide to use a management agency to help with the ongoing management then they will charge a fee for this
Buying a new rental property
Rental returns are important to consider before you buy so study the local area and try to buy in a location that you know will be attractive to prospective tenants. Things that will make a property more attractive are:
- Walking distance from public transport
- Good commuter links to the nearest city or town
- Close to hospitals or Universities
- For family rentals being close to good schools
- If you plan to furnish your property you should consider the quality of your fixtures and furnishings – whilst it may be more costly upfront, better quality décor will attract tenants and also last longer.
If you are just starting out as a landlord you might want to go for a low maintenance property so you have less to worry about. For example, flats can be great for first time landlords as its unlikely you’ll have to think about the building structure and problems on the roof as this will be the responsibility of the freeholder.
Renting your current property
If you decide to move out and rent your current residential property you’ll need to get permission from your current lender and make your insurer aware. Depending on your lender and your individual circumstances, you may have to switch to a buy-to-let loan, but this isn’t always the case.
Before you invest in a buy-to-let property, there are certain requirements and responsibilities you need to think about.
As a landlord, you must:
- Understand and comply with the legal requirements, including health and safety obligations towards the tenant and any licensing or registration rules.
- Treat your tenants fairly.
- Understand the consequences of being unable to comply with your obligations under a buy to let mortgage. We will have the power to take possession of and sell the property to secure repayment of the loan, or appoint a receiver of the property, if you are unable to comply with your obligations.
- Think about how you will pay your mortgage and other costs during ‘void periods’ when your property is empty and you do not receive any rental income.
- Protect the value of your property by keeping it well maintained and, for a leasehold property, meeting valid requests from the freeholder and/or the managing agent.
- Make sure you have appropriate buildings insurance in place, from the day your mortgage completes and throughout the mortgage term.
You can find more information on the following websites:
Finding good tenants isn’t something you should take lightly; after all they will be living in and essentially looking after your property.
Setting your price
Make sure you have researched the rental market in your area so you can set a realistic rental price for the size and location of your property. You can look online and in local newspapers to get an idea of what other people charge.
You should make sure you get a deposit and confirm the tenants can pay this upfront. Typically this will be at least one month's rent (some landlords insist on more) to safeguard yourself against any damages, or if the tenants move out unexpectedly you have money available to make your mortgage payments. Landlords are no longer entitled to hold tenants' deposits; they are now held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme so you will need to set this up and provide the tenant with details of it within 14 days of taking their deposit.
In addition to the points referenced in the 'choosing your property' section, paying attention to the details of the interior of your property will go a long way when it comes to attracting tenants. No matter how buoyant the rental market becomes, you should always make sure your property is in the best possible condition so you can attract quality tenants.
If you already have tenants in whilst prospective tenants are viewing your property, make sure they clean and tidy up, and ask for all of the furniture to be in the original position.
Handy tip: Decorate with neutral colours so that this will work with whatever colour scheme your potential tenants may already have, (e.g. their bedding, ornaments etc). Also, flowers and scented candles are a nice touch to make the place smell fresh and homely.
It’s important to get personal and professional references, to make sure you're comfortable with your new tenants. You may even want to think about running a credit check to make sure they will be able to make their rental payments, as well as to verify they are who they say they are. The National Landlords Association offers a tenant check that includes bankruptcy and county court judgement searches.
Should I use a letting agent?
If you're busy and worried about the time it may take to find and vet tenants then you may wish to consider help from a letting agent. They will usually charge a fee as a percentage of the tenant’s total rent. Typically they’ll provide all or some of the following:
- find and fully vet prospective tenants
- draw up a suitable tenancy agreement
- advise on and arrange inventory and condition reports
- help with changes to utility accounts and council tax
- carry out a market appraisal to assess the rent the property will fetch
- collect rent and pay the money to you
If you do decide to use a letting agent, it’s still worth meeting the tenants yourself to make sure you're happy and have established contact from the start.
We offer buy-to-let (BTL) loans, including consumer buy-to-let (CBTL), for properties that are occupied under a rental agreement and where there is no intention for the borrower or their family member to live in the property.
Introduced by the Mortgage Credit Directive and expected to impact a small proportion of existing buy-to-let customers by offering some additional consumer protections, such as the Financial Ombudsman Scheme, depending on the customer’s individual circumstances.
At Virgin Money, our entire buy-to-let mortgage product range is available to consumer-buy-to-let customers. The standard buy-to-let lending criteria will also apply.
We will determine during the loan application process whether the loan is buy-to-let or consumer buy-to-let.
If you have any questions please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.