Top property letting tips for expats

by Ray Clancy on June 28, 2011

Brits given tips in property letting

British expats are being reminded that letting their property when they are abroad it is best to follow certain rules to make sure their home is in good hands.

’Many people who work or retire to another country choose to let their UK property to tenants. This is a smart move for many reasons, but as ever it is important to ensure that everything is done correctly. The last thing a family needs before or shortly after an international move is more stress,’ said Ian Potter, operations manager at the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).

‘Using a professional letting agent and following our advice above should make sure anyone about to embark on a new life overseas can be safe in the knowledge that their UK property is in good hands,’ he added.

ARLA has drawn up a set of top tips for anyone planning on letting their home while they move abroad. It points out that it can take time to let out a property so make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything in place before moving abroad.

It recommends beginning the process at least six months before you are due to leave for your new home. That should give you plenty of time to sort everything out, without putting you and your family under undue stress while you are abroad.

ARLA says to keep standards high. ‘Decorate, fit out and furnish to high quality standards, especially kitchens and bathrooms. This will help you to attract the best tenants and let quickly every time. Letting your house furnished while you move may also save you money by removing storage or shipping costs that would otherwise be necessary, do your sums,’ it adds.

It also recommends using a professional. ‘There are many reasons why you should consider using letting your property through a professional agent. They can assist with finding a suitable tenant and can manage the property in your absence. Even if you are an experience landlord, it can be more difficult to respond to your tenants’ needs while you are on the other side of an ocean,’ it says.

‘Not all agents are the same though. Licensed ARLA members are regulated, meaning you have access to Client Money Protection and a redress scheme, as well as the latest best practice advice,’ it adds.

In addition, you need to make sure your bank and insurers know what you are doing. ‘Your mortgage lender will need to know that you are letting out your home and this could have implications for your mortgage. Speak to a mortgage advisor before contacting your lender, to ensure that you are aware of what to expect,’ says ARLA.

‘Likewise you will need to let your insurers know that someone else will be living in your home, otherwise you could find that you aren’t covered if something happens to your building or personal contents,’ it adds.

Finally, ARLA points out that even if you are working and earning in a new country, you will still need to pay tax on earnings made on a UK property, and you will be required to complete a Non Resident Landlord form.

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