This week’s Property Hour featured our special guest Jane King, of Ashridge Private Finance and, as usual, was run by the awesome Clive Bull, thanks to support from Direct Line Landlord Insurance.
We answered lots of questions on this show and I’ve featured the Q&As below and given you some additional links to help you if you find yourself in the same boat.
Q – I'm moving back to the UK after 13 years and looking to rent. I'm a bit worried because I won't have any UK based references for agents and that if I go private I will be exposed to a subletting scam.
A – Nowadays you have a load of protection if you work with the good guys in the lettings industry. One option is to pay the rent for first 6 months up front, another is to use a UK based guarantor that can vouch for you financially. To make sure you rent a legally and safely let property, only use an ARLA, NALS or RICS agent as in the first instance coming home I wouldn’t rent directly from a landlord unless they were members of a local authority accreditation scheme or the RLA or NLA.
Here are few things to help:
Q – My husband can get a mortgage in his own name but I don't work, can we both be named on the deeds? If not, what can we do?
A – Yes, you can. Most lenders insist on it if it you are married, affordability will determine which lender you choose to go with, however you need to make sure you have an agreement of what will happen if you split and who will own what.
If the worst does happen and you do split, visit resolution.org.uk.
Q – How do I evict a family member? There is no contract and they have been living in my property rent free as an act of charity. I didn't take a deposit but they pay their own bills.
A - My only advice is to go to an eviction specialist and they will need a comprehensive history. You need to sort out the legals properly. Generally speaking you should follow rules even if renting to a family member.
Evicting a tenant? Read our how to evict a tenant checklist from Landlord Action.
Q – My girlfriend and I are looking to buy a property up north with Help to Buy and then let it out – can we do that?
A – No you can’t unless you have paid off the Help to Buy loan. The scheme isn't there to drive investment purchases, it is to help people get on the ladder who would struggle otherwise.
For more the Help to Buy scheme, read:
Q – What do landlords need to know about tax?
A - Head of Direct Line for Business Nick Breton explains how landlords' are taxed, the future tax legislation coming their way, and whether a buy-to-let investment is still worthwhile.
Confused about buy to let taxes? Read our buy to let tax checklist.
Q – I've been renting out a property for the last couple of years using a very reputable letting agent. I was charged an initial tenant finders free and to get them in property, the tenant is fine. I've been looking at the market and I think the fee I was charged was too much. I want to change to a competitor but my current agent said I have to pay a month's rent to keep the tenant and change agent, this seems unfair.
A – Check your contract with the letting agent, if that is in terms and conditions you will have to pay. When finding a new agent make sure they are NALS, RICS or ARLA registered, don't just get any cheap agent. Then consider negotiating with the NEW agent to take into account the costs you will have to pay shifting agents as they may help you to do this and limit the costs.
Looking for a letting agent? Read our how to choose a letting agent checklist from Belvoir.
Q – I'm a self-employed worker and want to buy a property with my Daughter, 20, to buy-to-let for her and friends to live in whilst at University, is this OK?
A – Being self-employed doesn't matter as long as you can afford to buy the property, you will need a basic minimum income for most lenders. As for your daughter not all lenders will allow you to have a buy to let mortgage if you are renting to a family member and others won’t allow you to have someone under 21 on the mortgage.
Unsure of your buy to let finance? Read our financing a buy to let checklist from Coreco.
Q – I believe I was illegally evicted in May 2016, can I get financial recompense from the landlord?
A – The best organisations to help you under these circumstances are Shelter and Crisis and they will do it for free. Crisis may even help you into new accommodation.
You can contact the two organisations here:
Q – I want to give my brother money for a deposit to buy a flat, what do I need to give the lender as proof?
A – It depends on the lender, some will have a pre-formed gifted deposit letter, others will want to see a bank deposit as well. Some will want proof that the money has always been in the UK and some will even do a bankruptcy check on you.
Basically the best way forward is to speak to a mortgage broker that is experienced in gifted deposits so that they know the paperwork you need to do.
We work with lots of mortgage brokers, you can get in touch with them here: