There are a number of reasons why renting out your old home can be an attractive idea, including as a way of generating a retirement income if you are downsizing, or if you move in with a partner who already owns their own home. However, to avoid any legal issues, there are a number of steps you need to take before you can rent out your old home.
Informing your mortgage lender
If you have a mortgage for your old home, you will need to let your lender know before renting it out. Some may be happy for you to do so while keeping the same mortgage, but many will want you to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage. This type of mortgage will tend to have specific conditions, such as requiring you to have a rental income in excess of the minimum mortgage payments.
Getting consent to let (if the property is leasehold)
If your old home is a leasehold, you will need to inform the freeholder and get their ‘consent to let’ in writing. Depending on the terms of your lease, your freeholder may be able to refuse you permission to let.
Updating your insurance
You will need to notify your buildings and contents insurance providers and update your policies to ones designed for landlords. Even if you intend to let the property unfurnished, you will still likely need contents insurance to cover fixed furnishings, such as carpets and any fixtures and fittings that are not covered under your buildings insurance.
There are also various other types of insurance for landlords that may be worth considering.
Health and safety checks
As a landlord, you have a legal obligation to provide a safe place to live for your tenants. There are several safety checks you need to carry out, including having an annual Gas Safety check for any gas appliances, as well as ensuring that all furnishings comply with fire regulations and that all electrical appliances left in the property are certified to be in safe working order.
There are also various fire safety rules you will need to comply with, including providing working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. You may also need to fit fire doors and fire extinguishers, and ensure there are suitable escape routes, depending on the type of property.
Creating a tenancy agreement
While you can find templates for tenancy agreements online, these will be generic and may not take account of everything you need. It is strongly recommended to speak to a solicitor experienced in landlord-tenant issues to ensure that the tenancy agreement you use complies with all current UK laws and provides all the protections you require for your specific property and situation.
Get expert legal support for renting out your old home
Bird & Co Solicitors is a long-established law firm offering conveyancing services for properties across England and Wales from our 3 East Midlands offices. Our highly experienced residential property team can make the process of becoming a landlord and dealing with any landlord-tenant issues as easy as possible.
We are accredited by the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme, meaning you can be sure that we operate to the highest possible standards and can provide fast, efficient and cost-effective conveyancing for any type of property transaction.
To find out more about our legal services for landlords, call us today on 01476 591711 or use our contact page to find details of your nearest Bird & Co office.