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Property Investment in Leeds

Key in the shape of a house

Renting property, particularly for the first time, can be tricky and you need to make sure that not only is the property correctly presented for the rental market, but that all the legal and legislative requirements have been met. Don't worry though, we're here to help!

Buy to Let & Renting Out Your Own Home

Buy to let investments have become very popular in recent years and, with the right property, can offer great rewards for their owners. We look after many buy-to let clients with portfolios of varying sizes and can also help assist with the property selection and buying process. Property investment should ideally be viewed as a medium to long term investment rather than a quick fix. We are happy to offer advice to landlords who are looking to buy property for this purpose via good links with local estate agents and access to private vendors. We also work with a number of mortgage brokers who can help you find the best market rates and walk you through what has recently become a much more complicated process.

As well as those choosing to hang onto their old home for investment reasons, we are now seeing an increasing number of “accidental landlords;” people choosing to rent out their own properties which they have struggled to sell. If you're wishing to rent out your own home, then you need to make sure that any mortgage on the property allows this in order to avoid any nasty surprises down the line. We can also give you some advice on any minor alterations and works required prior to renting as well as advising on what furniture etc. the new tenants will require.

Getting Your Property Ready For The Market; Make It A Sugarhouse!

We have a reputation for having great properties and providing great service to our tenants. These are two of the main reasons why we get so many enquiries from prospective tenants. We strongly urge you, in the interests of preserving a lower-risk investment and attracting a better calibre of tenant, to go that extra mile when getting your property ready to market. Whilst the lettings market is generally pretty buoyant for rentals, there are always lots of properties available for prospective tenants to rent so make sure yours is going to stand out!

Checklist Prior to Renting

  • Is the property clean, well presented, in a good state of repair, well decorated and, if required, adequately furnished?
  • Try and keep the property looking bright, modern and neutral. Saying that, a bit of flair can often help; magnolia overload may not necessarily separate your property from the competition. For some design advice we're only a phone call away
  • Have you arranged a suitable mortgage on the property or advised your current mortgage provider that the property is to be rented?
  • Do you have adequate landlord insurance?
  • Do you have a gas certificate, electrical certificate (or confirmation that the electrics are safe) and energy performance certificate?
  • Does any furniture supplied meet legal requirements?
  • If the property is being rented to five or more people living on three or more levels do you have a HMO license?
  • Have you taken meter readings and, where applicable, redirected any personal mail?
  • Have you done a basic risk assessment?

HMO Properties & Licensing

Any property that has five or more occupiers living on three or more stories is likely to require a council issued license to run a larger House of Multiple Occupation. These HMO Licenses place various conditions on the owner, managing agent and property in terms of amenities, safety requirements and management. If you are buying a property that is currently of this specification then you should ensure that you receive a copy of the current HMO licence prior to exchange of contracts. This copy should include all of the pages of the original document including the 'Schedule of Works' which details any improvements that should have been carried out to make the property compliant. Licensable HMO properties will require more investment due to the requirements of HMO licensing as well as the additional wear and tear caused by multiple occupiers. The Licence itself will also need to be renewed every five years.

You can visit the Leeds City Council website for more details on HMO Licencing:www.leeds.gov.uk/Business/Pages/Find-out-about-Houses-in-Multiple-Occupation-Licensing.aspx

Article 4

A new planning restriction, Article 4, has recently come into effect in an attempt to curb the spread of House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) properties in certain areas. The result of this is that, where a property has previously accommodated a family or less than three unrelated sharers, a landlord can no longer rent to three or more unrelated tenants without permission from planners.

This direction - under Article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, as amended - essentially takes away a property owner's permitted development rights in England in relation to the number of unrelated occupants. It is then up to the Planning authorities as to whether consent for this change of use is given.

If the property already exists as an HMO and the use of the property is therefore not changing, then notification to planning should not be required.

The legislation in regards to Article 4 is in constant review so we always advise taking advice prior to purchase. We would therefore strongly advise that you consult the Leeds city council planning department before exchanging contracts on any such property. They can be contacted via their website: www.leeds.gov.uk/council/Pages/Planning.aspx

For further details on some of the other legal issues surrounding the renting of your property please visit our Rules and Regs section.

The Financial Stuff; What Are My Tax Implications and Savings As A Landlord?

There are quite a few tax perks to being a landlord and a number of items that can be deducted from your tax bills, although there have a been a number of recent changes as landlord’s have come into the Treasury’s firing line with some benefits now being vastly reduced. The following is a brief (but not exhaustive) guide of costs that you may be able to claim against your rental income;

  • Interest Charges (on mortgages and loan payments to purchase or improve the property); please note these are however changing, with tax benefits now being reduced. Contact us for details
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Agency fees
  • Furniture and furnishings
  • Capital allowances
  • Travelling costs
  • Legal and professional fees
  • Gardening
  • Safety inspections
  • Sundries including advertising, telephone calls etc
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Northern Lettings Agency of the Year 2014 - The Times

Testimonials

  • The best marketing and customer service in the North Leeds student and professional market bar none!

  • They have just organised my third full refurbishment for me and they all look fantastic. I haven't lost a day's rent since they took over

  • They've got fantastic prices and friendly staff

  • Great value properties

  • Friendly, professional service that offers great advice and sees you through from start to finish of the process of letting a house. Always available for any queries that you have and have a very quick response to let any problems that we have had in the house. Feel like we're treated like adults, not students and that they really value our custom.

  • They were very professional and helpful and did their utmost to provide great customer service and find us the exact property we were looking for that satisfied as many requirements as possible. The staff are very welcoming and friendly and were easy to approach with any concerns, requests or questions.

  • Brill company, extremely professional yet friendly and always happy to help! Great to chat to for advice, over all the best in Leeds!

  • They're simpy the best and super efficient!!

  • In a highly competitive category, this agency should be delighted with itself; the judges were extremely pleased to rewards its efforts with the gold. With a focus on students and young professionals the attitude and communication is well tailored to this audience. The team has an established presence across the social media platforms and uses social networking sites extremely well. The website is very good indeed and has a number of features expected by the young and tech savvy target audience. The directors value their staff and there is a very good mentoring scheme in place to develop negotiators into senior staff. As can be expected in student sharing tenancies, they are well versed in dispute resolution and manage to remedy any issues without legal recourse, so all parties come away happy with the results.

  • You've taken a hugh worry from my mind. Thank you so much for all your helpand advice. My tenants have also been really pleased with you which is really nice. Everything was really straightforward and the tenants have been great.

  • Sugarhouse Properties are always helpful when we have any problems with the house and always fix it immediately. They are constantly polite and friendly when we are in contact with them.

  • Many thanks for all your hard work; your administration is excellent and you communicated well with us throughout

  • We had our house on with XXXX for 4 months with no success and no feedback. Sugarhouse advised me to organise some minor improvements and had the house rented within a week!

  • Such friendly and helpful people! All staff are easy to talk to and are open to questions no matter how many! Definitely recommend to anyone looking for a house!

  • I have recently organised a house for next year with Sugarhouse and everything went as quick and easy as possible. The team are a great example to all other letting agencies, with their professionalism and commitment. They also make your house-viewing fun, which is very important

  • When we were looking for a house they were so helpful in trying to find what we wanted. Whenever we had problems at the house they are always very quick at responding and fixing the problem. We are very happy with the service they have provide and if we were not in our third year we would definately use them again

  • Great houses with really good facilities. Always reply straightaway and send someone round within the next 2 days. Staff are so friendly!