Property Investment Advice in Leeds
Buy to let & renting out your own home in Leeds
Buy-to-let investments in Leeds 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 landlords with portfolios of varying sizes across Leeds and we 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 and have good links with local Leeds estate agents and access to private vendors.
As well as those choosing to hang onto their old home for investment reasons, in recent years we have seen an increasing number of “accidental landlords;” people choosing to rent out their own properties which estate agents have struggled to sell, or wishing to retain their own home as they have moved in with a partner. If you’re wishing to rent out your own home in Leeds, 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. that your new tenants will require.
Getting your property ready for the market in Leeds
There are plenty of estate agents and letting agents in Leeds for your prospective tenants (and you!) to choose from. We have a reputation at Sugarhouse as an established letting agent in Leeds and for having great properties and providing exceptional service to our tenants. These are two of the main reasons why we get so many enquiries from prospective tenants. Tenants that also often worry about the security of renting directly from a private landlord in Leeds have the re-assurance of our busy office, 24 hour services and affiliations to various regulatory bodies which may give them more peace of mind than renting directly from you as a landlord.
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 which an experienced estate agent or letting agent like ourselves can help you with. Whilst the lettings market is generally pretty buoyant for rentals in Leeds, there are always lots of properties available for prospective tenants to rent so make sure yours is going to stand out! Beware Magnolia fatigue!
Checklist prior to renting your property in Leeds
If you are already a private landlord in Leeds then hopefully you will already be familiar with much of the following, although it’s always useful to have a quick recap;
- 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 and energy performance certificate?
- Does any furniture supplied meet legal requirements?
- If the property is being rented to five or more unrelated people, do you have an HMO license?
- Have you taken meter readings and, where applicable, redirected any personal mail?
- Have you done a basic risk assessment?
HMO properties & HMO licensing in Leeds
Any property that has five or more unrelated occupiers is likely to require a council issued license to run a larger House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). These HMO Licenses in Leeds place various conditions on the landlord, managing / letting agent and property in terms of amenities, safety requirements and property 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 HMO Licence itself will also need to be renewed every five years by Leeds Council.
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 in Leeds
A relatively new planning restriction, Article 4, came into effect in Leeds 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 in Leeds can no longer rent to three or more unrelated tenants without permission from planners where the property falls under a restricted area.
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 in Leeds 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 in Leeds is in constant review so we always advise all Leeds landlords in 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 bill, although there have been a number of recent changes as landlords 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 have recently changed with tax benefits now being reduced
- Repairs and maintenance on your property
- Letting agency fees
- Furniture and furnishings
- Capital allowances
- Travelling costs
- Legal and professional fees
- Safety inspections
- Sundries including advertising, telephone calls etc
The above is just a summary of some of the key considerations when renting out a property in Leeds; there are many others but above all local knowledge is key. Our lettings team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have, whether you are a new landlord in Leeds looking to embark on your property journey, or an existing landlord who needs some help and advice.