Buy To Let Conveyancing
Buy to let properties have become increasingly popular investments over the past 20/30 years. Buying a property to let is exactly what it sounds like: a residential property is purchased with the intention to rent it out for profit. When you buy a property to let, you become a landlord. This guide is designed help you make the right choices when searching for Buy to let conveyancing.
Buy to let conveyancing: What’s Different?
In many ways, the conveyancing process is the same for buy-to-let and residential properties. The same steps must be taken in each case. However, buy to let conveyancing transactions tend to be more complex than residential conveyances, due to some of the steps requiring more due of a detailed examination. Below are listed some of the main areas where these transaction differ from the norm.
The title deeds to many properties contain restrictive covenants that limit the use that the property can be put to. It is essential your conveyancer researches this in depth before you embark upon a purchase. There is a possibility it may state in the deeds that changes cannot be made to the property without the permission of the original developer or even that the property cannot be rented out. This may prevent a potential buyer from adapting a property to make it more appealing to tenants. An outright ban on renting the property would obviously be a major problem for a buy to let investment, though many such covenants are archaic and often can be overturned. However, this is a complicated process and will require extra work on the part of your solicitor.
If you are buying a tenanted property, you need to ensure that you know what type of tenancy the occupier holds. Most will be the fairly standard Assured Shorthold Tenancy if the annual rent is below £100,000. Advice should be sought on any other type of tenancy in case you might have difficulty in recovering possession or getting the tenant to pay market rent.
You will have heard of mortgage companies offering buy-to-let mortgages. These mortgage offers are usually quite complex containing many more stipulations than a regular residential mortgage offer. A deposit of up to 40% is often also required.
Whether or not you require a mortgage, a proper building survey is always recommended. If the Surveyor knows you will be letting the property then he or she can advise on any matters which might be relevant. Having your own building survey carried out is well worth the small extra expense, especially if it reveals unexpected defects in the property.
You must have the electrical system and any gas installation checked by qualified engineers to ensure that they met statutory requirements when letting the property.
Bear in mind that until any necessary work has been completed and appropriate safety certificates issued, you will be unable to let the property and therefore won’t receive any rental income./p<>
Notice to Tenants
On selling a buy-to-let property that is tenanted, adequate notice must be given to tenants before exchange and completion can take place. Most landlords want to keep the property tenanted as long as possible, in order to keep making mortgage payments using the rental income. Tenants must be allowed to remain in a property up until the end of any contracted period. After this, they will usually require one month’s notice to move. This must always be taken into consideration as it can delay exchange or completion and can sometimes lead to difficulties in the chain. It is essential to instruct a conveyancing solicitor with experience to ensure these difficulties are minimised through good management.
Any deposit paid by the tenant to the landlord must have been protected using one of the authorised tenancy deposit schemes. If it is not, the landlord could be ordered by a court to pay the tenant a sum equal to three times the amount of the deposit.
The seller will not have the same familiarity with the property in the same way as if she had lived in it. The landlord’s repairing obligations are governed by the terms of the tenancy. Other terms may be implied to ensure that the premises are kept in a tenantable condition. This means the property is sold with limited title guarantee. Again, this can be an issue, so an experienced solicitor is essential.
Capital Gains Tax
On selling a property that has been used to make an income, the owner will be charged capital gains tax. The arrangements for paying this tax can be made by your buy to let conveyancing solicitor.