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United Kingdom (UK) - Property Letting

Letting a property instead of buying might be better suited to a person’s needs, depending on their job and expected duration as an expat in the United Kingdom. There is a process to letting a property just as there is in buying a house or flat. You also have the option of becoming a property manager if you own a property.

Letting from a Property Manager

Anytime you are going to pay rent, you are letting property. This property can be a home, flat, or portion of a home. You often have a choice between furnished or unfurnished homes. For expats a furnished apartment may be ideal as it means it is not necessary to buy household items.

The letting process is as follows:

1. Find a location that suits your needs.

2. Make an enquiry to see the inside of the property and discuss rates.

3. Rates for letting a property differ from area to area in the United Kingdom. London and other larger cities often charge more for a property in the heart of the city compared with places on the outskirts. Rates are also determined by considerations like pets, furnishings, and property type.

4. An application is submitted to the landlord or property manager once you find a location and rate that is suitable for you.

5. The landlord will look at your income to determine the amount of deposit required and whether you qualify to rent the property. Landlords prefer renters to be earning two or three times the rental amount to ensure that no issues arise. In some cases the application may be denied or the landlord may ask for a guarantor. A guarantor must then cosign the lease and be responsible if the rent is not paid.

6. Your landlord must provide you with a contract outlining the rights and responsibilities of both parties as stipulated under UK tenancy laws. It must state who is responsible for repairs, maintenance and cleaning of the property. Typically the landlord is responsible for maintenance and repairs inside and out, however a renter must keep the property at the standard they rented it at or lose their deposit for any damages that may have been caused.

7. The landlord must take the deposit and put it in a deposit scheme account. These accounts keep the deposit safe until the lease is up and the tenant moves out. The landlord should be able to produce a certificate to prove that the deposit has been securely placed in the deposit scheme account.

8. The landlord has the right to end a tenancy agreement with notice. You also have the right to end the agreement with sufficient notice, such as 30 or 60 days prior to your lease ending (this will vary depending on the type of security of tenure you hold). Landlords also have to give you a chance to renew your lease should you wish to continue letting the same property.

9. If rent arrears occur, the landlord can start court proceedings against the tenant to claim their missing portion of the rent.

It is possible to search for available properties online, in newspapers, or via a letting agent or property manager. You can ask to see the tenancy agreement before you sign it to make certain you agree with the rights of both you and the landlord.

Letting a Property You Own

If you own property in the United Kingdom and wish to rent it to other parties, you can do so. You will need to check with your local council to determine whether a licence is required for letting property. In England or Wales you can obtain a special licence to rent a property with multiple people living in the same house. For example, if you let it as a boarding house with 5 or more people that create more than one household you need an HMO license. A building that is rented that has three or more storeys will also require you to have such a license. This license is valid for five years.

You will need to approach your local council to get an application for the appropriate letting license. If you are the person renting the property, you can speak with your local council in order to check that your letting agent or property manager has a proper and valid license.

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