There are strangers living in my home. They’ve been there for two months now* and I still feel rather weird about it. Thing is, when you decide to leave your job and move to another country you have to find a new way to pay the mortgage. So, I’m a landlord now.
I’m doing everything through the letting agent so I don’t have any direct contact with the tenants but, thanks to the reference check, I know a surprising amount about them. For example, I know that they are a couple living together for the first time. And so it is that I find myself rooting for the ongoing success of a relationship between two strangers so that I don’t lose my rental income. My girlfriend of six years and I only lasted seven months after moving into that flat but I’m confident that these guys can stay the course.
Anyway, if you thinking about renting out your place, here are some things I wish someone had told me:
- If you are leaseholder, you need to get permission from the freeholder in order to ‘sub-let’ your property. I did not realise this until very late in the game and had an incredibly anxious three-week wait for the housing company to give their approval.
- You also need to tell the mortgage company. And if you’re lucky, they’ll say they need to put an extra 1.5% interest on your mortgage during the letting period. Just for fun.
- The energy performance certificate you got when you bought your property is actually important. If you can’t find it after spending a day looking at every single piece of paper in your possession, you will have to pay £50 for a new one.
- If you opt to clean the property yourself rather than paying a professional, be prepared for how long it will take, especially if the oven, windows, under furniture, on top of furniture, etc, haven’t been cleaned in the three years that you’ve lived there. I recommend inviting your mother to help.
- You own more stuff than you think. You should probably hire a van.
* I wonder if they’ve realised that Upstairs Neighbour is a huge Everton fan yet. It’ s pretty obvious if he sings his song** but the more impressive route is to notice that you only ever hear him crashing around when a win has raised his spirits.
** “Everton, Everton, Everton, Ev-er-ton.” Classic.