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Top tips for letting a property when moving abroad

24th June 2011 Print

As the latest downpour reminds us just what we can expect from the British summer, it's little wonder thousands of people each year decide to move to sunnier climes.

For many that raises questions about what to with their homes in the UK - often it's comforting to retain a base in the homeland, especially if the move abroad is likely to be temporary.

Ian Potter, Operations Manager at the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), said: "Many people who work or retire to another country choose to let their UK property to tenants.

"This is a smart move for many reasons, but as ever it is important to ensure that everything is done correctly. The last thing a family needs before or shortly after an international move is more stress!

"Using a professional letting agent and following our advice above should make sure anyone about to embark on a new life overseas can be safe in the knowledge that their UK property is in good hands."

ARLA has these top tips for anyone planning on letting their home while they move abroad.

1. Consider timings carefully
It can take time to let out a property so make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything in place before you head for warmer shores. Begin the process at least six months before you are due to leave for your new home. That should give you plenty of time to sort everything out, without putting you and your family under undue stress while you're abroad.

2. Keep your standards high
Decorate, fit out and furnish to high quality standards, especially kitchens and bathrooms. This will help you to attract the best tenants and let quickly every time.

Letting your house furnished while you move may also save you money by removing storage or shipping costs that would otherwise be necessary - do your sums!

3. Use a professional
There are many reasons why you should consider using letting your property through a professional agent. They can assist with finding a suitable tenant and can manage the property in your absence - remember that, even if you're an experience landlord, it can be more difficult to respond to your tenants' needs while you're on the other side of an ocean!

Not all agents are the same though - licensed ARLA members are regulated, meaning you have access to Client Money Protection and a redress scheme, as well as the latest best practice advice."

4. Make sure your bank and insurers know what you're doing
Your mortgage lender will need to know that you are letting out your home, and this could have implications for your mortgage. Speak to a mortgage advisor before contacting your lender, to ensure that you're aware of what to expect.

Likewise you will need to let your insurers know that someone else will be living in your home, otherwise you could find that you aren't covered if something happens to your building or personal contents.

5. Pay your taxes!
Even if you are working and earning in a new country, you'll still need to pay tax on earnings made on a UK property, and you will be required to complete a Non-Resident Landlord form.