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Parent Landlords - A Good Option

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As ever there are pros and cons. Let's take a look at some of the major points you should take into account.

Background

According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the buy to let market is a "major industry in its own right", with 90% of students living in rented accomodation.

Property inflation, according to the Halifax, has been 88% in university towns compared to 83% generaly.

In addition, rental income varies between different universities and, for example, the distance of the property from the university, but circa 200-240 per month can be expected per room.

These factors have tempted many parents to explore the opportunity presented by student buy to let.

How To Purchase

There are hundreds of buy to let mortgages available at any one time. However, you need to make sure that you use a specialist lender who are aware of this type of loan's requirements.

Ideally the student should purchase the property, with the parent acting as guarantor (if you are happy with an 18 year old owning it).

This means that:

- the eventual sale will be exempt from Capital Gains Tax as the property is viewed as being the student's principal residence

- letting income from other students in the property should cover the mortgage cost

- check your tax position in relation to the available "rent a room relief" of 4,250 each year, together with the students own personal tax allowance of 5,035 per annum. This means it is possible for the first 9,285 per annum of rental income to be free of tax (if the student is not earning)

You can check the Government's own website for more details:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/pimmanual/PIM4001.htm

- lastly, you will typically require a 15-25% deposit

Type Of Property

- a typical house is a 3 bed semi with 2 receptions, with one of these to be used as a bedroom

- make sure that each bedroom is at least 70sq.ft, as students like to study in their own rooms

- central heating is essential

- conventionaly designed/constructed is usually best

- no more than 2 miles from the university

- good parking and security

- simple to maintain garden

- good general location re transport/amenities

- ideally, fill the rooms with your child's friends

- think of the implications of the property once your child has left university

Of course many buyers will have the same thoughts as you, and good properties will not be available on the cheap so you should expect competition.

Also beware oversupply, particularly with regard to housing associations building new student accommodation blocks.

Prepare to become an expert on the area you are considering.

Visit http://www.landlords.org.uk for more tips and ideas

Other Tips

- ensure furnishings and decoration are in good order

- provide a good sized kitchen with a big fridge freezer,a good shower and of course broadband/T.V.

- get a good tenancy agreement and use a solicitor

- be up to date with the "Housing Act Regulations" and all safety issues such as gas, electricity and furniture

- be aware of the costs including repairs and wear and tear

- shop around for insurance for buildings, contents you own and public liability (there are specialist companies for these) - check that there will be no council tax as this is the only residence for the students (they should be exempt)

- remember that there may be times when a student doesn't pay and occasions when there are gaps in tenancy

- when students are not in residence re holidays, some landlords charge 1/2 rent

- if you decide to use an agency to look after the property and collect the rent (you don't want to be up fixing a boiler at 3 in the morning), ask them for references in advance

The above is by no means an exhaustive look at student buy to let, and if you are going to leap - think, and think again.

Other Useful Websites

www.assertahome.co.uk
www.rightmove.co.uk
www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk/pdfs/ir87.htm

The Financial Tips Bottom Line:

Do your research and homework and remember to see this as a long term investment: there's no reason why you can't continue to rent the property once your son or daughter has left university.

Happy investing!


About the Author

Ray Prince is an Independent Financial Planner with Rutherford Wilkinson plc, and helps UK Resident Doctors and Dentists get the best deals on mortgages, protection and investments, as well as helping them achieve their financial objectives. Click here for Financial Advice for UK Doctors and Dentists and to get your free retirement guide, How To Avoid The 7 Most Common Retirement Planning Mistakes. Rutherford Wilkinson plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.


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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-11-19 22:24:17 in Tax Articles

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