Buy To Let

Purchasing a property as a long term investment or coming to the end of an existing deal, or even adding additional properties to your portfolio. It is therefore important that you know what your choices are and what is available to you.

smoke alarmSmoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to become the law

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties, under new measures announced by housing minister Brandon Lewis.

The government says the move will help prevent up to 36 deaths and 1,375 injuries a year.

This measure is expected to take effect from October 2015, and comes with strong support after a consultation on property condition in the private rented sector.

England’s 46 fire and rescue authorities are expected to support private landlords in their own areas to meet their new responsibilities with the provision of free smoke alarms, with grant funding from government.

Lewis said: “In 1988 just 8% of homes had a smoke alarms installed – now it’s over 90%.

“The vast majority of landlords offer a good service and have installed smoke alarms in their homes, but I’m changing the law to ensure every tenant can be given this important protection.

“But with working smoke alarms providing the vital seconds needed to escape a fire, I urge all tenants to make sure they regularly test their alarms to ensure they work when it counts. Testing regularly remains the tenant’s responsibility.”

The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

Those who fail to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms would face sanctions and could face up to a £5,000 civil penalty.

Alan Ward, chairman of the Residential Landlords Association said: “This is a policy that we campaigned hard for, and was a key part of the RLA’s manifesto for the private rented sector.

“Proposals for funding to provide free smoke alarms to landlords are particularly welcome and I look forward to seeing the details of this.”

HMRCHMRC targets landlords over unpaid tax

HM Revenue and Customs is giving landlords who have not declared all of their rental income to the taxman a chance to come forward and ‘put their tax affairs in order’.


HMRC has estimated that up to 1.5 million residential property landlords may be underpaying up to £500m in UK tax every year.

Under HMRC’s new Let Property Campaign, landlords who may owe tax – whether through misunderstanding the rules or deliberate evasion – can come forward and tell HMRC about any unpaid tax on rents, and pay what they owe, including any penalties and interest due.

The campaign is open to all residential property landlords – from those that have multiple properties, to single rentals, and from specialist landlords such as student or workforce rentals, to holiday lettings.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC Campaigns, said: “All rent from letting out a residential property or holiday home has to be declared for income tax purposes. Telling us is simple and straightforward.

“We appreciate some people will have made honest mistakes, and some may not be fully aware that the rent from a property is taxable, and that is why it always makes sense to talk to us so we can help. It is always cheaper to come forward voluntarily and pay the tax you owe, rather than wait for HMRC to come calling.

“Telling HMRC about your tax liabilities is simple and straightforward, and help, advice and support are available. The message for all landlords owing tax is simple – it is better to come to us before we come to you.”

HMRC will use information it holds about property rental in the UK and abroad, along with information already held on HMRC‘s digital intelligence system Connect, to identify people who have not paid what they owe. For those that fail to come forward, higher penalties – or even criminal prosecution – could follow.

HMRC also said it will be working with a variety of bodies over the next few months to develop tools and guidance to support landlords of all types and help them get their affairs up to date.

For more details, visit HMRC’s website.

More help is available for landlords by calling HMRC’s Let Property Campaign Hotline on 03000 514 479, between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday


HMRCHMRC to target buy-to-let tax evaders

Buy-to-let investors who fail to declare their income are likely to be a key target of HM Revenue and Customs’ investigations, a top law firm has warned.

 A study by Pinsent Masons found there were 617 tax evasion prosecutions in 2012-13 – double that of the previous year.

Pinsent Masons partner Jason Collins said HMRC increasingly focused on smaller tax evaders in order to meet its target: “Many people see buy-to-let as a substitute for a pension. It may produce similar financial results but they need to remember they can still incur significant tax liabilities.

“For new, part-time landlords who put their buy-to-let properties to the back of their mind to focus on their day job while the money rolls in, it can be quite easy to get caught out.”

Doctors, dentists, lawyers, construction contractors and restaurant owners as well as landlords were likely to come under fire, he suggested.

In 2010, the government provided HMRC with an additional £917m to tackle tax avoidance and tax evasion, and later topped up funds to more than £1bn. HMRC beat its target of 565 prosecutions this year, despite failing to meet a much smaller target the previous year.

HMRCThe HMRC property sales campaign has recently been launched to encourage taxpayers who have not already done so to tell them about the sale of, or disposal of, properties that are not their main homes either in the UK or abroad, and have failed to declare any profits on which Capital Gains Tax should be paid.


Taxpayers have until the 9th August 2013 to tell HMRC they may have unpaid tax and until the 6th September to calculate their liability and pay what they owe. After the 6th September, as quoted on their own website “HMRC will use the information it holds to target those who should have made a disclosure under this campaign and failed to do so.”

HMRC have said that by coming forward voluntarily taxpayers are likely to receive better terms than if HMRC comes to them first.

You DO need to consider this if you have: –

Sold, or disposed of, second or additional residential properties either in the UK or abroad. These could include a holiday home or a property that you rented out.

Sold your main residence. This would normally qualify for Private Residence Relief but in some circumstances the relief is restricted.

Where the entitlement to this relief is restricted Capital Gains Tax may be due if you are liable to UK taxes.

Even if you didn’t originally purchase the property you may still be liable to pay tax on the gain if you acquired the property another way.

For example you may have inherited it or it may have been a gift.

You DO NOT need to consider this if you have: –

Buy and sell property as a business. These sales are subject to Income Tax rather than Capital Gains Tax.

Need to disclose a gain made by a trust, company or partnership.

to letThe amendment will see letting agents forced to sign up to a government backed Ombudsman and give tenants and landlords the chance to get money back from rogue agents without resorting to the courts.

Until now many agents have been able to operate with impunity as consumers have had no way of addressing the actions of unscrupulous or negligent agents.

EPCEPC Ratings F & G

From 2018 it will be illegal for landlord to rent out Band F & G rated properties, So should landlords therefore look to sell leasehold flats with a Band F & G EPC rating?

Also, from 2016 landlords will not be able to refuse tenant requests to improve the EPC rating on flats.

Thousands face Bank of Ireland UK mortgage rate rise

Thousands of mortgage borrowers with Bank of Ireland and subsidiary Bristol and West will see the cost of their home loan nearly double.

 The bank has announced that it is to raise the rate on its Base Rate Tracker mortgages, despite the Bank rate remaining at 0.5%.

It has the power to charge a top-up level of interest on these home loans, even if the Bank rate does not move.

It blamed the rising cost of providing these mortgages and rules on capital.

Banks must hold a buffer of capital to a certain level in order to keep to European rules.

Rate rises

The bank will raise the mortgage rate for residential customers from, typically, the Bank rate plus 1.75% to the Bank rate plus 2.49% on 1 May.

It will then raise it further, to Bank rate plus 3.99%, on 1 October.

Buy-to-let customers will see their rate increased to Bank rate plus 4.49% on 1 May.

The bank said that 13,500 customers would be affected by the move, with more than half of them buy-to-let customers. The majority also had significant equity in their properties, it said.

The rate increases do not affect customers of the Post Office, which partners with the Bank of Ireland UK.

Borrowers in a position to move should consider switching banks before the full rate hike kicks in.”

If you hold a Bank of Ireland mortgage and would like to see if there is a product available for you to move to, give us a call on 01489 580020 or email us on with the basic details.

Lloyds Banking Group has indicated that it is looking to increase its buy to let offering in 2013.

It is understood the group not only plans to increase total lending but plans to increase buy to let as a proportion of lending to around 21 per cent compared to 17 per cent in 2012.

This will be good news for new and existing landlords, as the buy to let lender offers competitive product rates with a range of arrangements fee options.

If you are looking to purchase a buy to let property or remortgage one you already hold, give us a call on 01489 580020 or complete the contact us form for a personal illustration, once we have assessed your financial situation and requirements.

Kent Reliance launches two new buy-to-let mortgage deals, available up to a maximum of 85% loan to value.

Kent Reliance is offering at two-year discounted variable rate charged at 5.49% and a three-year discount at 5.69%.

After the discounted period the rate payable reverts to Kent Reliance SVR, which is currently 6.58%.

There is a product fee of 2.5% of the loan amount and an admin fee of £130 which is payable on application. Monthly rental income must equate to at least 125% of the interest-only mortgage payment.

The maximum loan size is £350,000, and applicants must have a minimum income of £25,001.

These deals are also available for Houses in Multiple Occupation, at the higher interest rates of 5.79% and 6.19%.