Public advice guide to buy-to-let published today

The Association of Residential Letting Agents and the Council of Mortgage Lenders published the annual ARLA/CML guide to buy-to-let today.

It is the fourth time the guide has been published, which offers information and advice to the public on buy-to-let. It is available free through ARLA member letting agents.

Topics covered in the latest guide include, expanding opportunities for the buy-to-let investor, Self Investment Personal Pensions, and legislation for the rental market and punitive damages.

The guide gives advice on finding the right rental property, the right buy-to-let mortgage and the right letting agent and the right tenant.

The current state of the buy-to-let market and new opportunities to invest, such as where local authorities are the contracted tenant, are also covered.

Although SIPPs are a new opportunity for some, the guide deconstructs much of the hype surrounding these personal pension plans.

Adrian Turner, chief executive of ARLA says: “It is important that the public understands that there is so much detailed professional advice available and that there is no reason to pay for expensive Become a Property Millionaire Overnight type of seminars.”

This warning is especially relevant since the Department of Trade and Investment took action in the High Court earlier this year to wind up a string of quasi-advisory and investment services. These included companies offering 6,000 courses on how to get rich quick.

The ARLA/CML guide also contains details of current market conditions and current rates of return on property investments, whether bought outright or with gearing from a mortgage. It gives a view of the mortgage market from the perspective of both the lenders and the mortgage broker’s.

Common questions that are answered include, what legal standing to tenants have if their landlord changes the locks and puts their possessions out on the street. The guide’s experts advise that not only are the actions illegal but that punitive damages have been awarded in such cases.

Details of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the urgent need for all buy-to-let landlords to understand the implications of the forthcoming legislation covering deposits are explored, along with safeguarding landlords’ rents and tenants’ deposits and insurance obligations. There is also a comprehensive legal outline for buy-to-let investors of all levels of experience.

Turner says: “Buy to let has done a lot to improve standards in the private rented sector. This has made it a very competitive market. So, as well as getting the finance and the paperwork right, it is very important to follow some of the tips about preparing rental property to let.”