Sometimes life can throw you curveballs, and you may find yourself on a different path to the one you thought you’d be on. It may be that you've become an accidental landlord without even trying - something you may not even realise until you already own the property. Now, it’s time to make some decisions about your next steps.

Becoming an accidental landlord is a situation many individuals find themselves in unexpectedly, and with it comes a host of opportunities, albeit a few challenges too. Let’s take a look at what life as an accidental landlord involves, and what you need to be mindful of if you find yourself in this position.

What is an accidental landlord?

There are various ways you can wind up being an accidental landlord - in other words, finding yourself in the unexpected position of owning and renting out a property, whether temporarily or as a long-term investment.

This could be due to a recent bereavement, which may have ended in you inheriting a property, or a change in your personal circumstances, such as a divorce, separation or recoupling. Similarly, you could be relocating for a new job prospect, and for whatever reason, you have decided to rent out your old property rather than sell it and move on. You may also be unable to sell your property, and turn to renting it out as a way to cover your mortgage payments and generate extra income.

If you’ve never found yourself in this situation before, and don’t know anything about what’s involved in renting out a property, then it’s worth reading through this article in full  to find out what you should be doing.

Adhering to legalities

There are certain legalities surrounding buy-to-let mortgage types, so you should first find out more about your financial responsibilities when renting out a property, or speak to a mortgage adviser who can give professional advice around buy-to-let properties.

UK landlords must comply with a range of legal and regulatory requirements, so having a solid understanding of tenancy agreements, deposit protection schemes, eviction procedures, and other obligations is crucial. Familiarise yourself with the specific regulations in your area, as they can differ between England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Marketing your property

When marketing your property to tenants, you’ll want to show off the property’s best features, whether this is the size of the rooms, the modern decor, the location, or transportation links.

Determining the right rental price requires you to strike the right balance between maximising profit and attracting reliable tenants. Consider carefully whether setting a higher rental price is worth the potential profit, or if it's more prudent to choose a slightly lower price to attract responsible tenants who are less likely to cause problems. Conduct thorough research on rental rates for similar properties in the area to ensure your pricing is competitive and reasonable.

By effectively marketing your property and setting an appropriate rental price, you can increase your chances of finding reliable tenants who appreciate the property's features and that you have a good professional relationship with.

Be there

Many landlords are a nameless face that tenants never get to see or hear from, so make sure you respond to any queries that come your way and never leave them in the lurch. Whether it's addressing maintenance requests, clarifying lease terms, or simply providing timely responses, being accessible and approachable can prevent minor issues from escalating into major conflicts. By actively engaging with your tenants at all times, you can create a trusting and respectful environment that contributes to a positive renting experience for both parties involved.

Use a mortgage adviser

As an accidental landlord, it's essential to recognise that your property has transformed into a business venture, regardless of your initial intentions. A knowledgeable mortgage broker can provide invaluable advice and guidance on choosing the right buy-to-let mortgage deal that aligns with your individual circumstances. 

With a network of 90+ different lenders, Mortgage Advice Bureau have access to more than 12,000 products, so we can help you find the right mortgage to suit your needs. We assist throughout the whole process, from making the initial appointment (whether face-to-face or over the phone) through to completion. Get in touch with us today to arrange your appointment.

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Important information

There is no guarantee that it will be possible to arrange continuous letting of the property, nor that rental income will be sufficient to meet the cost of the mortgage.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend upon your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.