Landlords from the UK who choose to live abroad can enjoy living their dream lives in another country while enjoying a steady income flow from their rental property. However, there exist some challenges you’ll face acting as a long-distance landlord. Difficulty communicating and the inability to meet tenants in person are just some of the challenges you may face. Also, if a tenancy ends while still abroad, landlords are left with the singular choice of asking someone else to carry out viewings for them.

For these reasons, landlords who live abroad prefer using a letting agency to manage their property while they live their lives undisturbed abroad. Are you an international landlord? Are you planning to become one soon?

This write-up will discuss some 4 tips to help make the letting process the easiest for you. Sit back, relax, and read on!

Get to Know Your Legal Responsibilities

All rental property owners in the UK are required to pay tax on the rental income. As an international landlord, you are no exception. The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) consider you a ‘non-resident landlord’ if you live out of the UK for 6 months or more in a year. However, this won’t be your case if you live outside the UK only temporarily, i.e. less than 6 months in a year.

You can pay your tax by taking out an essential tax rate from the rents or better still by using a Self-Assessment form for tax return. Payment can be done by a tenant or a letting agent. At the end of each year, the agent will provide you with a certificate. If you do not wish to do this, you will need to join the “Non-resident landlord (NRL) scheme. More information is available by clicking here.

Carry Out Screening through Skype

Meeting tenants one on one before accepting their rental application has proven to be one of the greatest challenges faced by landlords who live abroad. This of course won’t be a problem if you choose to use a letting agent. However, determining whether or not a tenant is the right person for your property without seeing them can be difficult. To help solve this problem, consider using Skype, Zoom, or any other video conferencing platform to discuss with tenants before deciding to accept or decline their rental application.

Give Priority to Long-Term Tenants

Administrative demands are higher for shorter tenancies than longer ones. Also, landlords are more likely to develop stronger bonds with long-term tenants. This helps take away much anxiety concerning how your property is being treated.  

Consider Using a Property Management Agency

The best and simplest way to avoid any headaches with regards to managing your property from abroad is to have someone else do it for you. Most landlords have found this to be the best way to live a stress-free life abroad.

A trustworthy and reputable property management agency like us (SWR) can bear the burden for you. We take care of everything from collecting rent from tenants to ensuring that you pay just the right amount of rental tax as you should normally pay.

There is a lot of discussion around asbestos, particularly in recent years where Health & Safety has been pushed to the forefront of our minds – but what actually IS asbestos and why do we, as property managers and landlords, need to know about it?

All landlords and property managers must abide by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, hence they must be aware of anything that may impact the general health and safety of their tenants.

Asbestos was known as the “Magic Mineral” for many years given its versatility and properties as a construction product. It was used in many ways such as insulation, fire proofing, cladding, even roofing and floor tiles. It wasn’t until much later that the effects of asbestos on those who produced, shipped and used it became apparent. Unfortunately by this point, asbestos was so widely distributed and used that it was impossible to trace it and remove it from those buildings that had included it.

So WHY is Asbestos dangerous?

Asbestos is made of fibres, as you will see below. When the Asbestos is “friable”, meaning the edges are damaged or worn, these fibres can be released into the air, and inhaled or ingested. Once ingested or inhaled, they are difficult (if not impossible) to remove, and eventually cause disease, such as lung cancer or conditions known as Asbestosis and Mesothelioma.

What does Asbestos look like?

To keep things simple, there were three main types of Asbestos in use in this country – these are nicknamed after their appearance: “White Asbestos” (Chrysotile), “Blue Asbestos” (Crocidolite) and “Brown Asbestos” (Amosite).

Image courtesy of: https://www.merryhillenvirotec.com/types-of-asbestos/

The use of Blue and Brown Asbestos was banned in the UK in 1985 but large amounts remain. Blue is widely seen as the most dangerous type of asbestos due to its structure – the fibres are short and spiky, which cause the maximum damage to the lungs.
Blue asbestos was often used for products such as spray on pipe lagging, insulation or asbestos cement.

Image Courtesty of: https://www.ad-asbestosremoval.co.uk/

Just as a matter of interest, a lot of people think that the visible fibres of asbestos are what cause the problem. In fact, it is actually the fibres you can’t see with the naked eye that are more troublesome, as shown by this micrograph:

Similar to Blue asbestos, Brown asbestos was mostly used for cement sheets and insulation.

The most common type of asbestos, white, was banned in 1999 which means as a landlord or property manager you should be aware that it may be present in most properties built or converted before 2000. White asbestos is commonly found in areas like artex ceilings, insulation, cement, soffits, piping, fireproofing and ceilings but is so widespread the uses of this type of asbestos would take too long to thoroughly list.

Image courtesy of: https://job-prices.co.uk/asbestos-in-the-home/
Image courtesy of: https://job-prices.co.uk/asbestos-in-the-home/
Image courtesy of: https://job-prices.co.uk/asbestos-in-the-home/

How can I tell it is asbestos?

To only way to confirm the prescence of asbestos is by testing it. There are many companies that will offer a sampling and testing service, often with a 24 hour turnaround. They will take a look at the sample under a microscope to identify the type of fibres it contains, and therefore confirm the presence of asbestos in the sample.

What do I do if I have asbestos?

The first step in the sucessful management of asbestos is the identification of the location and type of asbestos, and the assessment of the current condition.
We would always recommend using a professional company to carry out an “Asbestos Management Survey” and if necessary, an “Asbestos Management Plan and Asbestos Register”.
This survey will review the property non-invasively to identify the location of asbestos on site, as well as giving recommendations for its management and/or removal.
Should there be extensive works being carried out at the property, it is important to take this further and arrange for a “Refurbishment/Demolition Survey” which is much more invasive.

Both types of survey will provide information on how to manage the asbestos, which is likely to be either complete removal, encapsulation (covering to prevent the release of fibres) or regular checking of the condition.

If you would like further information, the Health and Safety Executive website is a fantastic resource, in particular the booklet titled “Asbestos Essentials“.

References:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/asbestos/

http://ibasecretariat.org/lka-paper-asbestos-from-magic-mineral-to-killer-dust-apr-28-2013.pdf

https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/asb-when

https://ehs.oregonstate.edu/asb-when

South West Relo - your local family agent

Family run, our tenants and landlords love the fact we take personal care in what we do to help customers.

Here at SWR, our business model is not to undercut or price match other agents. We offer you the most comprehensive and personalised service to protect your valuable and important investments whilst making the journey of being a landlord as “stress free” as possible.

Come and visit us at The Stables and let’s discuss how we can help you with your property management needs.