4 Categories of Landlords you Need to Know About

A landlord is anyone who rents out a property he owns under a lease or a licence. Landlords are often known as “good”, “bad”, “non-interfering” or by various other descriptions. These are mainly based on sentiments and the way they treat their tenants. But did you know there are different categories of landlords, depending on the type of properties and the reasons why they rent?  If in the Yorkshire area, estate agents in Sheffield can clarify the types of landlords tenants need to know about.

The categories are numerous and varied, but we give below the 4 main types of landlords:

Professional Landlords:

Are defined as those who rent out a property as a business to earn money.  They could be landlords with 2 or 3 properties or “portfolio” landlords who own more than 5 properties including HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation). They are usually well informed and manage everything themselves, with a team to take care of the administration from documentation to maintenance.  Recently, to avoid higher taxes, many professional landlords have changed their portfolios to Partnerships or Limited Companies.  From research by ARLA (Association of Rental Letting Agents), many tenants “are asking for references and local authority accreditation details from landlords.”  They seem to be looking for professional landlords who take an interest in caring for their properties and who will offer higher quality services, as they depend on the tenancies for their income.

Buy-to-let landlords: 

These landlords buy property for the specific purpose of renting it. There are special mortgage loans for such buyers. The properties are usually residential but also include student and hotel room investments. The rising price of property has made it popular for buy-to-let investment, especially with the mortgage benefits over those of professional landlords. Also, because buy-to-let landlords are usually considered as business borrowers, they require less supervision, unlike the regulated normal residential mortgage applicants.  Instead of transferring to a limited company to avoid taxes, there are two other options for buy-to-let purchasers.

  • Joint tenants, where both own and are responsible for 100% of the property and 100% of the mortgage, respectively.
  • Tenants in common, where the ownership is divided into a percentage but the mortgage is still 100% responsible of both parties.

Short Term Landlords: 

Those who rent property for short periods, 6 months or less, are known as short term landlords. The reasons for a short term landlord could differ, from the owner travelling abroad or for a short duration work transfer or even a holiday. However, for people looking for a place to live temporarily while their property purchase is being completed or for someone who is also on a short-term work commitment or even people who are carrying out major renovations on their properties, these short-term tenancies are ideal. They are not very common. Also, with tourism on the rise, they are becoming increasingly popular for “holiday lets” and hence there may be competition to obtain the desired one.

Accidental Landlords: 

These are people who do not plan to become landlords but are “forced” to rent property, not through choice but because of necessity.

  • One type is a landlord who has inherited property and needs a tenant. Sometimes, these properties may be older buildings and sub-standard, so the building regulations including EPC (energy performance certificate) need to be checked out.
  • The other type is the homeowner who cannot find a buyer for the property and has no option but to rent it, especially if he/she has invested in another property. The rental income is used to pay the mortgage for the new home.

Responsibilities:

Despite the type of landlord, the general responsibilities are to ensure that the property is liveable, repairs are carried out  to the structure and property exterior, providing for safety of gas and electricity appliances, insurance against fire or hazards to furniture and fittings and, in multiple occupancy properties, the common areas. A tenant’s main responsibility is to pay the rent, besides the other bills (gas, electricity etc.) if agreed on, keeping the property in good condition and paying for minor repairs or damages (also if agreed on).

Conclusion: 

Tenants need to be aware of the category of landlord they are renting from.  Private landlords may offer cheaper rentals and flexibility on deposits but they are unregulated and so may not have the complete legal knowledge and conformity to standards. Tenancy agreements should be studied thoroughly before signing. “Every residential landlord who takes a deposit from a tenant is legally required to protect that deposit by sending it to one of three government-approved deposit protection schemes” is a government mandate. If this has not been done, the tenant can claim compensation. So, before deciding on the house you would like to rent, it is wise to do a check on the landlord, too!

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