Buy-To-Let Landlord Guide

Should you be a private landlord or use a Letting Agent?

Choosing to become a buy-to-let landlord for the first time and investing in a property can seem like a daunting prospect, but with careful research and expert advice from the professionals, the process can be rewarding with great benefits.

Here is our helpful guide of everything you’ll need to know to get you started.

Should I become a buy-to-let landlord?
You’ve considered the responsibility and decided you’re ready to commit to becoming a landlord, you’ll then need to decide on whether you wish to become a private landlord or use the services of a Lettings agent. This decision will likely depend on your industry knowledge, finances and your availability.

For example, managing everything yourself, from the admin and legal requirements, too finding tenants and dealing with the maintenance of the property takes up much time and knowledge. You’ll need to be on-hand to answer calls, deal promptly with problems and ensure the check-out process is run smoothly and the marketing is carried out effectively to avoid your property being left unoccupied for a long period of time. The benefits of using a Lettings Agent are vast and with tailored services to suit your individual requirements, from finding you tenants to a full management service this may seem like a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Getting a buy-to-let mortgage

The buy-to-let mortgage market is currently booming with relatively low interest rates and as with a residential mortgage, the bigger the deposit you put down, the better the rate you’ll receive. Speak with a specialist buy-to-let mortgage broker who will be familiar with the appropriate products available to your situation and discuss your lending opportunities. Generally, the lending criteria is that the rental income must be between 120-135% of the monthly mortgage repayment amount.

When reviewing your finances, include all of the costs involved in terms of purchasing a buy-to-let property and also the day to day costs of running the property even if there are no tenants in situ.

Fees associated with purchasing a property:

  • Stamp duty
  • Property survey
  • Legal costs
  • Valuation for mortgage
  • Mortgage arrangement fees
  • Income tax (this is payable on your rental income, less specific day to day running costs)
  • If you are renting your property out as a business, you’ll need to pay Class 2 National Insurance

Day to day (main) running costs:

  • Mortgage interest
  • Letting agent’s fees (this will vary according to the management service chosen)
  • Landlords insurance
  • Rent insurance
  • Annual safety checks (boiler, gas etc.)
  • General building maintenance
  • Redecorating costs

Top Tip: It’s a sensible idea to be prepared and have a contingency budget for those times where you may have a void period in between tenants or may need to carry out essential maintenance or emergency repairs.

Finding the right property

Once you’ve worked out your finances and know your budget, choosing the right property is key. It’s imperative you do your research, and this is where speaking to us can help as we know the market and area extremely well. We can help you with:

  • How many properties are available in the area of your choice
  • The types of properties that suit your requirements
  • What the demand is like renting in the area
  • Costs vs return and what rental yield you can expect to achieve

When narrowing down your property search, remember this is a business proposition and try not to let emotion get in the way of any decisions if you want to maximise your return on investment (ROI).

Your legal responsibilities

As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility for the safety and welfare of your tenants. There are currently 178 pieces of law now affecting tenancies that you will need to be fully aware of and keep up to date with if you choose to become a private landlord.

As a leading ARLA Propertymark registered letting agent, our qualified team of experts are here to offer professional advice on becoming a landlord and help guide you through the process, start to finish, ensuring peace of mind. We will ensure you are fully compliant with all the current regulations and any new ones that come into force.
While there is no national licensing or registration scheme requirement in England, you will need to check with your local council whether they have their own landlord licensing scheme you’ll need to sign up to. As a landlord you are also legally required to hold your tenants’ deposits in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme as well as supplying up to date Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and gas safety certificates. As a private landlord you would need to arrange this yourself, compared to using a Lettings agent who will coordinate this for you as part of their fully managed service.

Property tax

We recommend you consult with a property tax specialist for the most current advice as property tax can be a complex issue. In recent years, several property laws affecting property tax have been introduced or changed, so speaking with an expert will ensure you run your buy-to-let property in the most tax-efficient way. They will be able to tell you what income tax you will need to pay, the expenses you can claim and when the time comes to selling your property any capital gains tax you’ll need to repay.


If you would like to manage your own property, we’d be happy to share with you what the job entails, the challenges that may arise and what you can expect in your new role as landlord, so you are fully informed and in the best position to make your investment a success. Or should you wish we can take care of everything for you, leaving you free to carry on with your everyday life, please call us to discuss how our tailored landlord services could help you.

To contact your local team of Lettings experts, call 01903 213 111 for Worthing or 01903 756 688 for Lancing and their surrounding areas to speak with one of our friendly team.

Content accurate at time of publishing.

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