Where to get legal and tax advice for landlords

Whether you are a landlord with one property or 10, there will be a need to access legal and tax advice for landlords at some point.

One of the big issues is that landlords may not be declaring their rental income and HMRC believes that one in three landlords are not doing so.

They have run various campaigns in recent years to encourage landlords to declare their income for tax purposes, particularly under the Let Property Campaign.

It’s important that landlords have their tax affairs in order and they may require specialist tax advice from a professional that is geared towards property investors and landlords for this purpose.

This is particularly the case should a new landlord need to prepare a tax return for the first time.

In addition, the type of tax advice a landlord may require from an adviser will include minimising their capital gains tax exposure and also ensuring they claim all of the relevant business expenses that they are entitled to.

There may also be a need to create a limited company for tax purposes and to utilise their spouse’s tax allowance as well.

A need for legal advice for landlords

In addition, there may be a need for legal advice for landlords and with the tightening of regulations in recent years, this is probably an important aspect to run a successful property portfolio.

Whether that’s understanding the need for protecting a tenant’s deposit within a government-approved deposit scheme or obtaining a Gas Safety certificate, adhering to laws affecting landlords is crucial.

It’s also important that landlords understand their legal position to ensure they remain compliant as a landlord to deliver a safe house for their tenants.

Other aspects of legal advice that landlords may need is for when their tenant’s financial situation changes and they cannot pay the rent.

In this instance, a landlord may be facing months without any rental income and will need to understand the eviction process so they can repossess their property.

Also, the law has tightened on offering tenants a home that is habitable and the landlord could face legal proceedings should a tenant make a formal complaint against them.

Important that landlords have access to legal advice

In any of these instances mentioned, it’s important that landlords have access to legal advice from a qualified professional who can then advise them on the best course of action that may be necessary.

It’s crucial that landlords do not ignore a legal issue believing it will go away because they then risk making the problem worse and it could become more costly.

The best way to access legal advice is to have the relevant landlord insurance in place since it will usually offer access to a legal advice helpline and to legal professionals who understand the private rental sector.

Also, professional organisations such as the National Landlords Association and the Residential Landlords Association also offer legal help.

This issue of accessing landlord advice when it’s necessary may be crucial to those who are new to renting out a property in the UK.

The advice that is available is wide-ranging and will include what a landlord needs to know when starting out with a new tenancy and the legal obligations they have to meet in providing a safe and secure home for their tenant and their family.

A letting agent can also dispense landlord advice

Along with running a property effectively, landlords may also find it helpful to engage the services of a letting agent who can also dispense landlord advice and help when necessary.

This service will cost but it will bring peace of mind, particularly for new and accidental landlords – which are those landlords who have been unable to sell a property or have inherited a home that they then choose to rent out.

Landlords should also appreciate that one of the easiest and quickest ways to find advice and help on legal and tax matters – and on any landlord issue that concerns them – is to use a landlord’s forum.

Here, new and experienced landlords share their knowledge and tips to those who may be needing it – and this may well include someone who has been renting out property in the UK for many years, for example.

There are a lot of considerations for landlords operating today and the rules and regulations have not only changed extensively in recent years, but there are still changes to come so accessing legal and tax advice for landlords will be a crucial part of enjoying their property investment that delivers the expected rewards.

About S Thompson

Simon Thompson is Chairman of the Landlord Syndicate and CEO / Co Founder of Accommodation for Students Ltd.

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