Story of the Week
July 2012 – Pensioners seeking income in Buy-to-Let
With a stagnant property market, and unable to sell their homes and downsize as they would like to do, many older homeowners are becoming "accidental" landlords. Many will move into smaller rental accommodation themselves, or move in with their children when they rent out their main home.
According to the Sunday Times (8 July 2012), 35% of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) members reported a steadily rising number of properties entering the rental market because they cannot be sold.
Further, analysis of 300,000 landlord insurance policies by Simply Business, an insurance broker, show that landlords in the over 65s bracket are up by 11% in 2012, and by around one-third since 2009.
With interest rates approaching zero, lack of income from most alternative investments is driving many of these seniors into becoming landlords, though obtaining a mortgage can sometimes be a problem.
Some mortgage companies will allow owners to rent out their property, whilst others will want the owner to switch to a buy-to-let deal. This inevitably means more fees, higher interest payments, and some will not lend beyond age 70.
Asked to comment on the trend, Tom Entwistle of LandlordZONE has said: "Whilst rental property can produce a really good income return on investment if a sound rental property is acquired, renting is not always all plain sailing.
With only one property, as opposed to a portfolio of them, the landlord loses 100% of his income, whilst still bearing mortgage and running costs, if there is an extended void (vacant period), if a bad tenant is taken on and does not pay the rent, or when the tenant damages the property.
Good tenancy management is the key to any landlord's success, but this skill usually comes with experience and good knowledge of the rules and regulations.
Inexperienced and "accidental landlords" should get help from a reputable letting agent, one with a good local reputation and a member of one of the professional associations, until they become confident enough to manage the rental for themselves."