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Renting Out Your UK Property: A Guide for Ex-Pats

Imagine packing up your belongings, heading off to an exotic location and settling into a new home, while still earning an income from your property back in Blighty – it’s the stuff dreams are made of! Thousands of Brits have fled these shores for the hotspots of Spain, Dubai and the Far East, hoping for a more peaceful and serene way of life, and many of them are able to make a living from their existing UK property. Here at I Am The Agent, we’ve put together a handy guide for anyone thinking of following suit, from the process of letting your property online, to the complicated matter of tax.

Before any decisions are made, it’s always important to consider any extra costs that need to be factored in. For those deciding to go down the agency route, letting and management fees can be expensive. At I Am The Agent, our property management service comes with basic fees with no hidden costs or extra charges – so you’ll be able to more accurately work out profit margins and income.

Before you choose an agent, check their service levels. Are they willing to deliver and collect keys on your behalf? Can they carry out property inspections? Will they arrange furniture if necessary? Lastly, a property agent should always be regulated the Property Ombudsman and the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

A landlord-specific insurance policy is also crucial. Without these, tenants defaulting on their payments or causing damage to your property is not covered – and with you currently residing in another country, resolving these matters can be problematic to say the least.

Now for the tax issue. Obviously, the amount of tax you pay will depend on your personal circumstances, but with rumours of a plan to remove the personal allowance for those living abroad, this could end up being a serious roadblock for people wanting to emigrate. In some of the more extreme cases, the removal of the personal allowance could lead to tax bills as high as £4,000 for the average couple living abroad. Be sure to calculate how much you’ll pay in tax with and without the personal allowance, and ensure your projected income still allows you to live comfortably.

Lastly, don’t forget about currency transfer. Rental income from the UK is most likely to be paid in sterling to an account based in the UK, and this could mean that expat landlords will need to transfer their money into the local currency, be it Euros, Dollars, Swiss Francs or Japanese Yen. With such regular amounts of money needing to be exchanged, many expats opt for a currency specialist, who can often offer contracts with exchange rate protection.



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