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Accidental Landlord? Register or face the consequences

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Rebecca Kincade on February 25, 2015 - 10:16 am in Advice, Featured Advice

The Landlord Registration Scheme collects and maintains up-to-date and accurate information on landlords and their properties. By law, all private landlords must register by 25 February 2015.

It’s a sign of the times – many people who have found themselves in negative equity have chosen to rent out their property rather than sell and face a shortfall. But what are the pros and cons – and what does the mandatory registration scheme mean for you?

Tom Cardwell from Negative Equity NI explains more: “The Landlord Registration scheme is a great way to monitor and maintain standards in private rentals. For accidental landlords who haven’t told their lender they’re renting out a property that has a residential mortgage attached, it could mean trouble.

“Mortgage lenders have been cracking down on ‘accidental landlords’ for the last few years. These are people who are letting out their home without notifying them. They have an idea that many people stuck in negative equity are unwilling or unable to sell their property and are keeping quiet about letting it out because they would face a higher interest rate or have to switch to a more expensive buy-to-let loan.

“Lenders have already resorted to checking the electoral register, social media and online letting agents to check up on their borrowers as they estimate up to 30% of landlords might be their customers.”

“Our clients include people who have felt they have had to let out their property rather than face a shortfall sale, but we’ve been able to help most by negotiating with their lenders to write down their loan and market their property to achieve the best possible price in the current marketplace.

“Being a landlord is something that is best left to the professionals who have time and money to spend resolving problems, can manage their tenancies appropriately and have good knowledge of property rentals.”

More about the Landlord Registration Scheme:

Not registering may mean you are committing an offence and could be issued a penalty of up to £2,500.
The scheme aims to centralise information previously held by individual councils about landlords in their areas. As many landlords have properties in different council areas, information could be difficult to access.
A centrally held register of private landlords:

Allows anyone to find out if a landlord is registered
Keeps a record of the number of landlords in Northern Ireland
Enables landlords to stay up to date with changes in their duties and responsibilities
Increases confidence across the private rental market
Promotes good practice
Makes help and advice easy to access
What else should I do as a private landlord?

Make sure your lender knows about and agrees with your arrangement
Make sure you have proper insurances in place
Keep up-to-date with changes in housing legislation, policy and practice
Ensure you are operating within the law by being properly registered
Take part in an accredited training programme
Join a professional body

If you’ve found yourself as a reluctant landlord, are worried about your lender or HMRC finding out and feel trapped by negative equity, give the Negative Equity NI team a call on or visit http://www.negativeequityni.com/.”



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