Buy-to-let conveyancing is significantly more complex than conveyancing for standard, residential property. In addition to checking all the basic facts about the house or flat, the conveyancer also has to check its suitability as a rental property.
Here are some of the key points which will be checked as part of buy-to-let conveyancing.
Your mortgage type
If you’re buying with financing, then your conveyancing solicitor will need to check that you have the right type of financing. For example, if you’re buying a standard residential buy-to-let property, then you’ll need a standard buy-to-let mortgage. If, however, you’re buying a property for short-term letting then you’ll probably need a mortgage intended for commercial property.
That the property may be let
Some properties cannot be let at all. Some may have restrictions on letting. For example, they may allow standard, residential letting but may not allow the property to be used as an HMO or for short-term letting.
That you have all necessary permissions
The buy-to-let market is now heavily regulated. This is a plus from the point of view of improving conditions, removing bad actors and generally inspiring confidence in the market. It does, however, mean that there is a lot of emphasis on being able to demonstrate compliance with the numerous rules and regulations. What’s more, these may vary from location to location.
Standard documentation most buy-to-let landlords will need to have includes:
- Energy performance certificate
- Gas safety certificate
- Electrical safety certificate
- Proof that furniture and furnishings meet fire safety requirements
Landlords intending to use a property as an HMO will usually need special licencing. It is imperative to get this right because local authorities can and do levy heavy fines, even for administrative errors. Getting an HMO licence may require you to have landlord’s insurance.
That you have the correct legal documentation
This is a standard part of conveyancing but can require additional checks when dealing with the purchase of buy-to-let property.
That you are clear on what is and isn’t included in the purchase
Similarly, advising on what is and isn’t included in the purchase is a standard part of conveyancing, but can require extra checks in the case of buy-to-let property. Landlords eager to get moving as soon as possible may opt to buy fixtures and fittings (and even furniture) from the previous owner. This can be a very astute move, but it’s vital that everyone is totally clear about exactly what has been bought and exactly what hasn’t.
That the property is vacated as intended
Your conveyancer will work with the vendor to agree on a date by which the property must be vacated. If there are any issues with vacating the property, your conveyancer will let you know promptly.
The process of buy-to-let conveyancing
Overall, the basic process of conveyancing for buy-to-let property is much the same as for residential property. You instruct a conveyancer, prepare to exchange, exchange and then complete. You should, however, be prepared for the “preparing to exchange” stage to take longer than it would for standard residential property due to the extra work involved.
Nannette Kendrick is the Head of New Business and Marketing at Lovedays Solicitors who specialise in Family Law, divorce and property services such as commercial property law and online conveyancing quotes.