first-time landlords

First-time landlords continue to enter the UK property market

For first-time landlords starting a career in the UK buy-to-let sector, there are a few things you’ll need to do before taking on tenants. We get an insight from Adele MacGregor at Compare My Move.

A buy-to-let property can be a sound investment and a way to earn a monthly income. However, it is vital that you know what you are taking on. This includes the upfront costs of buying a property, the ongoing costs of maintaining it and the rights of your tenants.

Buying a property

First-time landlords purchasing a buy-to-let property will not only need the deposit, but will also need to be prepared to pay surveying and conveyancing fees.

The cost of conveyancing when buying a property in 2022 is £2,239 on average. Survey costs will depend on the survey and property type. Older or unusual properties would benefit from a Level 3 survey, which is more expensive.

You will also need a specialist buy-to-let mortgage, and some lenders offer specific products for first-time landlords. With this type of loan, you often only pay the interest each month. You will need to pay off the property in full at the end of the term. Lenders have stricter criteria for these mortgages as they come with higher financial risks.

To qualify, you must:

  • Have a regular income of over £25,000
  • Be 45 or younger
  • Have owned your own home for six months (with or without a mortgage)
  • Buy a property in the UK
  • Have a good credit score
  • Intend to invest in the property as a landlord

Lenders require a higher deposit for buy-to-let. This will likely be between 20% to 40% of the property price.

Taxes first-time landlords need to know about

When you take on a buy-to-let property, you will be subject to certain taxes. These include:

Income Tax

As a professional landlord, you will be earning income from your new property. As a result, you will need to pay income tax. The basic rate is set at 20%, with the higher rate at 40%.

Capital Gains Tax

Basic rate taxpayers will be charged at 18% on any increased value of the property when it comes time to sell. The rate for higher-rate payers is 28%. The capital gains tax-free allowance is currently £12,300.

Stamp Duty

As buy-to-let properties are classed as second homes, they will incur a higher rate of stamp duty. This is an additional 3% in England and Northern Ireland, with the rate at 4% in Wales and Scotland.


It’s likely your mortgage lender will require you to have buildings insurance in place, so this is something all first-time landlords must factor into their costs. Landlord buy-to-let insurances can include buildings insurance in addition to covering:

  • Contents
  • Liability
  • Alternative accommodation costs
  • Rental income protection

Finding tenants

Although it is possible to rent your property without a letting agent, keep in mind they will have expert knowledge and tools at their disposal, which can be particularly useful for first-time landlords. They can also give you an idea of market rent prices, deposits and drawing up contracts.

You will want to be sure the correct checks have been done. This includes financial checks and references for prospective tenants. After all, this is your investment and you want to be sure it will be looked after by those living in it. Equally, you will want to ensure you are a fair and attentive landlord.

Your responsibilities

The property must be safe and habitable at a minimum. This includes meeting all your safety responsibilities as a landlord, ensuring:

  • Gas equipment is safely installed and maintained (including an annual gas safety check)
  • All appliances are safe
  • Electrical systems are safe
  • A smoke alarm is fitted on each storey
  • A carbon monoxide alarm is fitted in any room with a solid fuel-burning appliance
  • Access to escape routes at all times
  • All furnishing and furniture are fire safe
  • Fire extinguishers are available

You are also responsible for repairs to:

  • The structure and exterior of the property
  • Heating and hot water
  • Gas appliances
  • Pipes, flues and ventilation
  • Electrical wiring
  • Basins, sinks and baths
  • Damage caused by attempting repairs

Dealing with disputes

Whether it is in regard to rent payments, damage or deposits, landlords will likely face disputes during their careers, so first-time landlords need to be prepared. Many of these issues can be resolved amicably, but if it escalates you may want to seek legal advice.

As the landlord, you must ensure you have met all the requirements expected of you. Being well versed in the rights of the tenants will also serve you well. Again, working with a letting agent can be beneficial when disputes arise.

Self-certified Sophisticated Investor

Please read

I declare that I am a self-certified sophisticated investor for the purposes of the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. I understand that this means:

I am a self-certified sophisticated investor because at least one of the following applies:

I accept that the investments to which the promotions will relate may expose me to a significant risk of losing all of the money or other property invested. I am aware that it is open to me seek advice from someone who specialises in advising on non-mainstream pooled investments.

High Net Worth Investor

Please read

I make this statement so that I can receive promotional communications which are exempt from the restriction on promotion of non-mainstream pooled investments. The exemption relates to certified high net worth investors and I declare that I qualify as such because at least one of the following applies to me:



Sign-up for first access to new developments and exclusive property investment opportunities.

We send limited and targeted emails on new launches and exclusive deals which best fit your areas. We are trusted by over 30,000 active buyers as their source for new stock.

  • New property developments
  • Professional market reports
  • Property deal alerts
  • Development updates
UK holiday let


Receive trending news straight to your inbox and stay up to date on all of the property market trends and advice.

Established since 2005 we are a leading voice of authority and commentary on the UK property market. Our news is trusted by Apple News & Google News.

  • UK housing market
  • Mortgage & money
  • Buy-to-let landlords
  • Guides & advice

Talk to us

Speak to our UK property experts today:


+44 (0) 333 123 0320

Open from 9am-6pm GMT


+852 6699 9008

Open from 9am-6pm HKT