Renting Out Your Edinburgh Property When You Move Abroad

If you own a property in Edinburgh and decide to move abroad, what are your options? Sell up? Leave it unoccupied? Rent it to friends and hope they’ll look after it?  

We think there’s a better choice… 

Long-term renting in Edinburgh 

Edinburgh is one of the world’s most desirable cities to live in and property is consistently in high demand. In 2023, research by Totaljobs found it had the best quality of life of any city in the UK. Understandably, finding somewhere to rent in Scotland’s capital can be like looking for a needle in a haystack, and prices are at a record high, which makes long-term renting an attractive option for property owners. 

However, looking after a rental property when you’re thousands of miles away can be a headache. What if there’s an emergency and you’re in a different time zone, or maintenance and repairs need to be carefully managed? How can you ensure you meet all your obligations when you’re not around? 

Leave it to experienced letting agents 

At Clan Gordon, our complete property management service takes the stress out of looking after a rental property from overseas. You decide how much interaction you want with us, and we do the rest. It couldn’t be easier. 

A reputable and reliable letting agent gives you the peace of mind that your property is being well looked after, and you won’t have to worry about chasing rent payments or carrying out routine inspections. 

We have almost 20 years’ experience in the local property market and manage more than 600 properties across the city. We’ve also won multiple awards for our customer service, being named both Edinburgh and Scotland’s best letting agent in consecutive years. 

If you’re moving abroad, it’s crucial to choose a letting agent you can trust to make decisions on your behalf and check your property is being well looked after. From electing tenants to carrying out repairs and maintenance, you need to know your property is in safe hands.  

What to ask a letting agent 

When choosing an agent, it’s important to check you’re happy with their processes, such as how they select tenants. You won’t be there yourself to meet them, so you’ll have to rely on your agent for guidance. 

Make sure you ask how often your property will be inspected. At Clan Gordon, we inspect every property within the first three months, followed by regular six-monthly inspections. We send the landlord a photographic report after each inspection, which is reassuring if you’re living overseas and can’t visit yourself. 

Ask about your agent’s property maintenance process and agree on how much autonomy they have to carry out any work on your property. Many landlords are happy to set a maximum cost for work that can be carried out without them having to sign it off. Living overseas makes it difficult to deal with contractors directly, so it’s important you can trust your letting agent to appoint tradespeople who will do a good job at a fair price. 

Things to consider when letting your property 

If you have a mortgage on your property, you must contact your mortgage provider to let them know you intend to let it out. You may need to change your mortgage if you’re renting out your home, and if you don’t inform them, you are in breach of your mortgage terms. 

If you let a property in the UK but live abroad for six months of the year or more, you must comply with HMRCs Non-Resident Landlords Scheme and pay tax on any income. 

Rent payments will be made in Sterling, so if you’re living abroad, they’ll be impacted by fluctuating exchange rates. This could mean that your rental income varies from month to month, depending upon the strength of the pound. If you are relying on your rental income to cover mortgage payments, you’ll need to take this into account. Maintaining a bank account in the UK avoids paying international transfer fees or being impacted by exchange rates.  

If you’re hoping to be able to use your property for periods when you return home, you need to be aware of the rules concerning private residential tenancies. Since 2017, new open-ended tenancies mean landlords can’t ask tenants to leave after a fixed term. 

You can still give your tenants notice to leave, but this could be up to 84 days if they have been tenants for more than six months. Full details are available on the government website 

For advice and guidance about renting out your Edinburgh property while living abroad, arrange a call with one of our professional property managers today.  

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