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A Guide for Overseas Landlords: Registration, Tax, Challenges

Letting properties in the UK while living abroad is one of the best ways to make a steady income. But a long-distance landlord job isn’t easy. You’ll have your share of challenges: communication barriers, difficulty with screening tenants, managing damages, and whatnot! 


This is why landlords entrust somebody to take care of the property abroad. Most overseas landlords use letting agencies to manage their property. Maybe you are someone living abroad with a property in the UK that needs management. Or you have decided to become an overseas landlord by investing in the property market to make money. 


This article aims to give you a better understanding of the challenges, tax implications, and more about being an overseas landlord in the UK. Read up!


What Is An Overseas Landlord?


An overseas landlord is someone who rents out properties in a place they don’t currently live in. 


For example, Dan lives in France. But he owns a couple of apartments in the UK. He decides to rent them out. Hence, Dan is the definition of an overseas landlord. If you have rental properties in the UK while living abroad for over 6 months, you’re an overseas landlord. This applies regardless of the tax year. 


Also read: Everything you need to know about being an Accidental Landlord.


How To Get Registered As An Overseas Landlord in the UK 


In short, you need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). You can register online too. After doing so, you will receive your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) within 21 days.

It is a simple and quick process. Here are the details you need to provide to register yourself with the HMRC.


  • National Insurance Number
  • Full name (and previous names if any)
  • Current living address and the date you moved in
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Contact details including mobile number and email address


It is not necessary to follow the Non-residential landlord (NRL) scheme. But it allows you to arrange for your agents or tenants to deduct the overseas landlord tax rate from the rental income. After that, you can set it off against your personal tax bill at the year-end. 


Note: Spouses who own property together should get registered under the Non-resident landlord scheme. This is to stop them from withholding tax payments.


How To Manage Tax As An Overseas Landlord?


Your major legal obligation as an overseas landlord is to manage tax implications. 


As discussed earlier, an overseas landlord must register with HMRC under the NRL Scheme. If they don’t, the letting agent or the tenants should hold 20% tax on rental income for overseas landlords


You can also settle the landlord tax through a self-assessment tax return. Or you can reduce the basic tax rate from the rent. Your letting agent or tenant does the rest by filling out the form NRL6. They should provide the tax exemption certificate at the end of the tax year. 


However, the most popular tax payment method is through a tax return. You just have to complete the so-called NRL1 and submit it to HMRC. Once approved by HMRC, your tenant or letting agent will be notified. This way, your tax will not be reduced from the rental income. 


What Are The Challenges Of An Overseas Landlord?

Repairing damages 


It wouldn’t be a big deal if you were a local landlord, but it’s quite a hassle otherwise. Even a small repair should be fixed as soon as possible. Therefore, you have to find a reliable person or company to fix breakdowns when you’re away. 


Note that tenants appreciate prompt responses from their landlords. Delays, especially when it’s detrimental to their needs, will upset tenants. For example, if it’s a pipeline repair, it’s reasonable that they want it fixed immediately.


Property inspection


Another challenge in being an overseas landlord is the property inspection. When tenants leave, they might not always be honest about the property’s condition. It’s important to make sure they don’t leave you with repairs they are responsible for in the first place. Unless you hire professionals to handle property damage, it won’t be sustainable for long.


Communicating with the tenants  


Different time zones are the greatest barriers to timely communication. You may get the best tenants, but communication is key. 


It is inconvenient when you cannot check requests in person, or connect with them immediately. 


Rent collection or eviction


This is one of the most annoying things about being an overseas landlord. If your tenants aren’t regular with their payments, or if they don’t pay at all, it will be an issue.


If the tenant doesn’t pay rent for a long time, you might have to evict them. The eviction process is tedious. You or your representative must be at the court. You won’t be making any revenue when there is an ongoing dispute. Handling a legal dispute as an overseas landlord is expensive and time-consuming. 


Challenges are common for anything, anyone does in business. You either navigate it or hire someone to do the same. The best way forward is to find an agency that can do all this for you. 


How Adjoin Can Help 


Adjoin Homes provides an end-to-end hands-off service from finding you a tenant and prescribing the contractual agreement with them given your requirements, to caretaking the relationship between you and the tenant, while it lasts. 


With adjoin you get a higher rental income, less operating expenses, and a future buyer already in place; who will find it beneficial to buy when prices are up. As a landlord, you too benefit from what we have to offer.


Sounds too good? It is! You can


We’re available for a fruitful conversation to discuss your prospects in detail. Drop an email to now, and we’ll get back to you ASAP!