Renting Abroad – How Hard Can It Be?
In our view, if you’re considering a permanent move overseas, it’s not a bad idea to rent property before you buy.
You may think you know an area you’ve enjoyed many times on holiday but, although it may be one thing in summer, it can be something else entirely in the depths of winter and it’s a good idea to experience both before you commit to a significant investment.
Some may argue rent is just wasted money; others that you may have to jump through numerous hoops to secure a rental contract abroad and that you could find yourself subsequently tied to accommodation you no longer want to live in.
Home and Away
But, although nation’s regulations differ, in our own (pretty recent) experience it’s the UK and not abroad where renting a property can mean overcoming a mountain of red tape and bureaucracy just to secure a place to live.
For example, the British government has been trying to free more affordable homes for first-time buyers by making it harder for buy-to-let investors to add to their portfolios. There has also been a raft of legislation over the past couple of years, obliging the UK’s landlords not only to enhance the quality of the accommodation they offer but to vet tenants more thoroughly.
As a result, to rent property in the UK, you may now be asked for proof of ID, your credit history, the security of your employment and – if it’s relevant – your immigration status. That may mean producing your birth certificate, your passport, your driving licence or even your last P60. If you’re from overseas, you’ll need a residents permit and proof of your right to rent in the UK as well.
You may also be asked for a reference from a former landlord and you will also be expected to pay a substantial bond in advance. At the moment, you may also have to pay a letting agent’s fee to cover the cost of checking out your background.
But, if you take Turkey as an example, then there a considerably fewer checks and obstacles to overcome.
You will be expected to produce your passport as, by law, your landlord needs to pass details of those staying in their accommodation to the security services. However, other than that, there are few statutory checks to worry about – and many landlords don’t ask for a deposit or a bond either.
Naturally, we would thoroughly recommend entering into a written contract with your landlord, if possible also including a clause on agreed incremental rent increases. It could save a lot of argument and upset at a later date.
Also, although you may be asked or even told that you must pay a whole year’s rent up-front, it’s not always advisable and leaves you exposed should your circumstances change unexpectedly.
In Portugal, you’ll need a Portuguese fiscal number from the local tax office and you will be expected to sign a rental contract with your landlord, outlining details of the tenancy. Your nationality and date of birth will also be included.
But, if you’ve decided on a new life overseas and you’re considering a prolonged scouting mission in advance, we’d venture that there will be fewer complications when it comes to renting overseas than you may expect.
Don’t forget we’re here to help if you’d like advice on a new home in Portugal, Spain, Turkey or Greece; we don’t offer rental properties but we have connections we can tap into if required so feel free to drop us a line or give us call if you think we can assist.
In the meantime, if you know anyone who may be considering a move abroad, feel free to share this blog with them or to post on your social media channels. Every little helps, as they say …