Will moving abroad and letting out our UK home affect my mortgage?

Would I have to get a buy-to-let mortgage if I buy a house to live in for a couple of years, move abroad, then return to the same house when I get back?
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Question: I am looking to buy a family home this year with a mortgage from the bank. Within the next few years I also see myself being seconded to an overseas office for two or three years. If I buy a house, and later have to move abroad for a while, I obviously would like to let the house. Is this likely to cause a problem with my mortgage and is it going to be difficult if I am not living in the property? The intention is that when I move back to the UK I will live in the same house.
Answer: If you are going to let a house, then generally a buy-to-let mortgage is necessary. Often the interest rate for buy-to-let mortgages is higher.
You really need a residential mortgage now to enable you to buy your family home, and then when you move overseas and let out your property, the bank is likely to wish to convert that mortgage to a buy-to-let.
It is most important that you advise your bank of your plans. It will be necessary for you to satisfy the bank’s lending criteria.
When you let the property, the bank will wish to ensure that this is done in a formal manner and that there is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in place to protect the interests of the bank.
Remember that even though you will be living overseas, the rental income from your property in the UK will be taxed at your personal tax rate and, unless you register with the Non-resident Landlords Scheme, you will not receive the gross rent as your tenant or letting agent will have to withhold basic rate tax and pay it to HMRC.
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If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (fiona.mcnulty@footanstey.com)
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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