Advice on renting to family and friends for new landlords

OpenRent research has found that many landlords start out by renting a property to their family, friend, or friends of friends.

Many have no intention of beocming a full-blown landlord at all, but end up falling into it for life!

OpenRent are looking to pull together your best advice for renting properties to friends and family.

Have you done this?
What lessons did you learn the hard way?
Or did it all go perfectly!

Thanks for your help, OpenRent Community :slight_smile:


I have rented to family and friends usually at a cheaper rate as they need the help. It has gone ok for me No need to take a deposit and for them no credit check… Still keep the paperwork in line though as there is still the legal requirement. A good side effect to doing this is that if they ever want to buy a property I can give a good reference in the hope that it may help the building society decide to give them a mortgage

Thanks, Colin. Nice insights!

Hi Sam, you will want to check your mortgage if there is one. Often lenders do not allow lettings to family.


I dont have that problem as I dont have any mortgages. Your relative can even claim housing benefit in one of your properties as long paperwork is all in order

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Great point! I’ll be sure to include that.

If anything you’ll need to be a better landlord when letting to relatives and friends - by that I mean you need to be on top of all the paperwork and legal requirements and maintain the property - these are tenants not just mates! You’ll need to consider if you can face evicting them if they stop paying rent or break the AST. How will being a Landlord affect your family and relationships? Do you want to risk family gatherings becoming landlord-tenant discussions? Do you want your Landlord decisions to be discussed and disagreed with by your other friends or relatives? In my experience of a family rental, when it goes bad it can be very damaging for family relationships. The upside (or downside, depending upon the friend or relative) is that you already know how they live and whether they are reliable payers, but be prepared to see their worst side!!

I have rented to one friend who has now been a tenant for 22 years. My daughter rents a large office off me… another friend was with me 7 years left for a year and is now coming back to a different flat … some other friends rented a place inbetween selling and buying a house I could go on… I treat them no different to anyone else ( apart from my daughter at a 75% Rent reduction !) not come across a worse side, If they pay the rent I am easy going

I rented to the ex of a friend on their request. The new partner acted as guarantor. It was a nightmare of unpaid rent, melted carpets due to fags and disgruntled commercial neighbours. This individual was eventually evicted and I recouped some funds from the Guarantor which caused relationship issues for a while.

After eviction I got plagued by repeated requests to get back in to the point I had to block the numbers etc.

I should have known better and not tried to help out. The tenant concerned was the issue, not the fact I had a connection. My problem was trying to help out a friend and not being objective enough.

Lesson: Be business like, do be swayed by emotional links but only AFTER due diligence.

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I’ve rented to family and regretted it. I wouldn’t do it again. Best not to mix family and business IMO.

Maybe some of you need to change your friends.! You cannot change your family! I have treated it as business and not had a problem

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This is something I would like to do for family at a reduced rate but mortgages are very hard to come by. You need a regulated BTL.

Well exactly my point. If I had treated as business I would have run a mile with all the CCJs. Issue isn’t my friend, it was me bending my own rules. I still have the friend, just will never again rent to his ex.

Read the previous posts ,is letting to family or friends in Scotland who are on universal credit and paying rent directly to landlord allowed as long as everything is above board ? And do you require references from them ? Thanks

yes. references are up to you to decide.

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Years ago in the '90s, I rented my investment flat to my son. No problems.

Had a break from renting and then in 2015 bought another flat and have not rented this to friends or family, nor would I as it is difficult to separate the business from the friendship.

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Relatives and Friends, just don’t do it, I have and was a total disaster, I must accept some of the blame because I did not carry out the normal regular inspections because the tenant was a friend.

Letting to close family is not allowed on standard buy to let mortgages because they become consumer rather than business products, ie regulated by the FCA with tighter regulations.

They are also seen as riskier by mortgage companies because you are less likely to do things right re tenancy agreements etc.

Good guide here:

I must be the only one who has not had a problem renting to family or friends ! I hope I am not speaking too soon !!