Broadly , the guidance permits landlords & Letting Agents to carry out normal business activities provided that social distancing and hygiene rules are observed. The Scottish Government has made changes to the PRT to reflect the extension of the Coronovirus ( Scotland ) Act to March 31st 2021. There is no requirement to issue details of the changes to current tenants or provide tenants with a new lease.
As expected this sector has come under increasing scrutiny and an announcement has been made in Parliament that the Scottish Government will introduce licencing for short term lets. At present the main focus has been on mandatory safety components with further conditions to be imposed on the overcrowding of properties and the effect on the local environment.
Local authorities will have the power to introduce short term let control areas within which planning consent will have to be given for the change of use of properties for the purpose of short term letting.
Also under review is the tax treatment of short term lets to ensure that they make a contribution to the areas they operate within.
The date for implementation is likely to be April 2021.
Any landlords seeking information about moving their properties to a long term let should contact Rentlocally for the most advantageous terms.
Every year about this time , tenants report weather related issues more frequently. It certainly has been quite a wet autumn and now with falling temperatures this is the time to take some simple but effective action to help ensure a trouble free winter. With so many leaves having fallen the gutters are a prime area for focus as they can become blocked and rainwater may seep over the gutter or worse drip behind it getting into cracks in the walls and producing dampness. A visual inspection of any lower down drainage gutters should be conducted and if the upper level ones havent been looked at for a while it might be a good idea to get a specialist in to clean them out.
All outside pipes are prone to freezing even quite well insulated ones so its best to isolate them and turn them off. Modern condensate pipes are fairly robust and often have an inner and outside lining but if there is not sufficient protection they will freeze and the boiler will shut down.
Check all radiators for cold spots. They might just need bled and you can get a key from your Agent or in many cases a flat head screwdiver will be all thats needed. Keep a towel handy to catch the water.
Get a boiler service , always a good idea even if theres nothing obviously wrong.
Check the roof. Missing slates and tiles are often missed but this is where the rain and snow can do damage over time.
Rentlocally will be making certain that our tenants know how to obtain help if its needed as we offer a live 24/7 help line and that any repairs issues can be reported via the website. Landlords should check their insurance policy and review any excess or exclusion for their own peace of mind. We hope its a kind winter but always best to do some advance planning. If you need us to deal with any of the issues highlighted please contact us on the usual numbers.
We have been informed that Safe Deposits Scotland will inform a tenant if their deposit has been lodged outwith the 30 working day timescale. To clarify this , the 30 day period counts down from the start date of the lease. Rentlocally forwards the deposits to SDS every 4 weeks so we are well within the official timescales. One of the things this does flag up however are possible problems arising where a landlord has applied for Registration but does not yet have a number. Landlords are therefore advised to effect their registration application as soon as possible and ideally well in advance of their properties coming to market.
From 1 April 2018, any new tenancy, renewal or extension, in order to be rented, the building must have a minimum energy rating of “E”. The rating is found on the Energy performance Certificate for the building.
From 1 April 2020, the minimum level “E” applies to all tenancies – including existing.
As a side note, non-domestic properties are required to have a minimum “E” rating from 1 April 2018 for all new tenancies, rentals and extensions. From 1 April 2023, all non-domestic lettings (including existing) must be at an “E” rating
Hard work has paid off for our dedicated property management team as Liz , Jacqui , Ailsa , Shelley and Laurie all achieved their Property mark level 6 qualifications in Residential letting & Property Management. Each one of them studied hard to attain these and the certificates are proudly displayed in our foyer. Well done all.
In these times of uncertainty with some landlords having to consider their position , the expectation that their Agents will do more than just collect the rent has never been higher. So what exactly are they looking for ?
It would be easy to use the term service but what does that actually entail. A recent survey has identified a number of things that add up to something tangible and in essence heres what it concluded.
Landlords want their Agents to be available. If they call in or they email they need a response , not in a day or so but more or less immediately. Even if its just to say the enquiry has been received and is being worked on. Its top of the list of frustrations it would seem and a good telephone answering service either in Office or at a Call centre is a must. Problems dont just arise during normal business hours as we all know. Landlords want transparency , are their properties at the right rent , are the tenants happy , does their Agent proactively report back to them on things like this.
All Landlords hate arrears and even more so if they drag on. A good Agent will be all over this in an effort to solve a problem before it gets out of hand. If the landlord knows the issues they can make better decisions about how they want to proceed.
Better Letting for Rentlocally at least , means being expert in the local market , providing clients with market analysis and generally being better at sharing information to help our customers understand the challenges and the successes that we are having. Every single property is as important as the next one so the general rule is to treat all equally wherever they come in the rental scale. Our business depends on it as client loyalty is something to be valued.
Lastly service means using the technology well. Not over complicated but specific to the needs of the landlord. A user dashboard such as our own is great for giving landlords immediate access to their own account in which they can track rental payments and view Inspection reports. Even better for non resident Landlords !
If you want to see how this works please give us a ring and we can arrange a demo for you.
As the 31st of October draws near and frankly we seem no closer to knowing what the outcome of the last three years negotiations might be , this is a good time to appraise what if any impact the uncertainly has had on Scotlands PRS. The data seems to suggest that the answer is none whatsoever which is not entirely surprising. Tenants still need flats and landlords still need tenants it was ever thus. Things might change if the UK were to go into recession but theres no sign of that happening and in fact the indicators all point to a growing private rented sector in Scotland with rents at record level highs. Edinburgh seems to have its own life support system pumping oxygen into the market with big student numbers swelling demand for HMO properties and average rents ( non HMO ) peaking at around £1200 a month. Would be landlords take note ! It is fair to say that there are fewer new landlords entering the market just now which is probably Brexit related but once the dust settles that position will probably go into reverse. Where else are you going to get yeilds of 5 and 6 percent on your investment and a decent underlying rate of growth in the value of your purchase. Looking at time to let , its all very subjective. The better presented the property , the quicker it lets. Some go in a day others take a month. A bit of pre letting preparation can have a big effect and clean , fresh flats create the right impression. If any landlords out there want an appraisal as regards what could be done to improve their properties on a budget please get in touch. Anyone watching the news recently will have seen a number of reports on the acute shortage of affordable housing throughout the UK but Scotland is doing pretty well on that subject with some exceptional new projects coming to completion under the Build to Rent scheme. Credit is due to the National Housing Trust and the Scottish Futures Trust supported by the Scottish Government.
All letting agents in Scotland must now be signed up to a new register in order to trade legally.
The Letting Agent Code of Practice was introduced on January 31, but all agencies had until yesterday to register.
It is now a criminal offence for agents in Scotland to carry out letting agency work if they have not applied or are not registered on the Register of Letting Agents. Those breaking the rules could face a fine of up to £50,000 and up to six months imprisonment.
If you have not applied for registration and have no intention of doing so perhaps you are looking for an Agent to buy your portfolio . If so we would be delighted to hear from you.
Its a common enough scenario , two persons sharing and one decides to leave. Under the terms of the PRT it would seem that under these circumstances not only must the departing tenant give notice but in fact all parties must do so to effectively end the PRT. This may be an unforeseen consequence of the legislation but until its resolved it has pretty far reaching implications for the tenant who leaves because his / her liability for the payment of rent and so on continues regardless. There are several solutions available which involve agreement between the landlord and their tenants the most obvious of which is the assignation of the tenants interest to someone else , that person being their replacement but its complicated and gets even more so when organising return of deposits and signing up to the original terms of the PRT. We shall watch how this develops and post again if further changes are implemented to keep our landlords fully aware of any changes.