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A blog containing news about Western Lettings (an award winning letting agency in Glasgow) as well as useful information and resources for landlords and tenants.
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If you are a landlord in Scotland you may decide to use a professional letting agent to rent out or manage your property. However there are many letting agents out there, so how do you decide which one will be best at providing the services you need. Follow these 8 simple rules to ensure you […] The post 8 Simple Rules for Finding the Best Letting Agent appeared first on Western...
If you are a landlord in Scotland you may decide to use a professional letting agent to rent out or manage your property. However there are many letting agents out there, so how do you decide which one will be best at providing the services you need. Follow these 8 simple rules to ensure you find a letting agent that is effective in the most important aspects of letting and managing a property.
It is usually best to choose a letting agent local to the property you are renting out. They will know the area well and be able to use their local knowledge to sell your property to new clients. They will understand the rental market for property in the area and know which properties will attract a lot of interest and which ones won’t. This means they will be best placed to estimate with some accuracy the rent you are likely to achieve and also the best ways to maximise your rental income.
Letting agent license
Changes to the law mean that from 1st October 2018, letting agencies must be registered on the Scottish Letting Agent Register. Currently only 73 out of approximately 1200 letting agents in Scotland have been granted a license. Always remember to check the register before signing up.
Good letting agents will always place a strong emphasis on staff training and development. A company with staff with industry qualifications is a good sign that this is happening. As award winning letting agents in Glasgow, Western Lettings fully support staff to ensure they pass ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) level 6, within 6 months of starting with us. We firmly believe that well trained staff will always provide a superior level of service.
Choosing a company that is able to provide virtual tours is a distinct advantage. There is nothing more engaging to prospective tenants than a 360-degree virtual tour of a property. Tenants spend more than two thirds of their time online when searching for a property to rent. Being able to view properties in this way is definitely a bonus. It provides the convenience of a ‘first viewing’ from the comfort of their own home. It is also a way of quickly streamlining prospective clients, into those with real intentions of renting your property. Not many letting agencies currently offer this service but if they do, remember to check if they charge extra for it. At Western Lettings we provide this service alongside traditional marketing at no extra cost.
Advertising portal exposure
No landlord wants an empty property. It is therefore important that, when required, new tenants can be found quickly. Always check where a letting agent will advertise your property and how much it will cost. Good letting agents will always prefer to use lots of different advertising portals to provide maximum exposure for your property whereas some letting agents use very few. It is important you get this information in order to compare like for like.
Being a landlord can involve a lot of paperwork. A ‘Landlord portal’ is a secure area, accessed via an online landlord login, where landlords can view, download and print important documents such as
- Monthly rental statements
- Compliance safety certificates e.g. EICR, gas safety certificate, PAT testing, fire risk assessment etc.
- Property inventories
- Tenancy agreement
- Property inspection reports
- Invoices for property repairs. Allowing landlords to quickly view historic data on how much they have spent on their properties over the years
This is a really useful facility for all landlords but particularly if you are an overseas landlord. It will provide a convenient way of accessing and keeping track of all crucial information relating to your properties.
Membership of professional body
It is always important to check if a letting agent is part of a professional body such as ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents). This is because members will be required to adhere to particular codes of professional conduct. They will have guarantees in place to protect landlord and tenant monies.
Deposit lodged in approved scheme
By law, the deposit paid by tenants on a rental property must be registered with a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. Make sure you ask potential letting agents for details of the schemes that they use. Also check that they will supply confirmation when a deposit has been registered.
If you are a landlord and need experienced letting agents to let or manage your property, Western Lettings would love to hear from you. We are highly trained, licensed, award winning ALRA registered, letting agents in Glasgow. Get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436
Most landlords want to achieve the best possible rental income from their property but sometimes struggle to attract new tenants at the price they would like. As experienced letting agents in Glasgow we know the rental market extremely well and can advise and help our clients make the changes needed to get the best price. […] The post Top Tips to Increase the Rental Value of Your Property appeared first on Western...
Most landlords want to achieve the best possible rental income from their property but sometimes struggle to attract new tenants at the price they would like. As experienced letting agents in Glasgow we know the rental market extremely well and can advise and help our clients make the changes needed to get the best price. Here are some of our top tips:
- Always make sure your property is in pristine condition from top to bottom. Give everywhere a really deep clean paying particular attention to the kitchen and bathroom areas. Bad smells and general uncleanliness are very off putting for potential tenants. Cleaning properly takes time and effort so if you are unable or don’t want to do this yourself, arrange for a professional cleaning company to do it for you.
- Redecorate tired rooms with a fresh coat of paint to make them instantly brighter and cleaner looking. It is usually best to keep colours fairly neutral to appeal to the largest number of people. Similarly either replace or thoroughly clean any old flooring or dirty stained carpets.
- Remove all unnecessary clutter from your property to make rooms appear as spacious as possible. In addition try to find ways of increasing the amount of free storage space. As tenants view a property they will be looking out for adequate space to hold all their own personal items. If you can, convert any nooks and crannies into usable storage areas and add shelving to any large cupboards.
- It goes without saying that any damp problems should always be dealt with properly by professionals. Patch up jobs rarely work for very long and it is always much better to fix the root cause of the damp problem rather than try and disguise it. As well as damaging your property long term, dampness has a very distinctive smell which will definitely deter tenants.
- If your property is furnished, make sure the quality of the furniture is up to the standard that the tenants you hope to attract would expect. Old worn out sofas or chipped wardrobes can be very off putting to potential tenants. Replacing old scruffy items with new or good quality second hand ones can be relatively inexpensive but make a big difference to the rent that can be achieved.
- Adding a few carefully chosen soft furnishings e.g. contrasting cushions on the sofa, soft throws etc. and some nice lamps in the living areas can add a touch of colour and interest to a property. Just be careful to not go overboard as tenants will usually want to be able to stamp some of their own style on their new home.
- If there is space, providing extras such as a dishwasher or tumble dryer etc. can be a good idea. Tenants will often be willing to pay a bit more for the convenience these items offer.
- If your property is in a block of flats and it doesn’t have a communal door entry system it might be worth trying to arrange with the other flat owners to get one installed. Many people will be prepared to pay a bit more rent for the peace of mind that comes from having a security system which regulates who has access to the building.
If you are a landlord looking for help to let and manage your property we’d love to hear from you. We are an award winning letting agents in Glasgow and can guide you through the whole process from start to finish. Get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436
The post Top Tips to Increase the Rental Value of Your Property appeared first on Western Lettings.
To start up a new business and turn it into a success is challenging and usually requires a person with lots of energy, determination, resilience and guts. Jack Gallagher founder of award winning independent letting agents Western Lettings in Glasgow will be relying on these very traits to help him succeed in his latest adventure, […] The post Western Lettings – Race to Alaska appeared first on Western...
To start up a new business and turn it into a success is challenging and usually requires a person with lots of energy, determination, resilience and guts. Jack Gallagher founder of award winning independent letting agents Western Lettings in Glasgow will be relying on these very traits to help him succeed in his latest adventure, the R2AK boat race from Washington State to Alaska starting on 14th June 2018
What is the Race to Alaska (R2AK)
This is a North America’s longest wind powered race following a centuries old route first paddled by native canoes and later by endless prospectors wanting to make their fortune during the Klondike gold rush. The R2AK race is open to any type of boat without an engine e.g. sails, oars or paddles. The rules of the race are that it is to be completely self- supported which means that pre-arranged services or supply drops along the route are not allowed. The route itself is particularly brutal with killer whales, 20 miles an hour tidal currents as well as freighters and grizzly bears to be avoided. With no official safety net to help boats who get into difficulty good planning and preparation are essential skills. With this in mind it is not surprising that not all teams on the start line manage to complete the route. In fact last year 41 boats started and only 27 finished!
Although there is no official course, the following waypoints must be reached
Part 1: Start 14th June – Port Townsend to Victoria BC (40 miles)
Part 2: Starts 17th June – Victoria to Ketchikan (Alaska) (710 miles)
Jack is one of a team of 4 experienced sailors forming team Ptarmigan. All of the team members with the exception of Jack are from Colorado. They will be sailing in a Trimaran F28. This type of sailboat has 3 hulls and can move incredibly fast across the water. If you would like to follow Ptarmigan, each boat carries a satellite tracker and interactive maps are updated every 15 minutes – (tracker.r2ak.com). You can also follow team Ptarmigan on Instagram.
Letting Agent and Experienced Sailor
As well as running a very successful letting agents in Glasgow, Jack is an experienced sailor with over 30 years under his belt. During the summer months he loves to sail every weekend and if possible at least one evening a week. He also tries to fit in one big trip per year, usually somewhere in Scotland. Competing is not new to Jack and his boat on the river Clyde regularly wins major regattas and as well as the UK class championships in 2016. However the R2AK is a race like no other so even with decades of sailing experience between them, the Ptarmigan team have put in some serious preparation work including a month long training trip to California in April.
Jack says “I am really looking forward to this latest Alaskan challenge. I’m sure that it will test all our sailing skills to the absolute max. Hopefully we will have done enough training for team Ptarmigan to perform well. We are also really looking forward to a more relaxed week long trip home on a 60 foot sailboat with plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic wildlife and stunning scenery that Alaska has to offer.”
When renting a property, there are a number of considerations to take into account e.g. where you want to live, transport links, rent costs etc. It is also important to know your rights and obligations as a tenant. A good letting agent will be able to offer impartial advice on these and many other issues. Where […] The post Top Tips for Tenants: What You Need to Know appeared first on Western...
When renting a property, there are a number of considerations to take into account e.g. where you want to live, transport links, rent costs etc. It is also important to know your rights and obligations as a tenant. A good letting agent will be able to offer impartial advice on these and many other issues.
Where to live and how to view
Thorough research is key. Create a list of the things that are the most important to you such as good schools, availability of public transport etc. Share your list with your letting agent who can act on your priorities.
When viewing properties, try to be flexible. Properties can be snapped up in a matter of days and therefore be prepared to be as available as possible – this often entails viewing a property within a day of being notified by your letting agent.
Letting agent or private landlord
It can be tough to decide whether to rent via an agency or private landlord. Letting agencies are aware of legal regulations and are up to date on current legislation affecting tenancies. They are also more reliable and easily contactable. Private landlords may have limited experience in terms of issues arising throughout the tenancy. In addition, letting agents will have dealt with many tenancies in the past and know how to best tackle any problems arising.
You are entitled to a written contract between tenant and letting agency/landlord known as the Tenancy Agreement. This sets out your rights and responsibilities when renting a property. It will include information such as the landlord/letting agent’s contact details, tenancy start date, the process by which the tenancy may be terminated and the rent. (The rent in tenancies created after the 1st December 2017 may be increased no more than once every 12 months, and you must be given three months’ notice of this decision.)
Your tenancy agreement should have a ‘Plain English’ Crystal Mark allowing for the agreement to be easily understood.
It is common for letting agents and landlords to request a deposit which is a sum of money acting as a guarantee against damage caused by you to the property or unpaid bills and rent. Your deposit cannot equate to more than two months’ rent. Scots law requires landlords to register your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme for the duration of your tenancy. Request a written receipt for your deposit and keep it safe.
If not already provided, ask your landlord for an inventory. The inventory is a list of furniture and contents provided by the landlord (in the case of furnished properties) and the condition they are in. Otherwise, it records the general condition of each aspect of the property. Check your inventory as soon as possible and report any discrepancies to your letting agent or landlord. It is also worth taking photos when you move into the property as proof of the original condition.
Keep a copy of your signed inventory and highlight any issues to your letting agent or landlord immediately.
Who is responsible for repairs
Tenants must look after their property. However, landlords are responsible for repair work needing done. It is your responsibility to notify your landlord/agent of any problems. The landlord is not responsible for damage caused by the tenant, an act of god or a third party.
The landlord must ensure the property meets the requirements of the “repairing standard.” These are guidelines issued by the Scottish government and include the need for the property to be wind and watertight, structurally sound and have suitable smoke/fire detectors.
How long can my tenancy last
Since December 2017, all new tenancies created are open-ended which means a landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave simply because a fixed period has expired. However they can ask you to leave for other reasons e.g. they wish to sell the property, want to live in the property themselves or want to carry out major refurbishments etc. The amount of notice your landlord has to give you will depend on how long you’ve lived in the property and the grounds your landlord is using to evict you. If you want to end the tenancy, you must give your landlord/letting agent at least 28 days’ notice. This period can be reduced if you ask for shorter notice and it is agreed in writing.
If you are planning on renting a property and need some help please feel free to get in touch. Western Lettings is an independent award winning Letting agency in Glasgow. Our lettings team is friendly, very knowledgeable and will work hard to help you find the perfect new home.
We attended the ESTAS awards in London last week and Western Lettings won gold for both Letting Agent Landlord Scotland and Letting Agent Tenant Scotland. This was an incredible achievement and very successful trip away! As Phil Spencer said at the awards “The ESTAS are special because shortlisted and winning firms are selected purely […] The post ESTAS winners 2018! appeared first on Western...
We attended the ESTAS awards in London last week and Western Lettings won gold for both Letting Agent Landlord Scotland and Letting Agent Tenant Scotland. This was an incredible achievement and very successful trip away!
As Phil Spencer said at the awards “The ESTAS are special because shortlisted and winning firms are selected purely on the service you deliver to your clients. Real feedback from real customers experiencing real service, I don’t think there can be a greater honour in the industry than to receive an award based on that mantra.
Whether you are an inexperienced first time landlord or a go it alone landlord who is fed up with the hassle of dealing with weekend maintenance calls, hiring a property management company to take care of your property and your tenants can be the perfect solution. Here are 8 great reasons why making the move […] The post 8 Reasons Landlords Need a Property Management Company appeared first on Western...
Whether you are an inexperienced first time landlord or a go it alone landlord who is fed up with the hassle of dealing with weekend maintenance calls, hiring a property management company to take care of your property and your tenants can be the perfect solution. Here are 8 great reasons why making the move to this style of property management can make really good sense.
1. Better screening of tenants
First impressions can be deceptive and even the most plausible, honest looking people can prove to be difficult tenants. This is why property management companies or letting agents always take screening of potential tenants very seriously. A good company will carry out credit checks and evaluate references to make sure the chances of taking on responsible, reliable good quality tenants is as high as possible. After all, a tenant who pays their rent on time and takes care of your property is not only good for you, but is also a lot less hassle for a property management company.
2. Ensuring legal safety requirements are met
There are a number of safety regulations that need to be met before a property can be let e.g. electrical inspection (EICR), energy performance certificate (EPC), landlord gas safety inspection, Legionella risk assessment and the correct number of carbon monoxide and smoke/heat detectors. A property management company will advice on all current safety regulations and can arrange the necessary checks to be carried out to ensure that your property is fully compliant. They can also coordinate any work required to resolve any issues that are found.
3. Quicker occupancy rates
It is the job of a property management company to help you achieve the best financial return on your property. To do this they need to ensure that your property has quality tenants in place, paying rent, as quickly as possible. This means they will work hard to help you get your property ready for the rental market. They will ensure that it meets all legal requirements and is presented to its best advantage. They will then advertise it on a number of popular letting sites so that it is seen by as many potential tenants as possible. At the end of a tenancy a good property management company will also have a set of processes in place to check tenants out of a property quickly and efficiently, ensuring that it is left in tip top condition, or if required, brought back up to standard quickly, ready for the next tenants to move in.
4. Higher rental values
Letting agents understand and keep a close eye on market conditions and property demands in your local area. They will quickly be able to establish the current rental value of your property. They can also offer advice on easy ways to maximise your rental income e.g. freshening up the rooms with a coat of paint or replacing worn out carpets or flooring. They can even arrange tradesmen to carry out this work for you.
5. Better maintenance of your property
When there is a problem in your property e.g. the heating stops working or the washing machine breaks down, action is needed quickly. This can be difficult if you are working, on holiday or just plain busy and it can also be difficult finding the right person to deal with the problem. A property management company will have access to a network of fully qualified tradesmen they can get in touch with to fix the problem. They will also take on the task of liaising with the tenants to agree a suitable time when the property can be accessed in order to carry out the repairs, saving you a whole lot of time and hassle. They will also carry out periodic inspections to check that the general standard of your property is being maintained throughout the length of the tenancy.
6. Not having to deal with tenants face to face
Having a property manager as the point of contact for tenants can take away a lot of the stress of being a landlord. All tenant interactions can be dealt with professionally without you having to deal with uncomfortable or confrontational conversations about late rent payments, evictions or unreasonable damage to your property.
7. Ensuring rent is paid on time
Ensuring that rent is collected every month is a key concern for many property owners. This is where a property management company can be useful as a buffer between you and a late paying tenant. They will be very familiar with this type of situation and can usually employ tactics to resolve the situation in a professional manner before it escalates further or becomes personal. On the very rare occasion that no resolution can be found they will start legal proceedings on your behalf, to get the tenant evicted.
8. Providing a robust tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your tenants and is required by law. It protects your property, sets out your obligations and that of your tenants and prevents potential disputes happening in the future. A property management company can help you draw up a tenancy agreement for your property. It will contain standard items e.g. the start date of the tenancy, when the rent is due, the notice period etc. but it can also contain items pertinent to your particular property e.g. whether pets are permitted. New tenants will not be allowed the keys to your property until they have signed this document.
Choosing to go down the route of a property management company is a big decision and it is not for everyone. But if you do decide that this is for you, then it is important to remember that not every company will offer the same level of service. Take your time and do your homework because when you do find the right property management company, you may wonder why you ever considered managing your property on your own.
Western Lettings is a small independent Property Management Company in the West End of Glasgow. We are ARLA accredited and specialise in letting and managing property throughout the city. Please feel free to contact us for more information about our landlord services.
The post 8 Reasons Landlords Need a Property Management Company appeared first on Western Lettings.
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