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Western Lettings - Letting Agents Blog

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  • 0141 357 0436
  • J Gallagher
  • May 01, 2018 01:24:47 PM

A Little About Us

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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    Lets Talk Podcast with Jack Gallagher

    In this short podcast, Jack Gallagher, founder of Western Lettings, chats to Gillian Semmler about his company’s ‘highly commended’ award at this year’s Scottish Home Awards. He also chats about starting his letting agents in 2008 with the motto “do […] The post Lets Talk Podcast with Jack Gallagher appeared first on Western...

    In this short podcast, Jack Gallagher, founder of Western Lettings, chats to Gillian Semmler about his company’s ‘highly commended’ award at this year’s Scottish Home Awards. He also chats about starting his letting agents in 2008 with the motto “do one thing well.” He believes that taking this approach and concentrating solely on providing good quality tailored services for landlords and tenants is the reason for Western Lettings continued success.

    Multi Award Winning Letting Agents

    Western Lettings is a multi award winning letting agent in Glasgow. Jack chats about some of his recent industry awards including the Negotiator Awards and the ESTAs. He is particularly proud of being the first letting agent in Scotland to achieve the prestigious Investors in People GOLD Accreditation (IIP).

    Glasgow Lettings Market and the Pandemic

    Jack also chats to Gillian about the effect the pandemic has had on the Glasgow letting market. He discusses whether he has seen any change in the types of properties that private renters in Glasgow are looking for. He also gives his predictions on how the lettings market will perform in the early part of 2021.

     

    The post Lets Talk Podcast with Jack Gallagher appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Residential Letting Team of the Year – Highly Commended

    Western Lettings is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the category ‘Residential Letting Team of the Year’ at this year’s Scottish Home Awards. We are extremely proud of this achievement, particularly as we were short-listed […] The post Residential Letting Team of the Year – Highly Commended appeared first on Western...

    Western Lettings is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the category ‘Residential Letting Team of the Year’ at this year’s Scottish Home Awards. We are extremely proud of this achievement, particularly as we were short-listed against some very stiff competition in the letting agents industry.

    As you would expect, the format of this year’s event was slightly different from previous ones. The ceremony was broadcast live from the ballroom at Glasgow’s DoubleTree by Hilton with teams of letting agents joining in virtually from home. The prestigious annual event arranged by KD Media was superbly hosted this year by Glasgow comedian Des Clarke. Des kept us all highly entertained throughout the ceremony as well as doing the important task of presenting the awards and interviewing the winners.

    This is the third year the award ‘Residential Letting Team of the Year’ has been sponsored by Citylets, with this year seeing the highest ever number of entries. The award ‘Residential Letting Team of the Year’ was won by our friends in Edinburgh, Umega Lettings. Western Lettings received a special award of ‘Highly Commended’. We feel very honoured and humbled to have achieved this commendation, particularly with the standard of nominations being so high.

    Commenting on the award, Jack Gallagher (Director of Western Lettings) said, “Our team really enjoyed the virtual awards ceremony, so many thanks to all at KD Media for pulling it off.  We were all very pleased to receive the ‘highly commended’ award with such a star-studded short-list.”

    Without a doubt, 2020 has been a very difficult year for many businesses. An award like this is important because it acknowledges all the hard work, extra effort and professional services provided by letting agents throughout the country. Western Lettings couldn’t be more proud to be part of this year’s event and to win this fabulous commendation.

     

    Western Lettings is a multi-award winning letting agents in Glasgow. Please get in touch if you would like more information about our property letting and property management services.

    The post Residential Letting Team of the Year – Highly Commended appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Has Covid-19 Changed What We Want From Our Homes?

    The Central Belt is back under tight local lockdown restrictions.  With working from home recommended and most hospitality shut or severely restricted, we are once again spending most of our time confined to our flats and houses. But has the […] The post Has Covid-19 Changed What We Want From Our Homes? appeared first on Western...

    The Central Belt is back under tight local lockdown restrictions.  With working from home recommended and most hospitality shut or severely restricted, we are once again spending most of our time confined to our flats and houses. But has the way we are currently forced to live changed how we feel about our homes? As a leading letting agent in Glasgow, we are in a good position to spot changes in the property rental market. We see first-hand the kinds of properties that are attracting the most attention.

    More Space

    The underlying message, not surprisingly, seems to be that buyers and renters want more space. This may not be a permanent change, but coronavirus is certainly making many people think about how and where they work and live.

    With city-centre accommodation tending to be less spacious, it is not surprising that Rightmove, the UK property website, has reported a significant rise in the number of people searching for homes further from town and city centres. Popular properties tend to come with larger gardens and space for a home office.

    In addition, many of us have come round to the conclusion that we can work very effectively from home. More importantly, many of our employers are in agreement. With no detriment to business and individuals saving time and money on the commute into the office, this seems like a win/win scenario. This is already having an influence on the market. The switch to working from home, even on a part-time basis, is driving the desire for additional space.

    What all this means is that in many cases the home is no longer considered a refuge from work. For many, it is doubling up as an office space, a classroom, or even a gym! With the desire to have a separate room or adequate space for these new activities, “space, space, space” is becoming the new mantra similar to the ever-popular, “location, location, location”.

    Location

    Many potential buyers and renters are embracing the idea of a new way of living. However, despite an increase in people searching for homes further from city centres and towns, there is still a desire with a significant part of the rental population to be close to city centre attractions. Alongside this however, is the desire to find locations close to outside green space. The health and wellbeing benefits of having easy access to parks, playgrounds, gardens etc. during this pandemic, have been well documented.

    Property Type

    With limited access to restaurants and cafes, home cooking has become the norm. Having an open-plan living and kitchen area at the heart of a property is becoming increasingly popular and will remain a design staple throughout this pandemic and probably beyond. As you would expect, homes with gardens, balconies, terraces and private roof decks, which are already prized amenities for any prospective buyer, have become even more in demand in recent months.

    Responsive Letting Agents

    With reference to the rental market, a good letting agent has always been appreciated by both landlords and tenants. However, with all of us forced to spend a lot more time indoors, a property manager who can be relied on to act quickly when a shower breaks or a lock sticks can greatly reduce the stress and anxiety felt during these difficult times. Similarly, a fast response to emails or phone calls can help keep the blood pressure down as we all struggle to manage the effects of this pandemic. With everything else that is worrying us at this time, it helps to know that there is a safe pair of hands looking after your property and tenants.

     

    Western Lettings is a multi-award winning letting agents in Glasgow. Please get in touch if you would like more information about our property letting and property management services.

    The post Has Covid-19 Changed What We Want From Our Homes? appeared first on Western Lettings.


    COVID-19: Latest Information for Landlords and Tenants in Glasgow

    COVID 19 has had a big impact on the Glasgow rental property market. One of the main issues for landlords and letting agents at the start of lockdown was the pausing of ‘in person’ property viewings. Fortunately, we were already […] The post COVID-19: Latest Information for Landlords and Tenants in Glasgow appeared first on Western...

    COVID 19 has had a big impact on the Glasgow rental property market. One of the main issues for landlords and letting agents at the start of lockdown was the pausing of ‘in person’ property viewings. Fortunately, we were already set up to market all our new properties with virtual tours, as part of our normal service. Even so, with most of our staff now working from home we had to make a number of other changes to our working practices. We updated our website with extra guidance for landlords and tenants and also increased the number of key processes that could be carried out online.

    However, since those early days, many restrictions have eased. Significantly, the Scottish Government announced that house moves could resume from 29th June. Then on the 9th July 2020 they published more specific guidance for the rental sector which contained key information for landlords and tenants.

    Key Points

    In Person Viewings

      • ‘In person’ property viewings are now permitted. However, virtual viewing should still be the preferred choice for first viewings. In person viewings should only take place where there is no other alternative and there is a strong likelihood of renting.
      • Anyone who does view a property must comply with the latest Scottish Governments guidelines on physical distancing and the use of face masks.
      • ‘In person’ viewings are not allowed in properties with tenants who are either showing COVID symptoms or have been asked to self-isolate.

    Between Tenancies

      • Where possible repairs, gas and electricals safety checks and EPCs should be carried out in the period between an old tenant moving out and a new tenant moving in.
      • If possible, letting agents should consider obtaining landlord and tenant consent for inventory appointments to occur before a tenant moves in or after a tenant moves out.
      • Properties should be deep cleaned in the period between new tenancies

    Repairs & Health & Safety Inspections

      • As mentioned, the preferred option is to carry out repairs, gas and electrical safety checks etc. between tenancies or when the property is unoccupied. When this is not possible, measures should be in place to ensure physical distancing is maintained e.g. residents keep to another room etc.
      • Landlords should make every effort to comply with electrical and gas safety requirements. Where a tenant has COVID symptoms or is self-isolating and work cannot be carried out, landlords will not be in breach so long as they can show that they have taken reasonable steps to comply.
      • Work should not go ahead if either the contractor of any of the tenants are showing symptoms of COVID or are self- isolating
      • Any tradespeople required to entering people’s homes must observe social distancing, use appropriate and proportionate protective equipment, and follow the guidance on sanitation.

     

    Although it is clear that restrictions in Scotland have eased, the situation remains very fragile. In fact, Glasgow is currently under a ‘local lockdown’ with additional restrictions on who can enter a household. For now, the guidelines for tenanted properties are not affected, but this could change. The local restrictions are set to be in place for an initial 2 week period but the Scottish Government has not ruled out further action if it believes additional measures are required. Unfortunately, it seems likely that the impact of COVID 19 will be with us for some time to come.

    Western Lettings is a highly accredited letting agency in Glasgow specialising in property letting and property management.  If you want to find out more about our services, please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436

    The post COVID-19: Latest Information for Landlords and Tenants in Glasgow appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Lockdown Lowdown – May Update

    We’re now two months into lockdown and it has been a month since our last update.  It’s time to say a few words about our operations and the levels of activity that we’re seeing in the market. Operations We haven’t […] The post Lockdown Lowdown – May Update appeared first on Western...

    We’re now two months into lockdown and it has been a month since our last update.  It’s time to say a few words about our operations and the levels of activity that we’re seeing in the market.

    Operations

    We haven’t had to change much since we first adapted our processes in the initial phase of the lockdown.  We’re still using virtual tours in place of physical viewings as a starting point for tenant applicants.  All our marketed properties have virtual tours and we’ve made a few website improvements to guide tenants to our online note of interest form.  After satisfactory online processing, tenants can move into their new home without any contact.  Our contactless tenant processing is working well, with Western Lettings handling 15% of all let agreed transactions in Glasgow in the first two weeks of May.  For context, we take care of approximately 2% of the managed rental stock in the city.  We’re expecting widespread adoption of virtual tour technology across the sector in the months to come, with tenants becoming increasingly comfortable using it to choose their next property.

    Routine property inspections are still paused and it’s difficult to imagine how they will be carried out soon.  We’re currently investigating new technology which supports remote inspections via tenant smartphones.

    Emergency maintenance is being taken care of, with less urgent issues being logged for later.  This will likely change in the next few weeks as lockdown restrictions are eased.  Our intention is to ask tenants with outstanding minor maintenance to let us know when they would like us to deal with the issue.

    Our team are still mainly working from home.  We’ll keep that under constant review as the Scottish government guide us through the lockdown ease over the next couple of months.  Core operations, such as rent processing are unaffected.

    Rent Arrears

    Arrears are starting to improve.  In the past month, the number of tenancies in arrears has decreased from 6.7% to 5.9%, with most of these tenants having arrangements in place with their landlords for reductions or deferrals.  We’re hopeful that this trend will continue, though it will depend on how successfully the government schemes are at reducing the economic impact of the pandemic.

    Market Dynamics

    The most striking change is the number of properties being let.  According to Rightmove, the number of properties let in Glasgow in April is 73% less than in the same month last year.  New instructions are also down for April, suggesting that a fair proportion of recently vacated properties are waiting to come on the market when viewings become practical.

    At Western Lettings we’re seeing a slowdown in tenants giving notice.  From a peak of 31 in March, we had 21 in April and there are currently 16 scheduled for May.

    Taking everything together, we’re expecting an overhang of vacant properties to hit the market in the next two months at the same time as a rush of tenants will start looking for their next home.  It’s impossible to say where rent levels will end up when the dust settles on that market.  There is anecdotal evidence that rent levels for new tenancies are marginally lower than pre-crisis levels, but it’s difficult to draw conclusions from such small datasets.

     

    That’s the news for now.  Please get in touch if you’d like us to help with anything.

    The post Lockdown Lowdown – May Update appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Lockdown Latest

    A month into lockdown and we feel it is time for another update.  We want to provide some information on how we are dealing with operational issues and make a few comments on what we are seeing happening in the […] The post Lockdown Latest appeared first on Western...

    A month into lockdown and we feel it is time for another update.  We want to provide some information on how we are dealing with operational issues and make a few comments on what we are seeing happening in the marketplace.

     

    Operations

    Although most of us are working from home, essential functions are being carried out as normal.  Rent processing and landlord payments are taking place in line with our usual procedures.  In keeping with guidelines on social distancing, we’ve suspended routine property inspections.  Essential or emergency maintenance is being carried out as normal and we’re logging non-urgent maintenance, which will be taken care of when lockdown measures are eased.

     

    We’re still processing tenant applicants as normal, with the only difference being that the usual face to face viewing is replaced with a virtual tour.  All the tours are available on our website, together with floorplans and the usual marketing photos, location details and descriptions.  At the top of each virtual tour there is a button to make an application for the property.  From that point on tenant applications are being processed as normal, with online referencing and digital signing of tenancy agreements and inventories.  All compliance certificates are provided digitally using OneDrive.  For checking in tenants, we’re attending the property beforehand to get meter readings and then making keys available for contactless collection by incoming tenants.

     

    Rent Arrears

    We are pleased to report that rent arrears are not as high as some had feared.  In most cases, where tenants are struggling financially their landlords have been very understanding, and it has been possible to come to some arrangement.

    Overall, 6.7% of tenants are currently in arrears, with 5.4% having made some arrangements for deferred or reduced payments.  Bear in mind that many of these arrears are for small amounts and they may not be very late.

    We are very grateful to both our tenants and landlords for their very reasonable behaviour during the current crisis.

     

    Market Dynamics

    The most significant observation is that many tenants have decided to end their tenancies.  While some of them will be students who have decided to return home following an end to classroom teaching, others may be reducing their financial exposure by moving in with relatives or friends.  At the moment we have 37 properties on the market when we would typically have around 20 at this time of year.

    Unsurprisingly, applicant numbers are significantly down.  At this time of year, we typically see 25 tenancies starting per month.  We currently have 11 scheduled for April, most of which were already agreed before the crisis emerged.  We have 5 tenancy starts scheduled for May, although that number can be expected to rise.

    This trend can be expected to continue as the lockdown progresses.  The rate at which properties become vacant will exceed the rate at which new tenancies start, so that there will be a continuous build-up of vacant properties on the market until the lockdown eases.  This is exacerbated by a glut of former Airbnb properties being made available for longer term rental.

    We expect that when the lockdown ends, there will be a surge of pent up demand.  While rent levels are slightly down now, it is difficult to predict what will happen when a surge of demand meets a glut of supply at the end of the lockdown.

    We will continue to monitor the market and provide updates as the lockdown progresses.  If you’d like any further information, please get in touch.

     

     

    The post Lockdown Latest appeared first on Western Lettings.


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