Landlord Guide - Craigflower Lettings
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Thank you for considering using the services of Craigflower Lettings. We are based in Shandon and specialise in the letting and management of good quality residential property. We were established in 2006 by Angus and Heidi King and between us we have decades of experience in property management. Whether you are a homeowner looking into letting your property or an experienced buy-to-let investor we hope you will find us helpful, knowledgeable and approachable. In 2018 new regulations will require letting agents to register with the Scottish Government and meet certain criteria in terms of standards of service, training, insurance and client money handling. We have already been through a relevant training course and put all the required accounts and insurance in place to meet the requirements of the code. We know what it takes to get your property let quickly, for the best price, to the right tenants. About us We find that tenants and landlords like our service as we are small enough to offer a personal service yet have the capacity and experience to deal with any eventuality. Our office is situated in Shandon and a large percentage of our portfolio is in and around this area. We are members of the Council of Letting Agents and protect deposit money through an organisation called MyDeposits Scotland. We can provide a Rent Guarantee Scheme but this does not suit every property or landlord. We offer a free, no obligation valuation of your property and promise very competitive rates. Whether you need an agent to manage you property or portfolio or simply need help finding a tenant we will be able to tailor our service to meet your needs.
The Lettings Market Increasingly, good presentation is vital in terms of securing the best price and quickest let. The rental market is very competitive and we have a great track record for letting property very quickly – almost all of our properties let on the first viewing. The properties that let quickest, and for the best price are the ones that have had the most effort put in to the presentation. Showing a property that is messy or asking tenants to use their imagination to see past all your packing crates etc is not the way to guarantee a speedy let or a good price. Landlords are often surprised at how quickly many tenants need to move in so for us, a property that is clean, tidy and in move-in condition is the one that will command the best price and quickest let. Tenants can get frustrated at seeing messy properties and places that look in walk-in condition are snapped up if the price is right. Advertising We will advise you on the type of tenants to whom your property is likely to appeal and how to present the property in terms of furnishings, price etc. Our properties appear on the top four sites for lettings in Edinburgh. Internet advertising (on sites such as Zoopla and Lettingweb) delivers the bulk of our lets but we also always have a database of tenants looking for specific types of property.
Choosing Tenants We will check on tenants’ employment, rental and bank status to assess their suitability. We can also offer a rent guarantee scheme by passing the referencing on to a third party credit agency. The drawback to this is that they can reject many perfectly good tenants as they may not meet the criteria of having been in their current job long enough or have not been UK residents long enough. This process can be counterproductive as it can mean longer void periods (and therefore less money to you). Service and fees Our fully managed service costs 12% of each month’s rent including VAT (equivalent to 10%+VAT at the current rate). The first time we let the property we charge a letting fee of £275 (including VAT). This covers everything from advertising, viewings, a To Let board, referencing, leases and inventory. Subsequent lets are charged at £150 (including VAT). With the management service you can have as much or as little to do with the property as you like. We can handle everything from setting up utility accounts, organising repairs to providing you with annual summaries for your tax returns. If you are comfortable with the idea of managing the property yourself, we offer a Let Only service. We can still handle everything up until the tenants move in but after that you and the tenants would liaise with each other directly. This service is priced at £375 including VAT. Deposits Since 2012, tenancy law insists that tenants’ deposits are held in an approved Deposit Scheme. We use an organisation called MyDeposits Scotland. The deposit body can act as an arbiter to settle any disputes over deposit deductions. The deposit rules are lengthy but as a general rule of thumb they are there to both ensure landlords can receive fair compensation for cleaning and damages but also to ensure that tenants are not charged for things unfairly or for items that have reached the end of their expected lifespan. Other costs and safety compliance involved in being a landlord Before letting your property, we have to consider the Repairing Standard, which is part of a 2006 Housing Act that sets out basic rules for landlords to follow in terms of presenting tenants with a property that is safe and habitable. Changes came into effect from December 2015 that have insisted on a great range of safety checks to be carried out. Landlord Insurance replaces existing buildings and contents cover and also should include cover for loss of rent (should fire, flood etc cause the tenants to leave). Speak to your current provider, look online or ask us for a quote as we act as an introducer for a landlord insurance policy and can set it all up for you and deduct the cost from the rent.
Landlord Registration will provide you with a registration number to grant you consent to let your property in Edinburgh. Visit www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk to register yourself and your property. If we will be managing the property you will need to quote our reference number 97847/230/01140. Gas safety If there is a gas supply to your property we will need a Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate. This is an annual check carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We can organise this for you. We recommend Contract Heating (tel 0131 458 3377). They also offer a very comprehensive boiler breakdown policy for £198 per year. Any room with a gas appliance will require a carbon monoxide detector (a battery operated one is fine). You will also need an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). If the property has been bought/sold since late 2008 there’s a good chance it will already have a certificate but if not we can arrange one for you. They last for ten years and cost around £75, depending on the size of the property. Electrical safety regulations are the biggest changes as of December 2015. Landlords are now required to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) at least every five years. This will highlight any areas of your electrics that need attention. PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing) requires any electrical items with a plug (eg kettle, toaster) to be checked each year. This is not too costly (can be just a few pounds per item). Fire Safety regulations require all rented property to have an interlinked smoke and heat detection system that covers the hallway, living area and kitchen. Each property should also now be issued with a fire blanket or extinguisher. A test for Legionella will also have to be carried out. The frequency of further tests will depend on the plumbing of the particular property but generally it will be valid for three years. We also give tenants a guide to keeping them safe from the risk of Legionella. Contract Heating are able to do all of the compliance testing. They offer a fixed price EICR and as part of that process will provide a quote for any required electrical work and a quote for installing a smoke and heat detection system. Taxation and dilapidations It’s wise to budget around 10-12% of the annual rent for repairs and general upkeep. You will also need to complete a Land and Property self assessment each year as the income from the rent is taxable. If you will be living overseas you will need to
register as an overseas landlord, otherwise the HMRC can request us to withhold part of your rental payments. It is a quick and easy form – just visit www.hmrc.gov.uk, search for Non Resident Landlords and use our code 904/NA/041312. We can put you in touch with an accountant if you would prefer to hand this task over to an expert. General Points about being a landlord Letting a property is not for everyone. People can sometimes find it hard to detach themselves emotionally from their property and maintaining a rental property can be not only financially but emotionally draining. Landlords want a tenant who will look after their property but remember that tenants are looking for a home, not for somewhere to house sit. Budgeting on redecorating and refreshing the property regularly will help to get the best price, cut down on void periods and attract tenants who want a property that looks like it has had some thought put into it. It is much easier for us to let more expensive but very well presented than tired but cheap places. Getting your property on the books Demand for rental property is high and there is little to be gained from advertising your place before it is looking its best. It takes us no time to get the property photographed and have adverts posted and we will keep you on track with all the required compliance issues. The safety compliance needs to be in place before tenants move in but for advertising the property we just need to make sure you have an EPC and a landlord registration number. Contact us: Craigflower Lettings 36 Ashley Terrace Edinburgh EH11 1RE 0131 346 2400 firstname.lastname@example.org
Checklist 2018: This page gives a brief snapshot of the compliance requirements for getting your property ready to let. You can arrange it all yourself or let us help out. Landlord needs to do this: Landlord Registration (www.landlordregistrationscotland.co.uk – if we are managing the property, use our code 97847/230/01140. Lasts for3 years Living overseas? Register as a Non-Resident Landlord with HMRC. Our code is 904/NA/041312 We can arrange all this if required: Gas safety (battery CO detectors mounted in any room with a gas appliance). Annual PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) Annual Consider a Contract Heating Landlord Agreement? £198 per year and includes the gas safety certificate, PAT testing and breakdown cover on the boiler. EICR (electrical check) & any follow up remedial work (lasts 3-5 years) Interlinked, mains-wired smoke and heat detection system (should last 10 years) Fire blanket or extinguisher in kitchen (optional – fire service may advise tenans to simply get out in event of fire) Legionella report (Lasts 1-3 years) EPC (a copy will be in the home report, but it needs to be updated if you have new windows or boiler) Lasts 10 years Insurance quote for buildings and contents
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