There are further reports today of the increase in "let to buy" where a homeowner moving house decides to let out rather than sell their previous property. By letting out the property it enables them to move quickly and can prevent the need to sell where there is a worry the property won't obtain the value they hoped for. Consequentially however there has been an increase in the number of inadvertent' first-time landlords who find themselves letting out their former cherished home, rather than simply an "investment" property.
Bob Cherry, head of our lettings division, offers some advice for such first time landlords to bear in mind: "The main issue occurs when prospective landlords are renting out their property reluctantly due to a number of factors rather than entering into the lettings market as a business decision.
"Understanding the amount of fair wear and tear your property will incur when let out to tenants is imperative. Once you have decided to enter the lettings market you must take a step back and remember you are the landlord and that the property is no longer your home.
"Landlords new to lettings often do not appreciate that whilst the tenant has some responsibility for the upkeep of the property under the terms of the lease, they cannot expect the property to be returned to them at the end of the tenancy in an identical condition to that at the start of the rental period."
BOB'S TIPS FOR FIRST-TIME LANDLORDS
- Consider carefully lettings to smokers and tenants with pets. Landlords are within their own rights to charge a higher rental to allow for greater wear and tear if letting out to smokers and those who have pets.
- Request the previous landlord's reference for prospective occupants results on tenant history can be revealing and allow you to make an educated decision on who you allow to rent your property. Careful tenant selection is crucial.
- Conduct a comprehensive inventory which would include taking photographs at the commencement of any rental period so that any deterioration, damage, and wear and tear apparent at the end of the tenancy can be accurately assessed. Without this it is very difficult to obtain compensation from the tenant's deposit.
- The quality of the property and its fittings/furniture must also be taken into account as old or cheap fittings and fixtures will not be quite so robust
- An acceptable level of fair wear and tear' must be allowed for in disputes concerning the return of the tenant's deposit adjudicators will take into account various factors from the number and age of people occupying the house including number of children, whether pets and smokers were permitted and the length of the tenancy.
Bob continued: "Recent Scottish Government legislation has helped tackle rogue lettings agents and the creation of a dedicated housing tribunal for the private rented sector - which was recently announced by the Scottish Government - is another important measure for the industry. Prospective landlords also need to ensure they choose the right agent who will properly advise them about both the positive aspects and drawbacks of renting a property."
With offices across Scotland, CKD Galbraith lets out and manages well over one thousand homes for hundreds of clients and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). CKD Galbraith also holds a SafeAgent accreditation which guarantees that tenants' and landlords' money is protected by a client money protection scheme.