A leading independent property consultancy with expertise covering a broad spectrum of property related services

Getting Your Rural Property Rental Ready

With the winter months not that far away, now is the best time to get your rural rental property market-ready, given wintry weather conditions hampering access in remote locations and most tenants preferring to be in their new home well before Christmas.  

Galbraith has witnessed an increase in interest from those keen to sample rural living without having to commit to a mortgage. 

The high level of demand for rental properties in Scotland reflects a shortage of good quality accommodation available to let, particularly rural properties. The average time taken for Galbraith to let out a property is 3.3 days highlighting the strength of the rental market.  

Energy Efficiency Standards

For current and potential landlords considering their options, they should also take note of the new energy-saving legislation coming into force in the private rented sector. Landlords can kill two birds with one stone by making their property winter-ready and ensuring compliance with the new energy efficiency standards.   

Where there is a change in tenancy after 1 April 2020, the property will need to meet the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band E, extending to all private rented properties to be EPC E by 31 March 2022. Where there is a change in tenancy after 1 April 2022 the property will need to be EPC band D, extending to all privately rented properties to be EPC D by 31 March 2025. 

Renting Rural Property

Bob Cherry, head of lettings at Galbraith, said:

People choose to rent in the countryside for a number of reasons, be it a lifestyle choice to improve their work-life balance, for employment opportunities or to retire into a more relaxed pace of life by selling their property to free up capital and then choosing to rent.  

As we have witnessed, there is high demand for properties in the rural lettings market throughout Scotland and we are urging current and would-be landlords in the sector to make sure their property is up to standard. Making the appropriate upgrades needed now is investing well for the future and should ensure your property offers a good return for your money allowing you to operate a profitable rental business. 

Top tips to get your rural property rental ready

  • Install a wood burning stove which could allow tenants to save on their fuel bills if they have a regular supply of wood on the property  
  • Consider secondary glazing as opposed to replacing full window units and internal insulation of doors and letter boxes where heat can escape 
  • Tidy up gardens and external grounds, this is an extension of your property and creates an idyllic countryside setting 
  • Create child friendly garden areas as the rural rental market is quite often family dominated  
  • Pets allowed – pets tend to be part and parcel of rural living so think about your property being pet friendly  
  • Refresh old paint work and lay new carpets – this may seem excessive but is relatively inexpensive and can help to create premium rental yields  
  • Be aware of tighter regulations and new legislations recently introduced including PRT (Private Residential Tenancy) and the forthcoming energy efficiency standards 
  • Check if government grants are available for energy efficiency measures including loft and cavity wall insulation

Rural Property Improvements

Galbraith recently advised two clients on improvements to their rural property, following an independent EPC assessment being carried out, to get it up to market standard and comply with the new EPC legislation. 

In both cases a new energy-efficient boiler was installed and loft insulation added. For Coyle Croft in East Ayrshire, the energy efficiency rating improved from G to E; and for Dalwhatswood Farm in Newmilns, the improvement was from E to D. The tenants in both cases were in receipt of state benefits which meant that grants were available from the Scottish Government to cover 100% of the costs of the work – £8,000 for the first property and £6,500 for the second. 

Galbraith can advise landlords on how to minimise risk for their assets, comply fully with the legislation, estimate the potential costs and advise on suitable building contractors to carry out the works and project manage the process where necessary. Galbraith staff are RICS-registered surveyors, who can also provide energy efficiency assessments for rental properties, whether for compliance or marketing purposes.