Choosing a reputable agent that will help with tenant selection and missed payments is sometimes a vital service for landlords. However, for those who are considering becoming a DIY landlord, Galbraith offers a helpful checklist:
- Vet prospective tenants thoroughly, it's important to check bank, employer and previous landlord references. Generally, as a rule of thumb, a tenant's annual income should be at least 30 times the monthly property rent.
- Always take a deposit and perhaps more importantly always protect it through one of the Scottish deposit protection schemes. If the deposit isn't protected with a scheme as the landlord you can be made to pay the tenant three times the deposit amount back. Most tenants expect to have to pay a deposit of at least one month's rent so be wary of those who try to wriggle out of this.
- Schedule regular property checks and don't just leave tenants to their own devices after moving in. Ensure that the first inspection is within three months of the move in date and at least annually thereafter. If there is a breach of the lease act on this immediately, don't leave it to perpetuate or get worse.
- Alert tenants to rent arrears straight away as acting promptly will prevent the situation becoming difficult. Keep a copy of all paper work and emails sent to tenants as well as this will make it easier to serve a Notice to Quit' to tenants if the contract is consistently breached.
- Keep up-to-date with legislation. The new Scottish Private Residential Tenancy, (SPRT) is expected to be introduced at the end of 2017 and means that the grounds for repossession becomes more restricted; all the more reason to ensure you find suitable tenants from the outset.
As the lettings sector becomes more heavily regulated Galbraith fully expect to see a rise in the number of landlords seeking professional advice and assistance.
Bob Cherry said: "We are often approached by landlords for advice or assistance once a problem has already developed. Seeking help early on can avoid costly mistakes. The experienced lettings team can also advise landlords on preparing property to let and meeting all the current compliance obligations as well as using our extensive prospective tenant database to match the right people to the right property."
The firm is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA) and the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). In addition, Galbraith holds a SAFEagent accreditation which guarantees that tenants' and landlords' money is protected by a client money protection scheme.