When you let your property there’s a lot to think about – from renovating and getting it ready to choosing the right tenants and ongoing maintenance. So, we’ve gathered everything you’ll need to know in this online guide – to make sure being a Clan Gordon landlord never feels like a hassle. If you have any questions, please get in touch with our professional and qualified team by phoning our office on 0131 555 4444, who will be happy to help.
Landlord’s Guide To Letting In
Edinburgh With Clan Gordon
Preparing To Rent
Newly renovated rental properties are in high demand across Edinburgh. Some benefits of renovating your property before letting are:
- Higher rent (and better yield)
- Attract quality tenants
- Tenants more likely to look after the property and stay longer
We realise not all landlords are in a position to completely renovate before renting, so we can help you identify where any investment will be best spent to get the greatest return. Common renovations include:
- Kitchen and bathroom upgrade
- New flooring
- Fitting blinds and curtains
- Joinery snagging
- Window refurbishment/ replacement
Our trusted local contractors can provide quotes for any of the above, and our team can project manage any renovation works, big or small. Your property should always reach the Repairing Standard.
One question that almost every new landlord asks is if they should rent their property furnished or unfurnished. The answer largely depends on the property itself. We can guide you on this at your lettings valuation. The level of demand in Edinburgh tends to be higher for furnished properties – especially one and two-bedroom flats – but the number of tenants looking for unfurnished properties is growing, and there are fewer options available unfurnished, so you should still attract tenants.
Factors to consider include:
- Type of tenants - Have a clear idea of who you are marketing the property to. If it is the student/young professionals market furniture will most likely be expected. Families are more likely to have their own.
- Quality furniture - All tenants appreciate good quality, matching furniture. If your furniture is old and mismatched, it would be a good idea to either replace or remove and market as unfurnished.
The property will be professionally cleaned before your tenants move in. However, it is important to make sure it is clean for marketing photographs and viewings. Don’t forget to have the windows cleaned - inside and out - as marks can show up in photographs.
· Tidy with clear surfaces
You want the property to look homely but tidy. This can be tricky if tenants are living in the property, in these situations, we will work with the tenants to ensure photographs are acceptable.
Take photographs with the lights on and as much natural light as possible. Never take marketing photographs when it is dark outside. A bright day with blue skies is best, but this is not always possible in Edinburgh.
Use a tripod to take clearer, sharper images.
Some landlords choose to have their property dressed for marketing photographs and viewings, especially where the property is unfurnished. In some cases this can help, however, we would recommend only doing this if the property is not generating enough interest.
Read our tips on creating great marketing photographs on our blog.
Your EPC is a rating of the property’s energy efficiency. All rental properties require a valid EPC before they can be marketed for rent.
If you have recently purchased your property, the EPC will be included in the home report. EPCs are valid for 10 years. Check the Scottish EPC register to find out if your property already has a certificate.
If required, we can arrange an EPC on your behalf. The price currently charged by our contractor is £47.50 +VAT.
As a landlord, you are responsible for keeping up to date with changes to legislation to ensure your property complies. At Clan Gordon, we take care of this for you so you have complete peace of mind.
Every property is different, so requirements to meet safety legislation can vary; you may not need every one of the certificates and alarms.
We will assess your property and provide a personalised list of safety requirements, and the costs involved, at the lettings valuation. We will then arrange all required safety certificates and alarms on your behalf, store copies of certificates and renew as required throughout the tenancy, so you never have to worry about your property not being compliant.
A full summary of each of the safety requirements is included here.
Contact us for a safety certificate quote tailored to your property
Letting Your Property
As the landlord, you will always have the final say on the rent level your property is advertised at. We will give you a suggested figure at the lettings valuation that would position your property fairly and realistically in the current market.
At Clan Gordon, we will never inflate the rental value of the property to win your business, this wastes your time and ours. We research the current market and make a suggestion based on factors including recently rented properties in the area and the quality of your property. Although the lettings market is busy, tenants still expect fair rents; if your property is incorrectly priced you risk void periods and frequent tenancy changeovers. Our 2020 Landlord Satisfaction Survey found that 99% of our landlords are satisfied that the rent achieved for their property is accurate in the current market.
We are one of the few letting agents to advertise on all of the main property portals; so if a tenant is looking for a property to rent in Edinburgh, they are very likely to see our advert. We advertise our properties on:
A ‘To Let’ board is put up outside every property (where possible), let us know if you would prefer not to have a board for any reason.
Our Lettings Negotiator meets all applicants at the property for an individual viewing. This gives prospective tenants a chance to look around the property and ask any questions without pressure from other applicants. Individual viewings also allow our team to provide personal insight, helping you to choose the best tenant for your property. We believe this personal approach helps to ensure the best tenants are chosen.
Unlike some letting agents, we don’t work on a first-come-first-served basis. You will be sent details of all tenancy applications for your property and, with guidance from our team, you will make the final decision on who will rent your property.
Prospective tenants are all thoroughly referenced checked by a third-party company. Reference checks include:
- Credit check
- Bank validation check
- Background search
- Financial sanctions check
- Current landlord reference
- Employment check
- Affordability calculation
In some cases, where the applicant does not meet the referencing criteria, a UK based guarantor may be required. The guarantor will be referenced in addition to the tenant.
A photographic inventory is created before the start of each tenancy to record every aspect of the property’s condition, from woodwork to furnishings. We use an independent third-party company to ensure that inventories are completely impartial. Your inventory provides an invaluable tool when negotiating deposit deductions at the end of a tenancy – and giving you peace of mind your interests are protected.
The cost of an inventory varies depending upon the size of the property and whether it is furnished or unfurnished
All tenants are required to pay a deposit, equivalent to one month's rent plus £200, before the start date of their tenancy. We do not allow tenants to move into the property until we have these cleared funds in our account. A larger deposit may be requested for some HMO properties. We lodge deposits with SafeDeposits Scotland, a Government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme provider, and send tenants the Prescribed Information within 30 days as is set out in the tenancy deposit regulations.
Every tenant has an onsite check-in with their Property Manager on the first day of their tenancy. Unlike most letting agents, who hand over keys at their office, we believe that meeting at the property, to show tenants how everything works and answer any questions, helps them to settle in more quickly.
The check-in is also a good opportunity to ensure the tenant understands their obligations and knows how to look after the property. A check-in includes;
· Demonstration of the heating system
· How and when to ventilate
· Keeping the property clean – every tenant is given a complimentary bottle of Dettol Mould & Mildew spray
· Care of flooring and furnishings
· Demonstration of smoke and heat alarms
· Explanation of the inventory
Don’t worry about the utilities, we will take care of everything for you. We take meter readings at the beginning of the tenancy and change the gas, electricity and council tax accounts into the tenant's name. At the end of the tenancy, we take closing meter readings and change the accounts back into your name (care of Clan Gordon), and then into the next tenant's name. Bills covering short vacant periods between tenancies are received in our office and paid on your behalf.
Managing Your Property
All properties are inspected within the first 8 weeks, followed by ongoing 6-monthly inspections.
In addition to checking that your tenant is looking after the property, we proactively inspect for issues that may escalate and cause damage including:
- Signs of damp – we have a damp meter to check walls and behind tiles
- Cracked grout and tiles
- Deterioration of sealant
- Deterioration of windows
If we find your tenant is not maintaining the property to the standard we would expect, we will work with them to resolve the issue and schedule additional inspections until we are satisfied. You will receive a photographic report after each inspection, so you know your property is being looked after throughout the tenancy.
Over the last decade we have established a team of local contractors, who we know work to our high standards, so no matter what maintenance issues arise, we can handle it quickly without compromising on quality.
98% of landlords are satisfied with the work carried out by our contractors in terms of cost and speed.
To avoid unnecessary call out charges, we discuss maintenance issues fully with tenants, requesting photographs or visiting the property ourselves, before instructing a contractor.
Private Residential Tenancy rents can be reviewed annually and tenants must be given 3 months’ notice. We regularly assess rent levels across our portfolio to ensure our rents are accurate and fair in the current market.
99% of landlords are satisfied the rent achieved for their property is accurate in the current market
Private Residential Tenancies do not have an end date; tenancies continue until the landlord or tenant gives notice. Find out more about the PRT. In situations where your tenant serves notice, we will contact you immediately to let you know and discuss your options for remarketing the property. If you choose to remarket, we work with the tenant to ensure the property is up to standard and ready to advertise as soon as possible, minimising void periods.
Our main goal when checking-out your tenant is to ensure the standard of your property has been maintained and is ready to be remarketed to find new tenants. We carry out a thorough check-out at every property, comparing the current condition to the original inventory. The check-out is a photographic report, created on an iPad, recording;
- The condition of all aspects of the property and furnishings
- Any cleaning required
- Meter readings
- Any damage beyond fair wear and tear
The check-out report is sent both to you and your tenant. We work on your behalf to negotiate any remedial costs with your outgoing tenant and agree on a settlement figure from their deposit.
We have an established relationship with Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, who have set up a block insurance policy for the benefit of our clients. The policy, provided by NIG, is specifically designed for residential lettings properties and can include building and/ or contents cover.
Please note: our block insurance policy is only available to landlords opting for our fully managed service.
Key cover and policy benefits include:
- We are authorised to assist with insurance claims on your behalf.
- Preferential rates combined with comprehensive cover.
- Accidental Damage cover included as standard.
- Malicious Damage & Theft by Tenants cover included as standard.
- Up to 90 days full cover when the property becomes unoccupied.
- Trace & Access cover for locating the source of a leak.
- Legal expenses in respect of property disputes.
To ensure your property is adequately insured, request that cover for student tenants is included in your quote, even if your property is not specifically for students. Excluding students from your policy will limit your ability to rent to mature and paid research students, who can make excellent tenants. It is important to advise us if your insurance policy does not include cover for students.