Whether you own an Edinburgh buy-to-let or have a portfolio of properties in the city, chances are you’ll have appointed a letting agent to take care of everything for you.
A letting agent takes the stress out of looking after a rental property, from finding tenants to handling the paperwork and answering emergency calls. And if you’re looking for the best of the bunch, at Clan Gordon, we’ve got more than 16 years’ experience in Edinburgh’s property rental market and a string of awards under our belt.
But be aware, not all letting agents are the same…
Clan Gordon’s property managers and advisors are fully qualified with ARLA Propertymark, the UK’s leading body for letting agents, and they undergo regular training to ensure their knowledge is updated so they can provide the best possible service. Every customer is assigned an individual advisor who knows their property or portfolio inside out and can offer tailored advice.
If your agent doesn’t provide the same level of service as Clan Gordon, what can you do? Is it worth sticking with the same letting agent rather than going through the process of changing? Can you switch with tenants in situ? In this blog, we explore all the issues surrounding switching letting agent and challenge some of the myths.
Is your Edinburgh letting agent underperforming or not communicating regularly? Can you always get hold of someone on the telephone if you have a question or problem?
There are lots of reasons why you might consider switching. Your current agent could take a long time to fill your property between tenancies, leaving you with no income and bills to pay. Or perhaps you’re not happy with the calibre of tenants they source for you.
Sub-standard letting agents might also fail to respond to market fluctuations in rent rates, miss out critical inspections, fail to fulfil your legal obligations or not resolve maintenance issues as promptly as you would expect.
Are you fed up with…
- A lack of communication?
- Overpriced maintenance charges?
- High turnover of agency staff?
- Unsuitable tenants?
- Long voids between tenancies?
If you have experienced any of these issues, it’s worth considering switching letting agent to get the standard of service you deserve. With a reputable and reliable letting agent you’ll be worry free, because letting shouldn’t be a hassle.
What Are The Risks Of Staying With A Poor Letting Agent?
Staying with a letting agent you are unhappy with could cost you money, lead to legal problems, and damage your reputation as a landlord. It’s also a big headache when things don’t run smoothly.
The last thing you need is an Edinburgh letting agent who doesn’t properly screen tenants or fails to inspect your property regularly. If you are unhappy with your letting agent, it is important to take action. Talk to them about your concerns, and if they’re not resolved, switch!
If you’ve signed up for regular property inspections, safety checks, repairs and prompt response to emergency calls, then that’s what you should expect. Keep track of the service they’re providing and record any issues so you have evidence that they’re not performing their role effectively and efficiently.
Are You In Danger Of Fines And Serious Health Risks To Tenants?
Landlords who hand the management of their properties to an agent need to be certain everything will be looked after professionally and that all the legal obligations will be fulfilled; otherwise, they could find themselves on the wrong side of the law. For example, it is a criminal offence to operate a house in multiple occupation (HMO) without a licence – an HMO is a property let to three unrelated individuals. The maximum fine is £50,000.
Tenants also need reassurance that their agent will act in their best interests, respond to enquiries promptly, deal with maintenance issues and conduct necessary safety checks. Poor communication and bad service can make renting a nightmare, and if regular inspections for legionella and gas appliances aren't carried out, tenants are put at risk.
Landlords have an obligation to conduct checks at regular intervals and to ensure the property meets the Scottish Government’s Repairing Standard. If a letting agent is carrying out these inspections on your behalf, you need to be confident they are being done at the right time and in the correct way.
Common Myths About Changing Letting Agent
There are lots of myths about switching letting agent that prevent some landlords from taking the plunge. It’s actually a lot easier than you might think, and there are very few restrictions on moving.
When you sign a contract with a letting agent, you’re typically tied into a fixed-term period of between six to 12 months. This is to prevent landlords from leaving a letting agent immediately after the agent has invested significant time and effort in finding, referencing, and moving in a new tenant.
Once the initial term has ended, landlords can switch agents, typically by giving one or two months’ written notice. The amount of notice required will be stated in your contract.
Many landlords think they need to wait until their current tenancy ends before switching, but that’s not the case. The tenancy agreement is between you and your tenant; the agent is just acting as your representative, so you can make a change at any time.
There’s also a common belief that safety inspections and other certificates need to be redone when you switch to a new agent. In fact, everything can just be carried across from one agent to another in a simple transfer.
Making The Switch
When you move to Clan Gordon from another agent, it’s as easy as A-B-C. We’ll do absolutely everything for you so you don’t need to worry. Around 25% of the properties we look after have come from landlords switching from another Edinburgh letting agent, so our tried and tested handover process keeps things straightforward. Once notice has been given, our team will step in and work with the tenants and current agent directly to ensure a simple transition.
- Contact The Tenant: The first step is for us to get contact details for your tenant. We liaise with the tenant directly regarding the changeover, letting them know who we are and when we will be taking over the property. We’ll ensure the tenant knows who to contact in the event of any maintenance issues and has the correct bank details to make rent payments. We’ll advise them to cancel their existing direct debit once the contract switches, and if they accidentally make a payment to your old letting agent, the money must be returned to you by law.
- Obtain Tenancy Documents: We make sure we get all the necessary documentation from your existing agent including the tenancy agreement, referencing reports, deposit details and check-in inventory.
- Obtain Property Documents: We ask the letting agent for all other documentation such as safety certificates and warranties. We will check that your property is fully compliant with current safety legislation.
- Collect Keys: We will collect all sets of keys held by the previous agent on your behalf.
- Arrange A Property Inspection: Our initial inspections are scheduled in the first six weeks from taking on the property. Inspections are then six monthly unless we identify an issue that requires more regular checks.
Won’t Switching Agent Be Expensive?
Many property owners think switching agent will be too costly, but the reality is that there’s no additional charge if you move to Clan Gordon. While some letting agents charge agents’ fees, marketing and advertising premiums, inventory costs, and legal fees, we charge nothing. In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll be happy with our service that we pay YOU £250 to switch.
What Should I Look For In A New Edinburgh Letting Agent?
Good customer service is everything when someone is managing a property on your behalf. You need a partner who prioritises regular communication to care for your property.
At Clan Gordon, we pride ourselves on being the best we can for both our landlords and our tenants. We’ve been looking after properties and finding rental homes in the city since 2007. We founded the business because we were frustrated at the poor service we’d received ourselves, and we were determined to do things differently.
It's important to carefully review what property management services are being offered for the price you have been quoted, ensuring you are comparing like-for-like before making a final decision. If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. A trustworthy letting agent will be open and honest and will happily share reviews from current clients.
Since then, we’ve learned a lot about the Edinburgh property market and have been passing on that knowledge to our clients. We’ve built up a lot of resilience too - we survived the Covid pandemic, quickly adapting our business so our advisors could continue to provide the same great service from their homes instead of our offices.
And we’ve consistently invested in training and development, ensuring all our advisors are registered with ARLA so we can be confident they are equipped to provide exceptional customer service.
We’ve won numerous awards over the years, being named Edinburgh and Scotland’s best letting agent, and we’re regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. We’re one of only a handful of letting agents in Edinburgh to have our own in-house surveyors.
It's important to ensure your letting agent has a good level of expertise and experience.
Check The Reviews
Landlords who’ve switched letting agents to Clan Gordon say they prefer the personal service provided by a smaller company. And despite being small, we’re perfectly formed! But don’t just take our word for it…
Reviews on Google are a great way to check if a letting agent is up to scratch, and we’re proud of the feedback we receive. Surveys show that 100% of landlords and 97% of tenants trust us to manage their properties, so we must be doing something right.
“By far the friendliest and most helpful letting agent in Edinburgh. Absolutely brilliant service, and as cheesy as it sounds, it's done with a genuine smile - which does make a difference. I really can't praise them enough!”
Kyle, Clan Gordon tenant
“I cannot recommend Clan Gordon highly enough. I’ve been overseas for much of the time they have looked after my flat for me. They have seamlessly, professionally and cheerfully dealt with the full gamut of issues, from finding tenants to recommending and overseeing renovations to sorting maintenance issues. Their advice and local knowledge has kept the flat occupied consistently. Thanks for showing the industry how it should be done.”
Morag, Clan Gordon landlord
Before you sign up with a new letting agent, do your homework and check what current tenants are saying about the agent and the service they receive. If you can only find negative comments or you can’t find any at all, cross them off your list.
Your Questions on Property Letting Answered
When considering switching agent, landlords often have lots of questions about the process so we’ve pulled as many as we can think of together in one place.
Can I switch agent with tenants in my property?
Yes, you can! You don’t have to wait until your existing tenancy ends, you just have to give notice to your letting agent that you wish to end your contract with them.
Do my tenants need to sign a new contract with the new letting agent?
No, they don’t! The tenancy agreement is between you and your tenant so there is no need to sign a new one, it can simply to transferred to the new letting agent to oversee.
Do my tenants have a say in who manages their property?
No, they don’t, but it’s worth keeping them updated if you plan to make a change. They’ll need to switch their direct debit payments to the new letting agent and will need to know who to contact if they have a problem. Keeping a friendly, open dialogue with your tenants helps to keep everything running smoothly.
Do I have to wait until the end of my contract with my existing letting agent?
No, you don’t! Most contracts have a clause detailing how much notice you need to give if you wish to terminate your contract, together with a formula for calculating what fees will be due. Make sure you correspond in writing by email so you have proof of everything in case there’s an issue.
Is it complicated to switch letting agents?
No, not at all. Moving from one agent to another doesn’t need to be stressful, and some (like Clan Gordon) do all the work for you. If your current letting agent isn’t giving the service you deserve, both you and your tenants will see an improvement, and it might mean they stay longer.
Can I carry over all my documents, like my EPC and gas safety certificate?
Yes, you can! All the certification for the property belongs to you and should be returned to you when you leave the agent.
What if my tenants don’t pay their rent into the new account?
Make sure your tenants have plenty of notice – if you’re moving to Clan Gordon, we’ll take care of everything for you. Suggest they cancel their direct debit or standing order just to be sure – and if there is a mix up, your old letting agent is obligated by law to return the money.
Switching from short-term to long-term letting
Recent legislative changes in Scotland means more property owners than ever are making the switch from short term lets to long-term letting. But what is the difference in the service you can expect to receive?
Making the switch can be a strategic move for property owners aiming for more stability in their rental income. While short-term rentals may offer higher potential earnings during peak seasons, they also come with increased turnover rates, frequent maintenance, and the unpredictability of seasonal demand.
Transitioning to a long-term residential letting agent like Clan Gordon provides a more consistent cash flow, reduced hands-on management, and often better maintenance of the property’s condition due to longer tenancy agreements.
This shift not only promises a steadier investment return but also the peace of mind that comes from knowing your property is under the continual professional care of an expert dedicated to maximising the property’s long-term rental potential.
When comparing the services between short-term let property management and long-term letting agents, several key differences highlight the long-term benefits of working with the latter:
- Consistency of income: Long-term letting agents focus on securing tenants for extended periods, which leads to a more reliable and predictable income stream. Unlike short-term lets, which can fluctuate with the seasons and travel trends, long-term rentals provide a steady monthly income that can make financial planning and mortgage payments easier to manage.
- Tenant screening: Long-term letting agents typically have thorough tenant screening processes to ensure reliable tenants. This includes credit checks, references, and income verification, aiming to reduce the risk of rental arrears and ensure that the property is rented to individuals who are more likely to take care of it.
- Property wear and tear: Short-term rentals often see a higher turnover of tenants, which can lead to increased wear and tear. Long-term letting agents aim to find tenants interested in longer leases, which can lead to tenants treating the property more like their own home, resulting in better maintenance and care over time.
- Management and maintenance: Long-term letting agents provide ongoing property management services, including regular property inspections to ensure that the property is well-maintained. They often have relationships with reliable contractors who can provide timely repairs and maintenance, potentially at a lower cost due to volume business.
- Regulatory compliance: Long-term letting agents are well-versed in the latest property legislation and can ensure that landlords remain compliant with tenancy laws, safety regulations, and licensing requirements. This helps landlords avoid legal pitfalls and fines associated with non-compliance.
- Cost-efficiency: Although short-term lets might offer higher rates per night, they also incur higher operational costs including frequent cleaning services, utility bills, and hospitality supplies. Long-term rentals generally place these costs on the tenant, along with other responsibilities like council tax, leading to lower ongoing expenses for the landlord.
- Less hassle and time commitment: Managing a short-term rental can be akin to running a hotel due to the need for constant availability, customer service, and turnover tasks. A long-term letting agent takes over the day-to-day responsibilities of being a landlord, providing a ‘hands-off’ investment and freeing up the owner’s time.
- Market knowledge and pricing: Long-term letting agents have a deep understanding of the rental market and can price properties appropriately to attract long-term tenants. They work to maximise the landlord’s return on investment through strategic pricing while keeping the property occupied with less downtime.
- Relationship building: With long-term tenants, landlords and agents have the opportunity to build a rapport over time, leading to better communication, quicker resolution of issues, and often tenants who are more respectful and caring towards the property.
Switching to a long-term letting agent over a short-term property management service can lead to greater financial stability, less personal involvement, and the potential for a more rewarding long-term investment experience.
What’s Different About Clan Gordon?
Not all letting agents offer the same level of service, so it’s vital to check exactly what you’re getting for your money – a cheaper deal might not seem such a bargain if you’re having to do half the work yourself!
We offer a complete management service so landlords can relax in the knowledge that we’ve got everything covered. This is especially valuable for those who live overseas or elsewhere in the country.
We manage everything from start to finish, finding reliable tenants and managing their move:
- Setting a realistic rent
- Advertising the property widely on all the leading websites
- Vetting prospective tenants
- Writing the tenancy agreement, based on the Scottish Government’s model
- Carrying out safety checks and issuing certificates
- Keeping a careful photographic inventory
- Supervising move-in day and showing your tenants how everything works
- Organising repairs and emergency call outs
- Being available 24/7 so you don’t have to
What Are The Benefits For Tenants in Switching Letting Agent?
When a landlord switches to Clan Gordon, their tenants notice a big difference from day one. We want tenants to feel safe and happy in their home, because we know happy tenants make the best tenants – and they stay longer.
We never organise group viewings for the properties we manage, ensuring prospective tenants have the time and space they need to ask questions and make a decision on their new home.
Our expert property managers are always at the end of the phone if tenants have any problems, and we use a response repairs service called Fix Flo, which helps tenants take control of any maintenance issues.
We’re very careful about the landlords we choose to work with, only signing up those who share our high standards and whose properties exceed the Scottish Government’s Repairing Standard. Our experienced and professional team is always on hand to make sure your tenants’ move is as straightforward as possible, and they know who to contact if you have an issue.
Our research shows that 97% of our tenants are happy with the service they receive from us – we’re still working on the other 3%.
Warning Signs You’re With The Wrong Letting Agent
If you’re feeling unhappy with your letting agent, there are a few signs that should set alarm bells ringing. First of all, you should check that your agent is registered. In Scotland, all letting agents must apply to be on the Scottish Letting Agent Register and follow a code of conduct that outlines:
- the standards of practice for those carrying out letting agency work
- the handling of tenants’ and landlords’ money
- the professional indemnity insurance arrangements in place
Both tenants and landlords can check if an agent is on the register here.
Other warning signs are a lack of regular communication about your property, complaints direct to you from your tenants that they can’t get hold of anyone when they need help, having to check if inspections have taken place and chasing up renewals of safety certificates.
Clan Gordon founders Andrew and Jonathan Gordon experienced such poor service at the hands of other Edinburgh letting agents that they decided to set up their own letting and property management business in 2007 with a commitment to provide exceptional communication and unrivalled service.
Look For Qualified, Experienced And Professional Letting Agents
Clan Gordon aims to provide the best possible service and quality assurance to clients. For this reason, we are regulated by ARLA Propertymark – the leading professional body for the property sector - and all our staff have undergone training to become ARLA members (MARLA).
Our team’s training is regularly refreshed to ensure everyone’s knowledge is current and that our property managers are always aware of any legal changes. As a result, all our staff are equipped with the knowledge to advise landlords about all elements of the lettings markets, including property compliance, safety documentation and tenancy agreements.
As we’re also regulated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), unlike many letting agents, we offer landlords even more reassurance that we are professional, competent and follow a strict code of conduct because we are audited annually.
Landlords trust letting agents manage their most important assets, so it is important that agents are completely transparent in everything that they do. At Clan Gordon, we believe in always being honest with our clients and working in their best interest, even if sometimes that means less profit for us.
What If You’re Not Happy With Your Letting Agent?
We make sure our landlords know how to make a complaint. We’re pretty confident they won’t need to, but if they do we want to get it sorted – fast! We have a clear complaints procedure in place that offers clients a simple system through which complaints are handled and resolved.
You should always have peace of mind your letting agent is taking good care of your money too. All funds should be held in a designated account and guarded through a money protection scheme.
Ahead Of The Curve
Not all landlords use digital technology to manage their properties, which means they’re not as efficient as Clan Gordon. We use cloud-based communications software so all communications are linked to the property and can be accessed by everyone in the team, meaning our landlords have one point of contact.
Just How Easy Is It To Switch Letting Agents?
It couldn’t be easier to make the switch, just follow these steps:
- Schedule a call - our team will walk you through the process
- Give notice to your agent - we'll take care of everything from here, so you don’t have to worry about any paperwork hassles
- Sit back and relax - know your property is finally in safe hands with Edinburgh’s highest-rated letting agent
Don't waste time wondering whether you could and should be getting a better service from your Edinburgh letting agent. Schedule a call with Clan Gordon today and experience the first-class service every landlord deserves. We'll guide you through the whole switching process, providing all the information you need and ensuring everything is done in accordance with Scottish Government and local authority guidelines.
We want you to be 100% happy with the service we provide, and our website is packed with tips, advice and information for Edinburgh landlords, including a guide to the 7 pitfalls to avoid when letting your property.