Renting out a property as a landlord is an effective way to earn a consistent, reliable income. Many see property as the most sure-fire way of making money without having to work a standard 9-5.
However, letting out a property in Scotland isn’t as simple as you might first think. There are many important points to consider to ensure you are in line with up-to-date property laws and it is essential that you take proper care of both your property and your tenant if you wish to achieve long-term success as a landlord.
As an experienced property management company, A&S Property knows a thing or two about effective property management strategies and managing property in Scotland.
With long-running property management services in Perth, Dundee and Glasgow, A&S Property understands the Scottish property market and works tirelessly to keep all our client’s properties in tip-top shape and in accordance with property laws.
To help budding and existing landlords with their property management, our team has put together this helpful property management guide. Read on to find out everything you need to know as a landlord in Scotland.
Landlord responsibilities in Scotland
Being a landlord comes with a lot of responsibility. It does not matter if you choose to let your property via a letting agent or privately, the legal responsibilities of renting out a property still come down to the owner of the property.
For that reason, there are a number of legal responsibilities that you should be aware of as a landlord in Scotland. These include:
- Having the correct, up-to-date details of all your tenants (name, address, emergency contact etc.)
- Creating an agreed means of communication between yourself and your tenant (this can be through a third party if preferred)
- Providing a full tenancy agreement to your tenant with both parties signing the document accordingly
- Storing and registering your tenant’s deposit with an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
- Providing an up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate to both prospective and confirmed tenants
- Take appropriate action to deal with anti-social behaviour in or around your property
- Conduct a Legionella Risk Assessment on your property
- Meet all safety requirements – gas, electric, fire, structural etc
- Have properly fitted fire and smoke alarms as required.
On top of these legal requirements, landlords also need to have a proper system in place to deal with unexpected issues, repairs and tenant requests or complaints. Being a landlord of just one property can be amount to full-time work and if managed poorly, landlords could find themselves in legal trouble.
Choosing a property management service to handle all landlord duties on your behalf could save you huge amounts of time, effort and trouble in the long run.
Managing repairs as a landlord in Scotland
Repairs are one of the most common issues that landlords (or letting agents) have to deal with when managing a property in Scotland. Things break. Pipes leak. Problems occur. It’s part and parcel of owning a property, and as a landlord, the responsibility to fix these issues falls on you.
Before any fixes take place however, it’s essential that all rental properties meet the repairing standard in Scotland. This means that your property must be:
- Wind and watertight
- Have all adequate fire detection devices installed and properly fitted
- Have proper carbon monoxide detectors installed and fitted
- Have properly functioning gas, electric and water systems
- All furnishings are safe for use
If any repairing issues need dealt with during the course of tenancy, the landlord must be able to provide adequate repairs either by dealing with the problem themselves if able, or by paying a third party to come out and fix the problem.
It’s advisable to have a trustworthy tradesman on hand when any such issues may occur. If you choose to work with a letting agent or property management service, they will be able to provide a tradesperson for you.
Landlords' guide on fire safety
Other important issues that you must be aware of as a landlord are related to fire safety. It’s essential that you take the appropriate fire safety measures by:
- Having a smoke alarm installed in main living room
- Having a smoke alarm in every circulation space such as hallways and landings
- Having a heat alarm installed in the kitchen area
- Ensuring all alarms are ceiling mounted
- Making sure all alarms are interlinked
- Having fire blankets in the kitchen
- Having a fire extinguisher in the hallway
- Having properly fitted fireproof doors
The legal requirements for fire safety and alarms are constantly evolving in a bid to make every home in Scotland safer against fire. It is critical that landlords understand their legal requirements when it comes to fire safety.
Having a property management company assist you in dealing with the legal repair and safety standards can be a great weight off the shoulders of landlords. If this is a service you are interested in, please contact A&S Property for quality property management in Dundee, Glasgow and Perth.
Finding a suitable tenant
A reliable, respectful tenant is key to a well-managed property. Although you might be thinking this responsibility is solely on the tenant, the landlord can take certain steps to ensure they find a suitable tenant that fits well with your property.
In order to find a tenant that fits your criteria and your ideal image, it’s important to:
- Conduct viewings with the prospective tenants
- Ask for character references
- Perform credit checks
- Make sure they can pay the deposit
- Find out about their current line of work
- Find out about their future plans (important if you are looking for long-term lets)
- Make sure both you and the tenant are happy before anything is signed
Finding the right tenant can take time, but it will benefit you in the long run. Many landlords rush through this process which ends up causing more problems and quicker tenant turnarounds.
A&S Property have a dedicated service for conducting tenant viewings and finding the most suitable tenants for your exact property. Landlords will always have the final say on this, but our property team will do the hard work for you.
Property management strategies
Managing a property effectively can be hard work if you don’t have a proper system in place. We’ve put together a list of helpful tips to ensure your property management strategies are effective and practical.
Our top tips for managing a property well are:
- Clearly set out rules and protocols before tenancy begins: all rules should be clearly communicated an in writing before anything is signed. Things like pets, smoking, noise etc should all be contained in the tenancy agreement. This will make dealing with disputes much easier in the future.
- Establish a clear line of communication: Make sure your tenant knows how (and when) they can contact you. If there are multiple people managing the property ensure the tenant understands who they should speak with in case any issues arise. Doing this from the get-go will make both your life and the tenant's life easier.
- Keep up to date with the law: Property law is constantly updating and changing. As a landlord, it’s critical to stay up-to-date with any changes or additions to the property laws in Scotland.
- Timely maintenance: Nothing is more likely to cause your tenants annoyance than long waits with repairs. Tenants are not able to make (or arrange) repairs themselves so it is important that you take responsibility for any repairs that need to be done. Doing this as quickly and effectively as possible will help keep your tenants happy and your property in good condition.
- Regular inspections: This ties in with the above. If you perform (or schedule) a regular inspection every few months it will be far less likely that your property will experience unexpected problems. Inspections also help ensure the property is being well kept by the tenant. Remember that you must notify your tenants in advance before any inspection is carried out.
- Outsource: Having a letting agent or a property management company manage your property for you is the surest way to ensure all aspects of good property management are met. Even if you outsource small parts, such as bookkeeping or viewings, you will have less to worry about. Outsourcing is highly recommended when managing a property in Scotland.
A reliable property management service Scotland
A&S Property are experts in managing properties in Scotland. With property management services located in Glasgow, Dundee and Perth, our team can confidently handle every aspect of property management that you require. From tenant screenings, property viewings, repairs, maintenance and legal disputes, A&S Property can do it all.
To find out more about our property management services or for further information on our landlord's guide Scotland, please contact our team today. We look forward to building a fruitful partnership together.