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Western Lettings - Letting Agents Blog

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  • 0141 357 0436
  • J Gallagher
  • May 01, 2018 01:24:47 PM
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A Little About Us

A blog containing news about Western Lettings (an award winning letting agency in Glasgow) as well as useful information and resources for landlords and tenants.

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    Is it Better to Let a Furnished or Unfurnished Property?

    There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Furnished and unfurnished properties both play an important role in the lettings market. Tenants’ circumstances vary and a property that is perfect for one tenant can be completely wrong for […] The post Is it Better to Let a Furnished or Unfurnished Property? appeared first on Western...

    There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Furnished and unfurnished properties both play an important role in the lettings market. Tenants’ circumstances vary and a property that is perfect for one tenant can be completely wrong for another. Which option is best for you as a landlord will depend on a number of factors.

    • Whether your property is currently furnished
    • The length of time you are planning to rent your property
    • The type of property you are letting
    • Where your property is located
    • The type of tenants you are hoping to attract
    • The rent you hope to achieve for your property

    Furnished Properties

    Smaller properties in city locations are more likely to be let furnished. This is because the rental market for this type of property will generally be younger in age. Properties like this will attract first time renters who have just left home and young professionals who are not looking for somewhere long term to stay. Moving into a fully furnished flat is usually a good option for this type of renter. They will not need to supply their own furniture and will be able to move straight in with minimum fuss and effort.

    Advantages

    • Attractive to younger tenants who don’t want the expense or hassle of having to buy furniture
    • Usually easier to let as the market for this type of property is bigger
    • Well-furnished flats can usually command a higher rental value
    • If your property is already furnished you don’t have the hassle of emptying it and paying for storage

    Disadvantages

    • Furniture is subject to wear and tear and you will need to replace items as and when required
    • Properties with worn out or scruffy items of furniture may actually be more difficult to rent than an unfurnished property
    • A detailed inventory of the contents of the property will need to be undertaken before and after every tenancy
    • You will need to take out proper contents insurance to cover the cost of your furniture

     

    Unfurnished Properties

    Larger flats and houses are more likely to be let unfurnished.  However, the actual definition of an ‘unfurnished property’ can vary. In general, they will have as a minimum, carpets or flooring, curtains or blinds, kitchen fittings, white goods (fridge, freezer, washing machine etc.) This type of property tends to attract more mature tenants with or without families. This is because this type of tenant is more likely to have acquired their own furniture over the years and will want to use it to furnish and personalise their new home.

    Advantages

    • Attracts tenants with their own furniture so you don’t need to buy furniture
    • Less hassle for you as a landlord as you don’t have to worry about furniture wear and tear
    • You don’t have to pay to insure your furniture
    • You have a significantly reduced liability for council tax during void periods
    • Tenants may be more likely to stay in your property for longer
    • Preparing your property between tenancies is easier

    Disadvantages

    • It can take longer to let this type of property depending on the area

     

    Before making any final decision on whether to let your property out furnished or unfurnished, it is also a good idea to spend some time investigating the demand for each, in your area. Go online and check out how properties, similar to yours, are being let in your area. This is where employing a good local letting agent like Western Lettings can really help. They will have experience of the advantages and disadvantages of both options. They will be happy to use their intimate knowledge of the letting market in your area, along with your own particular circumstances to help you decide on the choice that is right for you.

    If you are looking to let your property and need some help, Western Lettings is an award-winning letting agent in Glasgow. We know the local property market inside out can help you decide on the best way to let your particular property.  We also provide full property management services. Please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436

    The post Is it Better to Let a Furnished or Unfurnished Property? appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Latest Changes to Landlord and Tenant Legislation 2019

    Private landlords and tenants in Scotland have had to deal with a lot of regulatory changes in the last few years e.g. the new Private Residential Tenancy, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, etc. This has continued into 2019 with even more […] The post Latest Changes to Landlord and Tenant Legislation 2019 appeared first on Western...

    Private landlords and tenants in Scotland have had to deal with a lot of regulatory changes in the last few years e.g. the new Private Residential Tenancy, The Tenancy Deposit Scheme, etc. This has continued into 2019 with even more new legislative changes for landlords and tenants to be aware of. Below is a short summary of some of the key changes that came into force on 1st March 2019 as well as some information about other important changes that are on their way.

     

    1. Smoke, Heat and CO Detectors

    The Housing (Scotland) Act has already made it mandatory for private landlords to take steps to protect tenants from fire, smoke and carbon monoxide. This includes installing a minimum number of mains-powered, interlinked smoke and heat alarms as well as a carbon monoxide detector if the property has a carbon fuelled appliance e.g. boiler, open fire, heater. However, in Feb 2019 some new changes to the legislation were published. These stated that from 1st March 2019, landlords are now permitted to fit either

      • Tamper-proof, long-life interlinked lithium battery alarms

    OR

      • Mains powered interlinked alarms

    Any properties fitted with mains powered alarms can continue using them until the end of the manufacturers permitted lifespan. After that time landlords can choose to replace them with lithium battery or mains powered alarms.

    The new legislation also demands that

      • The expiry date should be visible on each alarm
      • Alarms can be linked with wires or wirelessly (by radio communication)
      • Smoke alarms should conform to BS EN 14604
      • Heat alarms should conform to BS 5446-2
      • Multi-sensor alarms should conform to BS EN 54-29 or BS EN 14604

     

    2. The Repairing Standard

    The Repairing Standard is a basic level of repair that all private rented properties must meet. It includes things such as a property being water and wind tight with safe installations of gas, electricity, heating, etc. From 1st March 2019, the Repairing Standard will include the Tolerable Standard. The Tolerable Standard is the minimum standard a property must meet to be deemed fit for human habitation. This is a significant change. It means that any work that needs to be done in order to comply can now be raised by a private tenant in an application to the First-Tier Tribunal.

     

    3. Common Repairs

    It is a landlord’s responsibility to make sure that their property meets the Repairing Standard. However, coordinating and carrying out repairs in common areas of tenements and flats is often difficult. Trying to get the consent, monies and even access to all parties can sometimes prove impossible. From 1st March 2019, a landlord will not be in breach of the Repairing Standard if they have made reasonable attempts to comply but cannot because a majority of owners in the tenement refuse consent for the work.

     

    4. Holiday Lets

    The Repairing Standard will no longer apply to tenancies of less than 31 days where the purpose of the let is for a holiday.

     

    5. Minimum Energy Efficiency Requirements

    A consultation was held by the Scottish Government in the summer of 2017 on this issue. Its aim was to look at minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented housing. This is because 28% of private rented property currently falls into the 3 lowest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands of E, F and G. This has resulted in the following:

    • From 1st April 2020, a new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) of at least band E.
    • By 31st March 2022, ALL properties will need to have an EPC of at least band E.
    • From 1st April 2022, a new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band D.
    • By 31st March 2025, ALL properties will need to have an EPC of at least band D.

     

    Keeping up with the latest changes to legislation is a very important part of being a landlord. Western Lettings is an experienced letting agent in Glasgow and is always on hand to offer help and up to date advice to all our landlords and tenants. If you would like more information about our range of landlord services we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436.

    The post Latest Changes to Landlord and Tenant Legislation 2019 appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Is My Tenancy Deposit Protected?

    In March 2011 the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (Scotland) came into force. Since this date every letting agency in Scotland that receives a tenant deposit is now required by law to register with their local authority and join a tenancy […] The post Is My Tenancy Deposit Protected? appeared first on Western...

    In March 2011 the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Regulations (Scotland) came into force. Since this date every letting agency in Scotland that receives a tenant deposit is now required by law to register with their local authority and join a tenancy deposit scheme. If they fail to comply they can face fines. The purpose of the schemes is to keep tenants’ money protected and ensure that they get back any money they are owed at the end of their tenancy.

    Which tenancy deposit schemes are approved in Scotland?

    In Scotland there are three tenancy deposit scheme providers to choose from:

    At Western Lettings we register deposits from our tenants with Safe Deposits Scotland.

    How do I know if my deposit has been registered with a scheme?

    Once you have paid your deposit your letting agent must register your deposit with a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days. They should then send you details of the scheme your deposit is registered with. At Western Lettings we will email you information about the scheme we use, Safe Deposits Scotland and send you a DAN (Deposit Account Number). The DAN will allow you to login to their website and claim back your deposit at the end of your tenancy.

    If your letting agent hasn’t given you any information about a tenancy deposit scheme, you can check yourself to see if your deposit is registered. You do this by visiting the websites of the approved tenancy deposit schemes (listed above) and entering a few basic details about you and your tenancy.

    What does my tenancy deposit cover?

    When renting a property, most landlords or letting agents will ask for a deposit. A tenancy deposit acts as a guarantee against:

    • Damage to the property (excluding general wear and tear)
    • Missing or broken items
    • Unpaid rent
    • Outstanding gas, electricity, phone bills etc.
    • Additional professional cleaning that is required if the property is left in a poor condition

    If any of the above conditions occur, your deposit will be used to pay to make things right e.g. for extra cleaning to be carried out, damaged items to be fixed or missing items replaced etc. As long as you are a careful tenant, pay your bills on time and leave the property in the same condition as when you moved in, you will get your deposit back in full.

     

    How do I go about getting my tenancy deposit back?

    Different letting agencies have different procedures for this. At Western Lettings we will arrange a tenant check-out appointment at the end of your tenancy. We will go through the inventory that you were given at the start of the tenancy, checking for damaged or missing items. We will also check that everything has been left clean and tidy, ready for the next tenants and take final meter readings that we can forward on to your new address. Once this is complete, you can use your DAN to login to the Safe Deposits Scotland website and make a repayment request. If Western Lettings believe there are reasons to make deposit deductions we will always try to reach an agreement with the tenant first. If this is not possible and all attempts to reach agreement fail, we will make our case to the representatives of Safe Deposits Scotland.

     

    Why are tenancy deposit schemes important?

    According to the Office for National Statistics, the private rental market now makes up 15% of all households in Scotland. With such high numbers in rented accommodation it is extremely important that deposits are kept in a safe place for the duration of the tenancy. Government approved tenancy deposit schemes protect against landlords or letting agencies going bankrupt and tenants losing all of their money. In addition, they greatly improve transparency and give tenants more opportunity to challenge deductions which they believe to be unfair.

    If you are a landlord and need help with letting or managing your property, Western Lettings would love to hear from you. We are an ARLA licensed, multi-award winning letting agents in Glasgow. Give us a call on 0141 357 0436 or get in touch to find out more about our range of landlord services.

    The post Is My Tenancy Deposit Protected? appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Festive Opening Hours

    Western Lettings would like to wish all of our clients a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes!   Important information – Office opening hours over the festive period are as follows: Christmas Eve 09:00 AM […] The post Festive Opening Hours appeared first on Western...

    Western Lettings would like to wish all of our clients a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year when it comes!
     
    Important information – Office opening hours over the festive period are as follows:
    Christmas Eve 09:00 AM – 12:00PM 
    Christmas Day – Closed
    Boxing Day – Closed
    Thursday 27th December open as normal 09:00 AM – 17.00 PM
    Friday 28th December open as normal 09:00 AM – 17:00 PM
    New Years Eve – Closed
    New Year’s Day – Closed
    Wednesday 2nd January  2019– Closed
    Thursday 3rd January 2019 re open as normal 09:00 AM – 17:00 PM

    The post Festive Opening Hours appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Western Lettings Partners with CreditLadder

    Western Lettings in Glasgow is delighted to announce a new partnership with rent reporting platform CreditLadder. We realise that for nearly all tenants, rent is their biggest monthly expense. What comes as a surprise for most people is that unlike […] The post Western Lettings Partners with CreditLadder appeared first on Western...

    Western Lettings in Glasgow is delighted to announce a new partnership with rent reporting platform CreditLadder.

    We realise that for nearly all tenants, rent is their biggest monthly expense. What comes as a surprise for most people is that unlike on time mortgage payments, on time rent payments are not added to an individual’s credit score. A healthy credit history is vital for us all as it helps secure better deals on credit cards, loans, utility bills, and even mobile phone contracts.

    The great news is we’ve teamed up with CreditLadder who are the UK’s first and biggest rent reporting platform. Our partnership with CreditLadder helps our tenants sign up to CreditLadder for free and ensure that rent payments are added to every tenant’s Experian credit history.

    In August, CreditLadder were the biggest winners of HM Treasury’s Rent Recognition Challenge (RRC) and to date over £30m in rent payments have been reported through to Experian.

    “We’re delighted to be working with Western Lettings. They’ve been keen to help reward on time rent payments from tenants and our partnership will help ensure even more tenants can benefit from rent reporting’ says CreditLadder CEO Sheraz Dar.

    Jack Gallagher said, “Here at Western Lettings we know it’s important to help tenants as much as we can, so the partnership with CreditLadder means their on-time rent payments make a real difference to their credit history. It’s also a great way to help attract responsible tenants which is also great news for all our landlords”

    In further good news, moves are afoot to ensure rent payments (and council tax payments) are always taken into account when lending decisions are made. John Bird, the founder of The Big Issue, has been leading the way and his Credit Worthiness Assessment Bill  is now going through the House of Commons. The proposed legislation aims to make rental payments a compulsory part of a credit score. We think this is good news all round for all our tenants and landlords.

     

    If you would like some more information about this new service or about any of our other property letting or property management services, please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436

    The post Western Lettings Partners with CreditLadder appeared first on Western Lettings.


    Benefits of Virtual Tours for Attracting New Tenants

    If you are a landlord looking for new tenants in a hurry, choosing a letting agent who can offer viewers a 360⁰ virtual tour of your property can make a big difference. That is why Western Lettings in Glasgow have […] The post Benefits of Virtual Tours for Attracting New Tenants appeared first on Western...

    If you are a landlord looking for new tenants in a hurry, choosing a letting agent who can offer viewers a 360⁰ virtual tour of your property can make a big difference. That is why Western Lettings in Glasgow have recently introduced them for all of their properties.

    What is a 360⁰ Virtual Tour?

    A virtual tour is a collection of slowly rotating images that allow a viewer to navigate around a property, exploring every room in the comfort of their own home. It is the closest thing to actually being in the property and provides a much better sense of what a property is truly like. A good virtual tour will have wide angle views of rooms, highlight the main selling points of the property and use good quality images throughout. Virtual tours are even better when viewed with a virtual reality headset. All of the virtual tours on Western Lettings website support this technology.

    What are the benefits of Virtual Tours?

    1. Competitive edge

    It is well known that potential tenants spend most of their time online when searching for a property to rent. It is also known that virtual tour technology is extremely popular with viewers and properties advertised with this facility are clicked on more often than those without. A letting agent that can offer virtual tours will definitely be giving their properties a competitive edge.

    1. Provides more thorough information

    It has been shown that a virtual tour keeps viewers focused on a property for much longer. This is because it is more engaging, more accurate and provides much more useful information than a series of static two dimensional images. The 360⁰ sweep enables viewers to see into every corner of every room and makes the flow and layout of a property much easier to understand.

    1. Saves time

    Virtual tours save tenants time by helping them narrow down the number of properties they need to view in person. The much greater detail and information provided by virtual tours enables viewers to ‘rule out’ properties that are not suitable, from the comfort of their own homes.

    1. Reduces the number of property viewings

    Only those viewers with real intentions of renting will make arrangements to view a property in person. People interested in viewing the property for any other reason will be satisfied with a virtual tour. This will reduce the overall number of property viewings that are required. This is particularly useful for reducing disruption to the lives of current tenants (near the end of their tenancy) who may still be occupying the property that is being viewed.

    1. Attracts distant viewers

    Virtual tours are extremely attractive to clients who live further afield. It saves them time and money by substantially reducing the number of properties they will need to view in person. However it is very important that a property is not rented on the basis of a virtual tour alone. A good letting agent will always want to conduct a property viewing with prospective tenants, firstly to get to meet them face to face and secondly to ensure they have seen the property in its entirety.

    All landlords know the importance of finding suitable new tenants fast. This is where choosing the right letting agent can make a big difference. A good letting agency will always be looking for new ways to do things better. That is why Western Lettings have recently introduced virtual tours for all of their properties. Not many letting agencies in Glasgow currently offer this service but if they do, remember to check if they charge extra for it. Western Lettings provide this service, alongside their traditional marketing, at no extra cost.

    It is clear If you are a landlord looking for help to let and manage your property Western Lettings would love to hear from you. We are award winning letting agents in Glasgow. Please get in touch or give us a call on 0141 357 0436.

    The post Benefits of Virtual Tours for Attracting New Tenants appeared first on Western Lettings.


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