Friday, 18 January 2019

Today’s Confession, well, where do I even start?

Latest from The Key Place’s ‘Confessions of a ..... Letting Agent’ series which takes a behind the scenes look at the operation of a busy lettings business.


We have a property on our books which we have managed for a long time.  The tenant is a 50 year old man who lives with his mother, and the lease is in his name.  The tenant has a sister who is not on the lease but who has been authorised by the tenant to deal with all property related matters on his behalf.  And so the sister, let’s call her Susan, is who The Key Place has to deal with.

Now I suspect Susan is the older sister.  She works for a public sector body and has the talking style of a 6 page letter without punctuation.  She clearly has too much time on her hands given her level of involvement in the property, and she has read up on every single possible legality with regards to renting in Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and beyond.  She claims to record every call we have with her.

We wanted to inspect the property but were refused access.  The reason given was that the tenant would be too stressed by the inspection, plus he has allergies which prevents anyone who has gone within an inch of a bar of soap from entering the property.  We gave the required notice as per the lease to gain access to the property to carry out an inspection.  Myself and a manager were on our way to the property when we received a phone call from Susansaying that under no circumstances were we to come to the property and if we did, the police would be called.  The reason given was that we had not sent written confirmation that we accepted their conditions of entry – we hadn’t had this request so couldn’t give written confirmation.  We abandoned the inspection as we knew we could not inspect without approval or a court order.

We refused to give up!  Eventually it was agreed that our Chief Exec could inspect the property as long as he didn’t shower with soap that morning and used no deodorant or aftershave.  He had to agree that the tenant would smell him at the door before he was allowed access (yes really!).  And so the inspection took place.  The property was found to be OK, not in the best condition but not bad.  There were some things needing seen to, however the family were not keen (you can imagine) on work being done in the house, and so we had to negotiate what could be actioned, balancing landlord obligations under repairing standards verses smaller jobs that could be left. 

The main repairs needing attention were a damaged back door, some work to the kitchen and a cracked front door step.  Taking the front step as an example of how difficult this all became - the tenant eventually agreed the step could be fixed but stated the repair could take no more than 1 hour.  Apart from this 1 hour they wanted continuous access to their house.  When we explained that this was impossible and that the tenants were being unreasonable Susan said she would go the police, MP’s, the newspapers.  As we always do when we are threatened by people, we acknowledged that it was Susan’s right to go to the police, MP’s, the newspapers etc. but we suggested that speaking to a lawyer in the first instance might be a better idea from herpoint of view to ensure that her position was sensible.  This surprised Susan who has assumed that her threats of ‘taking things further` would scare us, but, as we were doing things by the book, we had nothing to be concerned about.

And so where are we today?  Well the step has been mended after incredible negotiation, however some of the other repairs have not been dealt with due to tenant refusal.  The property does at least meet the repairing standard.  We have not been allowed to re-inspect yet but we hope to shortly.  The landlord has been kept fully informed at all points and knows exactly what is going on at his property.  We do not believe the tenants are going to intentionally damage the property and they pay their rent every month without fail.  The owner would need to spend money on his property if the tenants were to leave, and so for him, he would rather keep the paying tenants, even although we can’t carry out inspections as regularly as we would like.

This is an on-going difficult situation as we still have a job to do.  We certainly feel that we have earned our management fee on this one!


#bathgate #bonnyrigg #bo’ness #boness #dalkeith #edinburgh #falkirk #grangemouth #kelso #linlithgow #livingston #loanhead #musselburgh #penicuik #stirling #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #privaterentedsector #prs

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Values of Edinburgh flats smash through the £320/sq ft barrier


As I mentioned in one of my blogs the other week, I was having a cup of tea at Cafe Contini in George Street recently with a landlord.  This landlord already has a couple of residential properties as well as a commercial unit that are doing very well for him and is on the look out for a third residential property.  When we were talking, he asked me a question that made complete sense in terms of commercial property but was as bit ‘left field’ from a residential property point of view – how much he should be paying per square foot?

Well, that was a challenge and you know how I like a challenge!


So I did my research and found out that:
  • The average flat in Edinburgh is currently selling for approximately £323 per square foot costing, on average, £228,110.
  • Terraced houses in the town are currently selling for, on average, £378,876 or £317 per square foot.
  • An average semi in Edinburgh is obtaining for £370,631 and achieving £317 per square foot.
  • Finally, the average detached house in Edinburgh is achieving £334 per square foot and is selling for £565,637 although this selling price is skewed by a relatively small number of high value properties that do not make viable buy to let properties.

Now these are of course averages, but it gives you a good place to start from.


My research reveals that Edinburgh flats tend to generate a better yield than detached, semi-detached or terraced houses (probably because there is greater demand for rented flats than there is for houses in Edinburgh), flats tend to appreciate in value more rapidly than detached, semi-detached or terraced houses (probably for the same reason) and flats may well be easier to sell (remember 65.1% of properties in Edinburgh are flats compared to a national average of 36.4%).

So, flats are the cheapest to buy in absolute £ terms, are not far off the cheapest to buy in per sq ft terms, give the highest rental yield and give the highest capital growth.  

That’s interesting!

If you would like to explore how we can help you with your property investments, or should you require any advice about investing in the Edinburgh property market, wish to enquire about our Investment Analysis Reports, Property Sourcing, Residential Lettings or Property Management services, please do not hesitate to visit The Edinburgh Property Blog (www.theedinburghpropertyblog.co.uk), contact me for a chat (phone me on 0131 603 4570) or email me (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk).


#edinburgh #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #energyefficiency #privaterentedsector #prs #firsttimebuyers #brexit #hardbrexit #cliffedge

Friday, 11 January 2019

Changes to smoke detection rules for Edinburgh landlords


It has been a few years since it has been law to have smoke detection equipment in private rented properties. 

The law currently is that you need a smoke alarm in each living area (in practice, living rooms) and circulation areas (in practice, halls and landings) as well as heat alarms in kitchens.  These need to be hard-wired and inter-connected (meaning that is one goes off then all go off).

Most landlords can get their heard around the benefit of having this safety detection equipment in their properties but there is genuine gripes about the damage or unsightliness of the hard-wiring particularly in older buildings with, for example, ornate cornicing.  This is particularly the case given the significant advances in battery technology since the law was introduced.

The Scottish Government has listened to these concerns and from 1 March 2019 landlords will be permitted to install inter-linked long life sealed lithium battery alarms instead of mains powered ones.
As an aside, from 1 February 2021 all properties in Scotland must meet the same standard of smoke/heat and CO alarm provision as the Private Rented Sector, regardless of tenure.  This means that there will be a level playing field in this regard for private, social and Council landlords ….. which is something that private landlord has been asking for for a long time now.



#bathgate #bonnyrigg #bo’ness #boness #dalkeith #edinburgh #falkirk #grangemouth #kelso #linlithgow #livingston #loanhead #musselburgh #penicuik #stirling #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #energyefficiency #privaterentedsector #prs #firsttimebuyers #brexit #hardbrexit #cliffedge #smokedetection

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Buy to let in Edinburgh made easy with this modern flat!


Today’s buy to let opportunity from The Edinburgh Property Blog is modern two bed flat in Warriston.

The flat is in Powerhall Rigg.  It has a lounge with a kitchen off it, two good sized double bedrooms one with an en suite and built in wardrobes and a bathroom.   There is gas central heating, double glazing and a door entry system.  Outside, there is residents’ parking as well as communal grounds.

The flat looks are if it is in rentable condition subject to the normal caveats regarding the need to check the safety stuff.





Turning to the financials.  The asking price for this property, which is on the market with McEwan Legal, is offers over £199,995.  It has been on the market for a while and the price has been dropped from the original – there was price drop on 26 October 2018 – which suggest a motivated seller so let’s say it goes for £215,00. I would expect that a rent of £900 could be achievable on this flat which gets you to a gross rental yield of 5%. 

We hope you find our posts useful.  If you would like some advice with your potential investment, please call me on 0131 603 4570 or email me on robert@thekeyplace.co.uk.


Thursday, 3 January 2019

Edinburgh landlords – help from HMRC with your tax return

Happy, happy New Year to you.

I know, I know, I know that I am being brave mentioning the words ‘HMRC’ and ‘tax return’ on the first day back after the festive break but I am trying to be helpful ….. honest!

Landlords are required to submit tax returns to HMRC annually declaring ALL their income and all the tax they have paid on this income already eg tax deducted at source. 

Tax returns for the 2017/18 tax year to 5 April 2018 needs to be submitted and, any tax arsing thereon, paid by 31 January 2019 at the latest.

To be helpful to landlords ….. as well as all other tax payers ….. HMRC are running a series of webinars aimed at helping different groups from amongst the 5.5 million individuals expected to complete a self-assessment form in the next few weeks.

One of these webinars is just for landlords and considers in detail the completing of the property section of the online tax returns.

You can see a link to register for the webinars by clicking here.

We hope you find our posts useful.  If you would like some advice with your potential investment, please call us (on 031 603 4570) or email me (robert@thekeyplace.co.uk).



#bathgate #bonnyrigg #bo’ness #boness #dalkeith #edinburgh #falkirk #grangemouth #kelso #linlithgow #livingston #loanhead #musselburgh #penicuik #stirling #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #hmrc #taxreturns

Monday, 24 December 2018

The Edinburgh Property Blog - Festive Greetings To All Our Readers



Well investors 2018 is drawing to a close and the property world is beginning to go into Christmas hibernation, so I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the followers of the blog for your support during 2018.

Your support has been much appreciated and I have enjoyed the debate the blog has generated with you all, the majority of whom have become good friends, as well as valued customers. It has been an interesting year for investors in the Edinburgh property market, with increases in average prices combined with much new and rents in the face of the BREXIT uncertainty, new legislation to take on board particularly for letting agents; announced changes in ADT rates, to name but a few.

Those of you who follow the blog know my views moving into the New Year and those of you with existing profitable portfolios in place have different challenges, to those just starting out in their property investment careers. As ever, I will endeavour to continue to post articles covering all investment opportunities in the property market in Edinburgh, when I return to the blog the week commencing 7th January.

In finishing I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

If you would like to explore how I can help you with your property investments, or should you require any advice about investing in the Edinburgh property market, wish to enquire about our Investment Analysis Reports, Property Sourcing, Residential Lettings or Property Management services, please do not hesitate to call me on 031 603 4570 or email me on robert@thekeyplace.co.uk.

Don't forget to visit www.theedinburghpropertyblog.co.uk to view back dated articles and deals from The Edinburgh Property Blog. 

www.thekeyplace.co.uk


#bathgate #bonnyrigg #bo’ness #boness #dalkeith #edinburgh #falkirk #grangemouth #kelso #linlithgow #livingston #loanhead #musselburgh #penicuik #stirling #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #energyefficiency #privaterentedsector #prs #firsttimebuyers #brexit #hardbrexit #cliffedge #epc #childbenefit #benefits

Friday, 14 December 2018

Implementation of minimum EPC rating for rental properties from 1st April 2020 .... the problem and the solution!



Problem: Implementation of Minimum “EPC” rating to enable property to be let

Solution:  Read Below

The Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) rules are being tightened up so that:
  • As from from 1 April 2020, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC rating of at least band “E” to enable the property to be legally available to be let.
  • By 31 March 2022, all rental properties require to have a Band E property rating.
  • By 31 March 2025, all rental properties will need to have at least an EPC band D rating.
https://www.gov.scot/publications/energy-efficient-scotland-frequently-asked-questions-private-rented-sector/

There is some ‘free’ funding available to help landlords with the improvements required to achieve these higher standards so long as their tenants are registered for at least of the benefits set out in Appendix 1.  This covers things like:
  • Internal Wall Insulation for stone/solid/system built properties (eg old tenements, bungalows, etc) heated by (a) plug in mobile heaters, (b) electric storage heaters or (c) electric panel/room heaters.
  • Loft insulation for properties with less than 100mm of existing loft insulation, this can be topped up to 400mm.
  • Cavity wall insulation for properties that have not had treatment for cavity wall insulation before. 
  • Room in roof insulation - this is where a room has been built into the loft area, but doesn’t have adequate insulation.
  • Under Floor Insulation – must have access hatch to under floor and 1m clear head room.
  • First time central heating – for properties that don’t have a current central heating system,  there is funding for a full central heating system. This will start from January 2019.
Experience of ‘free’ funding schemes is that it is best to get in quick before the money runs out ..... so do not delay!


Appendix A

The benefits mentioned above are as follows:

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Personal Independence payment (PiP)
Attendance Allowance
Carer’s Allowance
Severe disablement allowance
Industrial injuries disablement benefit
Income related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)
Income-based Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
Income Support
Pension Guarantee Credit
Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit)
Universal Credit
Child Benefit   





#bathgate #bonnyrigg #bo’ness #boness #dalkeith #edinburgh #falkirk #grangemouth #kelso #linlithgow #livingston #loanhead #musselburgh #penicuik #stirling #property #buytolet #realestate #ownermanagedbusiness #retirement #retirementplanning #energyefficiency #privaterentedsector #prs #firsttimebuyers #brexit #hardbrexit #cliffedge #epc #childbenefit #benefits