The last year has been a busy and eventful one for the Scottish lettings sector, with a new type of tenancy introduced and booming tenant demand.
But what do landlords need to do to ensure their properties are kept up to scratch and they remain successful in 2018?
Below, using our experience as the first dedicated lettings agency in West Lothian, we take a closer look…
Ensure your home is well-maintained
A rental home that looks the part is far more likely to be appealing to tenants. If the home in question is nice, warm and welcoming, it also stands to reason that tenants will stay put for longer.
Keeping your rental homes in good condition doesn’t take much time, money or effort. Deal with any repairs or maintenance issues in a fast and efficient manner, consider a quick repaint of the walls before a new tenancy starts and make it clear to tenants in their tenancy agreement that the property needs to be kept in a good state.
Rental homes that are environmentally friendly are also becoming increasingly important to tenants, so it’s vital that your home is well insulated and energy efficient.
The first few months of the year are often when rental properties are at their most vulnerable to damage, which makes it doubly imperative to keep your homes protected as temperatures plummet.
Build/maintain a good relationship
We looked previously at why attracting and then retaining long-term tenants is so important for landlords. If you’re looking to keep new tenants in place for a while, it’s vital that you strike up a good, mutually beneficial relationship from the off.
If you already have long-term tenants in place, don’t get complacent and take them for granted. Like any relationship, a landlord-tenant one needs to be maintained over time to keep both sides happy.
Picking the right tenants in the first place (something an experienced, knowledgeable letting agent can help you with) and then treating them well over time will help you to reduce the chances of void periods and keep your rental income steady and yields strong.
Work closely with your letting agent
As key as the landlord-tenant relationship is, a good relationship between landlord and letting agent is equally essential. A reliable letting agent can help you get the most from your rental properties, working closely with you to occupy your homes, collect rent on time, carry out any maintenance or repairs and deal with any issues or disputes.
Letting agents also help with marketing, preparing property particulars, conducting viewings, referencing tenants, managing tenancies and dealing with the checkout process. At Letting Solutions, we take care of your property as if it was our own and aim to make letting out property as smooth and painless as possible.
Expand your portfolio
This won’t be for everyone, but the current market conditions make it a good time for landlords to consider expanding their portfolios.
The private rented sector in Scotland is growing considerably, with recent research revealing that most Scots are happy to rent. According to the most recent Scottish Housing Survey, 40% of 16-34 year olds are renting privately, up significantly from just 16% in 1999. The number of people in this age bracket residing in the PRS is predicted to rise substantially in the next decade or so.
Invest in the right areas
When thinking about where to invest, you’ll have a few things in mind. For example: does the area have high tenant demand? What sort of rental prices are charged? What are the yields like? And what of capital gains?
The future prospects of selling your rental home may also come into your thinking. And landlords operating in Livingston, West Lothian’s largest town, may be pleased to know that it topped the list of the top 10 quickest places to sell in Q4 2017.
According to Rightmove, Livingston was the location where homes have been flying off the shelves quickest in the last quarter of this year, being sold in an average of 23 days – a full week quicker than 2016 and significantly lower than the national average of 67 days.
Livingston’s status as a commuter hub for those working in Edinburgh – with trains getting you to the capital in just 30 minutes – has made it increasingly desirable for both buyers and tenants. Young professionals and families are both attracted by the lower cost of living and quieter pace of life.
As such, landlords in Livingston and its surrounding areas have a wide pool of tenants to choose from. What’s more, if you were looking to sell one or more of your properties in future, there are few better places to be in the UK for sellers than Livingston.
To find out more about what Letting Solutions can offer you, please get in touch with us on 01506 425693.
We also provide instant online valuations to give you an idea of how much your rental property could be worth in the current marketplace.