Scotland has witnessed some major legislative changes to its letting sector, resulting in a lot of movement within the entire Private Rented Sector (PRS). However, Galbraith, Scotland’s leading independent property consultancy, believes that these changes are nothing to be feared by landlords.
In particular, one of the biggest changes includes Short Assured Tenancies by Private Residential being replaced by Private Residential Tenancies. This now offers tenants an increase in security of their tenure, along with a reduction of ways in which tenants may be subject to eviction.
The other notable change is that from 31st January this year, a new code of practise was introduced by the Scottish government, along with a mandatory register for letting agents. This new code has meant that key individuals in a letting agency must be trained to a certain level. They have until 30th September 2018 to receive the appropriate training, and if they fail to do so then they will not be allowed to continue letting properties.
Steps have already been taken by Galbraith to prepare its staff. Months before the new code comes into force, it has staff qualified at the highest level in all areas in which it lets properties. This includes Ayr, Castle Douglas, Cupar, Elgin, Galashiels, Inverness, Perth and Sterling.
Bob Cherry, a partner with Galbraith who manages lettings activity for the firm, said: “Essentially these two legislative changes combined will add up to increased professionalism in the letting sector, particularly in terms of how letting agents operate.
“All reputable letting agents will already to a large extent be in compliance with the new code. What will happen is that fewer letting agents will set up in business and potentially fewer new landlords may come into the sector for the first time. As long as landlords take professional advice, they will be well supported to navigate the complexities of the new regulatory regime. In the medium term, rents are likely to rise, which can only be good news for landlords.
“Our lettings staff are supported to achieve the highest industry qualification delivered by ARLA Propertymark, the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents. This provides reassurance to tenants and landlords that Galbraith adheres to the highest professional standards.
“Our local knowledge and national reach ensures that landlords can expect a hassle-free let for their property and tenants are protected from unscrupulous landlords.
“We find that most rented properties will find a tenant very shortly after being made available to let, often within a couple of weeks. Further legislative changes over the next 18 months, in terms of the change in the minimum energy performance certificate permissible in Scotland will help to raise standards for available property.
“We have already begun helping landlords to comply with these requirements and, in many cases, we are able to help landlords access funding for improvements to their property which bring it into line with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations, often at no cost to them.
“Property is still viewed as one of the most popular and safest forms of investment and, with the right advice, can offer landlords a very appealing and long-term investment option, given the continued shortage of good quality housing supply.”