What are we up to?
With another successful Festival under our belt and a busy September preparing our student properties, we can finally pause for breath and send out a wee update.
Festival demand was strong again this year with all our Festival flats let for at least 3 weeks of the 3 ½ week Festival period. Unusually, demand for the third week was significantly weaker than the first two weeks and this was reflected in the feel around the city. From the turn of the New Year we will be starting the push for Festival 2016 with the hope that the trend to book properties earlier in the year continues.
At this time of year we find most of our short term properties let on 1-3 month contracts as the demand for shorter holiday lets cools off. The demand for central 1 bedroom properties remains very strong and we find high demand from foreign students relocating to Edinburgh for placements, particularly for the first academic semester.
After the sharp upwards correction in long term rental prices in the last 12 months the published data points to prices stabilising in Edinburgh. The stabilising prices in Edinburgh are positive against a backdrop of declining rents elsewhere. Declines are seen across all property types in Aberdeen, as a result of the oil downturn, and also in some property types in other major Scottish cities. Despite this we see no let-off in the high number of enquiries, especially for 1 bedroom and student properties.
Vicky has been prised away from her desk and has now finished up for maternity leave. Knowing Vicky she will not be away for long but in the meantime the main point of contact for short term landlords will be Annabel and Rick for long term landlords.
Buildings and Contents Insurance
We have just gone through the process of renewing our landlord block insurance policy with Lets XL. We are pleased to say that we can offer the same competitive rates to our long term landlords as we did last year. If you would like a no obligation quote, please get in touch.
For our short term properties we continue to use Leaseguard as our preferred supplier and we are happy to liaise with them on your behalf to provide a quote.
Changes in Electrical Safety Legislation
At the end of September we contacted those landlords impacted by the changes in electrical legislation that is to come into force in December 2015. I have attached that communication again as an appendix below. We are in the process of scheduling any required certificates.
Landlord Referral Scheme
If you know anyone who is considering renting out their property then please put them in touch. We will be happy to offer them advice on any aspect of lettings with no obligation. Should we subsequently let their property on any of our full management packages then we will happily offer you £50 as a wee thank you!
Another big thanks to the 3 landlords who kindly referred us in the last month.
As we strive to offer the best service possible to our landlords and tenants we would like to ask you to provide us with your feedback. If you have anything to say we would love to hear from you. Thank you for your continued support!
Appendix – Changes in Electrical Safety Legislation
The law is changing relating to electrical safety in privately rented properties in Scotland. We are sending you this update as these changes impact your property.
What is the new legislation?
From 1st December 2015, under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, landlords in Scotland will be required by law to ensure that their properties are electrically safe. This covers:
• The installations in the property for the supply of electricity
• Electrical fixtures and fittings, and
• Any appliances provided by the landlord under the tenancy
Landlords must be able to show that these are in a reasonable state of repair and in proper working order.
What needs to be done?
Landlords are required to ensure that regular safety inspections are carried out. An electrical safety inspection has two parts:
- An Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) on the safety of the electrical installations, fixtures and fittings, and
- A Portable Appliance Test (PAT) on any portable appliances that you have provided as landlord.
What is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR)?
A registered electrician will carry out an inspection of:
• Installations for the supply of electricity,
• Electrical fittings, including – the consumer unit (or fusebox), switches, sockets, light fittings etc.
• Fixed electrical equipment, including – heating equipment, boilers, smoke alarms etc.
Anything that fails to pass the electrical safety inspection must be replaced or repaired immediately.
An EICR needs to be carried out every 5 years and the cost of the report is £100 +VAT.
Portable Appliance Testing
This covers any movable electrical equipment that the landlord has provided as part of the tenancy. The PAT test requires a label for each appliance tested. These appliances include:
• Electrical white goods (e.g. washing machines)
• Electrical brown goods (e.g. televisions)
• Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles
• Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and
• Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.
Any appliance that fails the test must be replaced or repaired immediately
A PAT must be undertaken on an annual basis (most of our properties already do) and the cost varies depending on the number of portable appliances. Average costs are £30-£50.
For those properties that do not already have a valid EICR and PAT certificate we will be arranging for these to take place in the coming months ahead of the legislation change in December.
If you are a let only landlord then you are copied on this communication for information only.
A copy of the most recent reports must be given to a new tenant before the start of their tenancy and if an inspection is carried out during a tenancy, a copy relating to that inspection must be given to the tenant.
If you already have valid EICR and PAT certificates that we are not aware of, please forward them onto us.