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Top tips for DIY landlords

Demand for good quality rental homes continues to rise across all regions in Scotland, according to property consultancy Galbraith.

With the PRS continuing to offer a good investment opportunity and high competition among tenants pushing rental prices up, the firm is urging existing and prospective landlords to consider the following top tips to ensure a successful tenancy.   

Galbraith’s checklist:

1. Vet prospective tenants thoroughly, it’s important to check bank, employer and previous landlord references. Generally, as a rule of thumb, a tenant’s annual income should be at least 30 times the monthly property rent.

2. Always take a deposit and perhaps more importantly always protect it through one of the Scottish deposit protection schemes. If the deposit isn’t protected with a scheme as the landlord you can be made to pay the tenant three times the deposit amount back. Most tenants expect to have to pay a deposit of at least one month’s rent so be wary of those who try to wriggle out of this.

3. Schedule regular property checks don’t just leave tenants to their own devices after moving in. Ensure that the first inspection is within three months of the move in date and at least annually thereafter. If there is a breach of the lease act on this immediately, don’t leave it to perpetuate or get worse.

4. Alert tenants to rent arrears straight away as acting promptly will prevent the situation becoming difficult. Keep a copy of all paper work and emails sent to tenants as well as this will make it easier to serve a ‘Notice to Quit’ to tenants if the contract is consistently breached.

5. Keep up-to-date with legislation. The new Scottish Private Residential Tenancy, (SPRT) is expected to be introduced at the end of 2017 and means that the grounds for repossession becomes more restricted; all the more reason to ensure you find suitable tenants from the outset.

As the letting sector becomes more heavily regulated Galbraith fully expect to see a rise in the number of landlords seeking professional advice and assistance.

Bob Cherry, head of lettings for Galbraith, said: “We are often approached by landlords for advice or assistance once a problem has already developed. Seeking help early on can avoid costly mistakes.” 

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