The Key Place Journey 1st May 2015
Re-wind the clock 17 years to 1997, when Elton John was topping the charts with Candle in the Wind.
A friend asked me to look after her flat while she went traveling. I suggested she rent it out to cover her mortgage while she was away, and so I asked around, found someone to take it, and that was the first property on my books. Shortly after, another friend said that the owner of the flat in which he was living was looking for someone to look after the rental of his flat. He put us in touch with each other, and I took that property on. He had another 4 properties, which he also passed on to me, and soon my wee empire had grown to 6.
Over the subsequent few years, through organic growth, I built the business steadily up. Back then, there was no regulation. Properties could be let out to any number of people, without any requirements for even so much as a smoke alarm. As a result, the rental market was full of cowboy landlords out to make a buck. Many properties were over-occupied and let in poor, even dangerous conditions. Landlords often unfairly kept entire deposits at the end of a tenancy, and there was nothing tenants could do to get their money back. Fast forward to 2015, and what changed days.
Through the provision of a quality service to landlords, by 2010 I had built the business up to about 100 managed properties. In order to grow the business, I needed help. Robert Young, who had been working for 20 years as a Corporate Finance advisor, advising people on developing businesses particularly through acquisitions and disposals, saw the opportunity. He was keen to run his own business and also saw the chances that were being created by the introduction of regulation within the lettings industry. Since Robert came on board, we have bought The Key Place in Bo’ness, Claremont Properties in Kelso and Graham Young Estates in Penicuik. These have all now been brought under The Key Place banner.
Regulation of the property letting industry is essential and long overdue. The rogue landlords had to be weeded out, and tenants have a right to feel comfortable and safe in their own homes. Slowly and steadily, one requirement after another has been brought in, with more regulations on the way. Please see our article on Property Letting Regulations for more information on this. Furthermore over the next couple of years all letting agencies are also to become regulated, and will have to adhere to best practice guidelines. The Key Place embraces these changes.
And so back to The Key Place journey. We are now the largest property lettings business in the areas in which we operate, with a reputation for being the best. Landlords trust us with their properties, and growth has largely been through word of mouth recommendations. Our branches are all staffed by fantastic local people, who have an in depth knowledge of the markets in which we operate. They go the extra mile to offer outstanding customer service.
We have ambitious growth plans, and are always on the lookout for new landlords. We also offer a full buy-to-let service for anyone wanting to grow their property portfolio.