Welcome to the news section of our website


Long Term Tenancies 1st Sep 2017

New research (Your Move) has revealed that in the UK, tenants now stay in rental properties for an average of almost 2 years, up 18% from 2014. Scottish tenants are staying for an average of 18 months, with east coast tenants reaching an average of 20 months, compared to 16 months in the Highlands and Islands. A recent tenant survey (LSL Property Services) found that over a third of tenants would like a tenancy agreement of a minimum of 3 years, to give them the security of a home. Landlords can also benefit from the security longer term tenancies bring, as long as they have good, well paying tenants. Further research shows that 25% of all UK households are predicted to be occupied by private renters by 2025. This has come at a time when the rental industry is booming – it has...

Buy To Let 1st Sep 2017

A new poll (Knight Knox) has found that more than half of UK landlords are confident about the buy to let sector. 59% of landlords surveyed are confident in renting out property as a source of income, with only 11% having lost confidence and 30% being unsure, according to the survey. It further found that half of respondents intend to buy another rental property within the next five years despite the recent policy changes introduced by the Government affecting their tax. The survey also found that 44% of landlords have been renting out property for five years or fewer, suggesting a strong appetite for entry into the market. Good news then that in spite of changes including tax and stamp duty, landlords remain confident about the returns that can be generated by this asset class....

Students Want Technology 1st Sep 2017

Student lets are booming business if you can afford to get into that investment stream. Successful landlords increasingly own student properties as part of their portfolio, as do big institutions, including insurers Aviva and Legal & General. With many Universities lacking the funds required to build or maintain their own housing, there is a severe shortage of student accommodation across many parts of the UK, and this has helped to push up rents in the sector as demand outstrips supply. However student needs have changed over the years and landlords need to be aware of this. A new report from Currys PC World Business has revealed that landlords who fail to properly invest in technology may well be losing out on significant income. According to the findings, technology can make...

Edinburgh Rent Caps 1st Sep 2017

The City of Edinburgh Council has announced that it plans to apply for a city wide Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) once the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) regime comes into force (expected to be on 1st December).   The regime allows local authorities to apply to Scottish Ministers for areas to be designated as RPZs. Scottish Ministers must decide whether or not to regulate to introduce an RPZ within 18 weeks of the application being made. If Scottish Ministers do decide to regulate, it is likely to be several more months before regulations come into force in Edinburgh, meaning that it is unlikely any RPZ would take effect until 2019 at the earliest. Within an RPZ there is a cap placed on rent increases. To be clear, this cap would only apply to increases for new tenancies, i.e. those...

Midlothian Women in Business 1st Sep 2017

Midlothian Women in Business is an informal networking group bringing like-minded women together once a month, in order to collaborate and share information and experiences in order to grow our businesses. There are no membership costs, and all women who are in business in Midlothian, or are interested in expanding into Midlothian, are very welcome. Just buy your own cuppa. Meetings are held 9.30-11am, Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg. Every month we have a topic for discussion, led by an industry expert. We have an exciting programme taking us up to Christmas as follows: Tuesday 19th September, 2017Phil Bowen, Midlothian View. Fergus Watson, Tourism Business Adviser, MBTAG (Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group). Midlothian business women, don’t miss this event.   Phil...

Warm Homes Discount scheme 1st Sep 2017

Follow the link below for the latest information on the Warm Homes Discount scheme, a programme of support aimed at households who may struggle with their energy bills.

PRS Market Report 1st Aug 2017

The latest research from Citylets has revealed positive growth in the 3 months to the end of June in the Private Rented Sector Scotland wide as demand continues to outstrip supply. The overall national average grew by 1.5% year on year to £789 per month. This was led by growth in Edinburgh (5.2%) and Glasgow (5%), combined with the rate of decline in Aberdeen easing. Average rents in Aberdeen are currently £788pcm – just £1 below the national average. Rents in Edinburgh increased 5.2% year on year to an average of £1,037 per month, well above any other location in Scotland. All major markets in the city recorded strong gains with 2 beds performing best, up 6% at £950 per month. 1 bed flats are reaching an average of £713, 3 beds £1350 and 4 bed £1863. Average time to let in...


Bruce Stevenson Insurance 1st Aug 2017

It is essential that you have comprehensive landlord insurance for your rental property.  The Key Place offers a package for our fully managed landlords through Bruce Stevenson.  Find out more here . . . The_Key_Place___Landlord_Insurance.pdf   

Landlord Insurance 1st Aug 2017

Landlords need specific insurance for rental properties, which includes protection for both buildings and contents. Landlords also need extra cover for things like: - Non payment of rent- Tenant damage to a property- Loss of earnings / rehousing costs if tenants need to move out following an insured event- Liability for accidents in your property that lead to injury Whilst most tenancies run smoothly with the majority of tenants looking after rental properties well, every now and then a less respectful tenancy may happen. Although insurers generally receive more accidental damage claims, they have seen a marked rise in Theft & Malicious Damage by Tenant claims in recent years. This may be down to landlords realising their policy covers this sort of thing, along with the increase in...

Top Ten Buy to Let Tips 1st Aug 2017

1) Do your research. Is buy to let the right investment vehicle for you? If you have taken advice and want to proceed then it is essential that you research the market thoroughly. Consider how much you want to spend, what you want to get from your investment, what you want to buy, and where. Rental properties work well for many people in terms of income and capital gains but you must approach it fully equipped with all the facts, and a full knowledge of potential benefits and risks. From the outset you need to have a clear idea of the purpose of your buy to let investment. Are you buying to achieve a monthly yield or longer term capital growth? Are you buying the property for your children once they are older or yourself in retirement? Your longer term aims will affect what you buy and...

Investing in Scotland 1st Aug 2017

Buy to Let in Scotland is becoming increasingly attractive as political uncertainty and high property prices impact the market in England. Research (Hometrack) has found that the price gap between London and Edinburgh is at its biggest in 20 years. Edinburgh has an average house price of £206,000 and had 5.4% growth in the past 12 months – compared with London’s £492,000 average and 3.3% growth in the same period. As a result a lot of English investors are looking to Scotland, as we compare favourably to other parts of the UK in terms of yields, entry prices and potential for growth. Further research (Your Move Scotland) observes that as far as yields are concerned, Scotland is outperforming England. Whilst there has been a dip in England and Wales, Scottish rental yields have...

1 in 4 Renting by 2021 1st Jul 2017

Almost one in four households in Britain will be renting privately by the end of 2021, with a predicted rise in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) of 24% (Knight Frank), bringing it to 5.79 million households. The Multihousing Report surveyed over 10,000 people living in the PRS across the UK. 68% of renters expect to be living in the PRS in 3 years time.

Grow Your Pension Pot 1st Jul 2017

Landlords are facing challenging times with tax changes and tougher criteria for mortgage lending, yet the right buy to let investments can provide an enviable pension pot for landlords who grow their portfolio.

The Rise of the Silver Splitter 1st Jul 2017

As divorce rates amongst older couples soar across the UK, the knock on effect is being felt in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), with a record increase in pensioner bachelor pads. A few months ago I wrote about the rise of the silver renter, now we have the rise of the ‘silver splitter`. Official data shows divorce rates amongst the 60+ age group have been rising since the 1990’s.

Letting Agent Plus Project 1st Jul 2017

With 14% of all households in Scotland now calling the private rented sector home compared with just 5% back in 1999, more people than ever are looking to the private rented sector for long-term housing solutions either through choice or necessity. This growth has led to a more diverse tenant base and, for a variety of reasons, many more private tenants now require extra ongoing or occasional support to access and sustain private tenancies.

HMO Fee Change 1st Jul 2017

The City of Edinburgh Council has introduced a new fee structure for House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licences. This came into effect on 1st June 2017. If there are 3 or more unrelated tenants in your rental property, it is essential you have an HMO license.

10 Ways to Beat the Tax Man 1st Jul 2017

Being tax efficient is key to being a good landlord. Experts were asked by Portico (London) for 10 legitimate ways to reduce tax bills. This is what they had to say . . .

Market Analysis 1st Jun 2017

Buy to let in Scotland is booming according to the latest Scotland Buy to Let Index from Your Move. The Index reveals that the average Scottish rental price increased by 6% during the year to April. The average rent is £574 per month, with all regions of the country experiencing an increase. These figures illustrate the strength of the private rented sector in Scotland, with 14% of all households now calling the PRS home, compared with just 5% back in 1999.

Landlords Choose Letting Agents 1st Jun 2017

The number of landlords choosing to use a letting agent to manage their property has increased dramatically since the end of 2016.

Capital or Yield? 1st Jun 2017

Your buy to let property is there to make money for you, and as such should be run as a business. However it is very important from the outset to be clear on what you want from your asset, as there are 2 ways in which you can earn from property investment. Capital growth, or capital appreciation is the increase in the value of your property over time. Rental income is the rent paid to you monthly by the tenant. If you divide the annual rent into the purchase price of the property and multiply by 100, this gives you your yield or annual return.

Rental Property Costs 1st Jun 2017

Recent research by mortgage lender Kent Reliance reveals some of the costs UK landlords face in the upkeep of their rental property.

The HMO Market 1st Jun 2017

In previous newsletters I have discussed the forthcoming changes in 2018 to Scottish Private Residential Tenancies. This will impact the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) market as lease agreements will be open-ended, allowing tenants to stay until they wish to leave (giving 1 months notice), unless the landlord uses one (or more) of the 18 grounds for eviction. This legislation will impact the student market as potentially properties could become available at any time of year, when the market to secure replacement tenants is quieter.

Election Manifesto Summary 1st Jun 2017

The Scottish Association of Landlords have outlined the key points from the Scottish political parties’ manifestos which are likely to be relevant to landlords. They have also included in red text key policies relating to the private rented sector from the parties’ UK manifestos which will not apply in Scotland as housing policy is a devolved matter (ie governed by the Scottish Parliament), but which nonetheless may be of interest to members.  Read the manifesto summary here:

The Rise of the Female Landlord 1st May 2017

For many years, the Private Rented Sector has largely been a male dominated environment. However recent research (Simple Landlords) shows this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, with women now accounting for 2 in 5 landlords (40%).

Letting Agent Regulation 1st May 2017

A few months ago I wrote a newsletter article on letting agent regulation. Things have moved on since then, with The Letting Agent Code of Practice Regulations coming into force in January 2018.

Citylets Report 1st May 2017

Read the full report hereClick here to read Citylets Report.

HMRC Let Property Campaign 1st May 2017

Thomson Cooper is an award-winning accountancy firm with offices in central Edinburgh and Fife. They offer an extensive range of accountancy and business advisory services, with tax experts, accounting software specialists, IT and marketing consultants and a comprehensive Business Development Programme featuring free seminars and training. They have extensive experience of supporting landlord clients with domestic and commercial portfolios. The first consultation is free or join them at one of their many events.  Check out www.thomsoncooper.com for full details.

Energy Performance Certificate Standards 1st May 2017

The Scottish Government has been in consultation for some time regarding introducing a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented sector (PRS) properties, as part of a 15 to 20 year energy efficiency programme (Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme, or SEEP). The aim of the programme is to improve the energy efficiency of homes with the overall aim of reducing climate change emissions and tackling fuel poverty. Research has shown that PRS housing are the least energy efficient of all housing tenures and therefore introducing minimum standards will benefit tenants.

Market Analysis, Jan - March 2017 1st May 2017

The latest research (Citylets Q1 Report, 1st January – 31st March 2019) shows strong growth across the areas in which The Key Place operates.

Making A House A Home 1st Apr 2017

Recent research by Plentific found that tenants are increasingly keen to personalise and improve their rental properties and landlords should facilitate this trend. This argument is supported by The Association of Independent Inventory Clerks.

Marketing Rental Properties 1st Apr 2017

Tenant demand is riding high, however it is still vitally important for The Key Place to do everything we can to give your property the best possible exposure. We have a carefully chosen marketing package designed to do just this. We also put time into raising the profile of The Key Place, so both landlords and tenants know where to come for a quality service. We do all of this through the following means across all of our locations: • The Key Place letting boards – these are erected in the most visible location allowed at all of our available properties. People moving within the local area, or passing through looking for a new home can easily see what we have for rent.

Investing Wisely 1st Apr 2017

Choose the right property, at the right price, in the right location.

Scotland's New Tenancy Regime 1st Apr 2017

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses. Within the housing sector, the Lindsays team offer a wide range of specialist legal services for landlords. Follow the link below to read Lindsays' information for landlords on Scottish Private Residential Tenancies – the new regime. 

Deposit Disputes 1st Apr 2017

Recent research by the Tenant Deposit Scheme (TDS) has found that disputes over rent arrears has risen by a whopping 90% - from 10% to 19% year on year.

Tax Relief Changes 1st Apr 2017

As we have previously mentioned, changes are afoot to mortgage tax relief. At the moment, landlords are able to claim tax relief on their mortgage interest payments at the rate of tax they pay. Therefore if they are a higher-rate taxpayer, they are currently able to get 40% or even 45% tax relief on their mortgage interest. This will be capped at 20% – the equivalent of the basic rate tax – regardless of what rate of tax they are paying with this change being tapered in between April 2017 and April 2020. Currently landlords are able to deduct the cost of their mortgage interest from their rental income when they work out the profit on which they have to pay tax. If landlords are no longer able to do this in full, they face an increase in the amount of tax they have to pay. Landlords...

Pets in Rental Properties 1st Mar 2017

A lot of our landlords ask our advice on whether to take pets in their property or not. At the end of the day it is the landlord’s decision but here are some pros and cons to weigh up.

Preparing your Rental Property 1st Mar 2017

It is essential that you prepare your property for letting in order to attract the best tenants and achieve the best rent. If the rental property down the road looks a lot better than yours, then rest assured you will lose out. Tenants are looking for a home, and as such want a good well-presented property in a good location. Here are our top tips for preparing a property for rent.

The Key Place Managed Service 1st Mar 2017

Landlords, what do we do you get for your fees? A lot more than you would think! Our fully managed package offers a service which covers all aspects from finding and securing good tenants, to managing your property, dealing with emergencies and taking the hassle out of letting. All you have to do is sit back and let the income arrive in your bank account. It’s an ideal service for landlords who would rather not deal with tenants directly, preferring all aspects to be handled by an agent. It is the hassle free option!

Choosing the Right Letting Agent 1st Mar 2017

There are a lot of letting agents to choose from these days so how do you pick the best? How do you find out who you can trust with what is arguably one of your biggest assets?

Legal Developments in the PRS 1st Mar 2017

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses. Within the housing sector, the Lindsays team offer a wide range of specialist legal services for landlords. Follow the link below to read Lindsays' vital information on recent legal developments all landlords should be aware of.

Landlord Registration 1st Mar 2017

It is a legal requirement that all Private Rented Sector (PRS) landlords are registered as a landlord with their local authority under Part 8 of the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004, in order to ensure they are fit and proper to be letting out a property. Operating as an unregistered landlord is a criminal offence which may be subject to a penalty on conviction of up to £50,000, a ban on letting properties of up to 5 years and a criminal record as a result.

High Yield Investments 1st Feb 2017

Location is key for buy to let investors. However landlords have a tendency to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area. It may well be worth considering unfamiliar territory, especially if you live in one of Scotland’s main cities. Towns on the outskirts frequently enjoy lower property prices, and therefore far higher rental yields. Before you make any decision on where and what to buy, you need to bear in mind that there are 2 ways in which you can earn from property investment. Capital growth or capital appreciation is the increase in the value of your property over time. Rental income is the rent paid to you monthly by the tenant. If you divide the annual rent into the purchase...

Buy to let: A New Dawn 1st Feb 2017

Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher, said that “the only constant is change.” Well that’s certainly been true for the buy to let market in the last 18 months! The New Dawn is here and we are all wakening up to a new buy to let world.

HMO Licensing 1st Feb 2017

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses. Within the housing sector, the Lindsays team offer a wide range of specialist legal services for landlords. Follow the link below to read Lindsays' overview of HMO licensing.

HMO Investing in Edinburgh 1st Feb 2017

The Scottish rental market remains buoyant overall, with good rents being achieved for the right properties in the right location. Given that Edinburgh is the UK’s 2nd largest financial sector, and the 4th largest in Europe, and has Edinburgh University which ranks 19th in the world, 5th in the UK, and highest in Scotland, there are plenty of young professionals and students keen to let, as they do not want to commit to buying.

PRS Market Performance 1st Feb 2017

Citylets have recently released their quarterly report, providing information about the current rental climate Scotland wide.  Overall they record national figures being down 0.9% year on year to stand at an average of £739pcm. However this figure is being dragged down by falling rents in Aberdeen. Edinburgh saw annual growth of 3.6%, and the Central Belt 4.9%.

Midlothian Women in Business 1st Feb 2017

Midlothian Women in Business is an informal networking group bringing like-minded women together once a month, in order to collaborate and share information and experiences in order to grow our businesses. There are no membership costs, and all women who are in business in Midlothian, or are interested in expanding into Midlothian, are very welcome. Just buy your own cuppa. Meetings are held 9.30-11am, Dalhousie Castle, Bonnyrigg.

The PRS in 2017 1st Jan 2017

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland now represents 14% (350,000) of all households, and it is set to keep on growing. However it doesn’t come without its challenges, and landlords and investors need to think ahead and plan how to manage their rental properties. We take a look at forthcoming changes in 2017 and beyond.

Letting Agents Save you Money 1st Jan 2017

A new survey by Endsleigh Insurance has found that using a letting agent can save a landlord approximately £1910 per year.

Why an Inventory is Vital 1st Jan 2017

The number of properties in the Private Rented Sector is increasing, and it is essential landlords do everything they can to protect what is likely to be their biggest asset. An inventory, which costs landlords a relatively small amount of money, ensures that any damage done during the tenancy can be clearly identified, and as such offers a level of protection to both parties. In practice, inventories are essential in order to provide evidence regarding the condition of the property and its contents at the start of a tenancy. Without an inventory, it is very unlikely a landlord would be awarded money from the deposit scheme to cover damage, cleaning costs etc. An inventory is a ‘detailed list of all things in a place`. It is a piece of documentation itemising property fixtures,...

Tenancy Deposit Schemes 1st Jan 2017

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses. Within the housing sector, the Lindsays team offer a wide range of specialist legal services for landlords. Follow the link below to read Lindsays' detailed account of Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

Buy to Let in Falkirk 1st Jan 2017

Landlords have a tendency to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area. However, it may well be worth considering unfamiliar territory. Towns on the outskirts frequently enjoy lower property prices, and therefore higher rental yields. And you are on to a winner with Falkirk as property values are climbing steeply too. Follow the link below to read our latest Falkirk Property News, packed with useful information for landlords and investors.

Night Time Safety 1st Jan 2017

Security in a rented property can be a confusing issue – who has responsibility for what? As a landlord, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of the tenants as far as the property being secure is concerned, and the tenants themselves need to act responsibly, especially in relation to their belongings.

Homeless Scotland 1st Dec 2016

Christmas Day, and a huge number of us will wake up in a warm home, anticipating a day of food, drink and fun filled festivities. However let’s spare a thought for those who are homeless; a growing tragedy in Scotland, and shameful for one of the world’s richest countries.

Raising Standards in the PRS 1st Dec 2016

As we noted in last month’s newsletter, the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland now represents 14% (350,000) of all households, and it is set to keep on growing. This growth has, quite rightly, resulted in standards within the PRS being raised, as pressure has been put on the sector by industry bodies, and by tenants themselves. An increase in regulations has brought about numerous changes over recent years, such as the introduction of the tenancy deposit scheme, the abolition of tenant fees, and a much needed increase in safety regulations within the PRS. In 2017 we will see the changes to the Private Tenancies Bill. However recent research by Shelter Scotland has highlighted the number of tenants who present to them with reports of poor conditions and illegal evictions and...

So you want to be a landlord? 1st Dec 2016

With demand for rental property far outstripping supply, now is a great time to think about becoming a landlord. However there are a number of things to consider before taking the plunge:

Condensation and Mould 1st Dec 2016

A recent study by Help-Link has found that in Scotland, 21% of tenants are living in a house that is damp, and a tenth don’t have working heating. According to the same survey, once these issues were raised with the landlord, it took an average of 7 and half weeks to deal with the problem.

Power of Attorney 1st Dec 2016

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses.  Setting up a Power of Attorney may be critical to you as a landlord.  Follow the link below to read Lindsays' advice as to why . . .

The Key Place Website 1st Dec 2016

The Key Place has invested in our website to make it mobile friendly and easily accessible to users.  Recent statistics show that 80% of internet users own a smartphone, with web searching on mobile devices overtaking desktop browsing.  User experience is paramount, and prospective tenants can now see properties for rent clearly, and can follow up to book a viewing.  Why not have a look for yourself and see what you think . . .

Market Analysis 1st Nov 2016

The latest Citylets report shows that average Scottish rents are continuing their upward trajectory due to strong growth in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and a chronic lack of rental housing stock, particularly across the Central Belt.

Electrical Safety - Final Deadline 1st Nov 2016

New legislation came into force on 1st December 2015 regarding electrical safety checks, with The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 requiring landlords to comply with the Repairing Standard by having fixed wiring Electrical Installation Condition Reports (EICR) carried out on their rental property every 5 years.

Private Rented Housing Panel 1st Nov 2016

Lindsays is an award winning law firm that combines a high quality of service with legal expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes and results for individuals, families and businesses. Within the housing sector, the Lindsays team offer a wide range of specialist legal services for landlords.  Follow the link below to read Lindsays' detailed account of what the Private Rented Housing Panel is, how it works, and who can apply.

The Repairing Standard 1st Nov 2016

The Repairing Standard, contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, covers the legal and contractual obligations of private landlords to ensure that a property meets a minimum physical standard. There are serious penalties for non-compliance which can include cessation of rent and even criminal charges being brought.

Winter Proofing your Property 1st Nov 2016

Whilst enjoying this late autumn sunshine, it is worth turning your mind for a few minutes to the cold winter months that may be just around the corner, and considering how you can protect your buy to let investment against the less clement weather conditions that us hardy Scots are used to.

How to keep good tenants 1st Nov 2016

The Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland now represents 14% (350,000) of all households, and is set to keep on growing. As rental has become the norm for an increasing number of people, landlords want to do what they can to hold onto good, well-paying tenants. However tenants have higher expectations of their rental property these days, and so it is essential that landlords pay attention to them, and to their needs. So how to keep good tenants . . . that is the question . . . ?

Market Analysis 1st Oct 2016

Figures reveal that more people in Scotland are making the most of the current attractive buy to let products and are becoming landlords. There are also an increasing number of investors out with Scotland looking to get in on the game and invest within Scottish towns and cities. March saw a spike in sales which was likely due to people buying before the introduction of the 3% Land & Buildings Transaction Tax (LBBT). However sales have continued since then, along with a rise in house prices (the average price of a property in Scotland is now 0.97% higher than at the start of the year).

Rise of the Silver Renter 1st Oct 2016

Recent research by Your Move has revealed the seismic shift in the average age of tenants compared to years gone by. Almost half of tenants in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) are now over 46 years of age, confirming renting is no longer just for the transient younger generation. Currently over 4.5 million people rent within the PRS in the UK, and this is expected to grow to 6 million over the next few years.

Rule Breaking 1st Oct 2016

15% of tenants admit to breaking the terms of their tenancy agreement, according to new research.

Look After your Property 1st Oct 2016

Maintaining the value of your rental property is essential. Increasing the value of your property is wise. There are various steps you can take:Know your neighbours If your rental property is in a shared block, then it is helpful to know the neighbours in order to deal with shared works in a timely and cost effective way. An increasing number of blocks are factored these days, however if yours is not then consider having an owners’ association with regular meetings. Even if you are not in a shared block, keep contact details for neighbours and ask them to report any property or tenant issues to you or to your letting agent if you have one. Bear in mind that Title Deeds and legislation such as the Tenements (Scotland) Act 2004 set out rules for dealing with your...

Notice to Quit 1st Oct 2016

Eviction law in Scotland is a very complex process. Every step in this procedure must be done perfectly, or court action will fail. Notice to Quit is the document a landlord has to give tenants in order to end their tenancy agreement. For short assured tenancies (6 months plus) the minimum notice period is 40 days. There are proposals currently going through the Scottish Parliament to change the rules for ending a tenancy and The Key Place will keep you updated regarding these. The Notice to Quit must contain certain prescribed information and will be invalid if this is not included. There should be a Notice to Quit, AT6 and Section 33 for each tenant. The following documents must be served in person and signed for by the tenants. The Key Place therefore uses Sherriff’s Officers...

Confessions of a . . . Letting Agent 1st Oct 2016

Some tenancies run smoothly, others less so. This is one such tenancy.

The Regulation of Letting Agents 1st Sep 2016

As our landlords know, the lettings industry is becoming increasingly regulated – both for landlords and their properties, and for letting agents. The Key Place embraces the change as it is raising standards across the industry as a whole; something which is long overdue.

Check-Ins 1st Sep 2016

The check-in process is much more complex than you might imagine. It’s imperative that nothing in the process is missed or it could leave you exposed, and with no leg to stand on if you want to try and recoup costs from the deposit, or take any legal action against your tenant during or after the tenancy.

Check-Outs 1st Sep 2016

The tenancy is coming to an end, however again this is not a straightforward process, and there are a number of steps that must be followed.

Spotlight on Falkirk 1st Sep 2016

Falkirk is a vibrant town located in Central Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is well placed for excellent motorway and rail links, and is close by the ports at Grangemouth and Rosyth. Edinburgh airport is only a 25 minute drive away. The town has a wealth of local amenities. Falkirk is the home of the Kelpies (the largest horse sculptures in the world), the Falkirk Wheel (the world’s only rotating boat lift), and of the course the mighty Falkirk FC (of which The Key Place chief exec Robert Young is a fan!).

Buy to Let in Falkirk 1st Sep 2016

Landlords have a tendency to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area. However, it may well be worth considering unfamiliar territory. Towns on the outskirts frequently enjoy lower property prices, and therefore higher rental yields. And you are on to a winner with Falkirk as property values are climbing steeply too. See accompanying newsletter article ‘Spotlight on Falkirk` for further details.

Accidental Landlords 1st Sep 2016

‘Accidental landlords’ are landlords whose decision to rent out a property is as a result of circumstance, rather than design. Frequently this is because of a death in the family, and the new owner has inherited the property; it may be due to relocation; or often owners find their only option is to rent out the property as they cannot sell.

Private Rented Sector Analysis 1st Aug 2016

New research has revealed that the Private Rented Sector (PRS) is now the biggest form of tenure after home ownership. Furthermore, it is predicted that growth is going to treble over the next 5 years (Knight Frank). Currently in the UK around 5.4 million, or 20% of households are being let out to private tenants.

Brexit Update 1st Aug 2016

The latest report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) shows that the buy to let rental market remains stable post Brexit announcement.

Spotlight on Edinburgh 1st Aug 2016

The latest Citylets report confirms that rents in Edinburgh are continuing a slow but steady climb, with average rents for 1, 2 and 3 bedroom properties up 4% on this time last year.

The Edinburgh Property Blog 1st Aug 2016

Introducing our new blog, packed with facts on buy to let in Edinburgh.Click here to read The Edinburgh Property Blog.

Wear and Tear in the PRS 1st Aug 2016

As discussed in the accompanying newsletter article on the Private Rented Sector (PRS), new research has revealed that the PRS is now the biggest form of tenure after home ownership. And it is predicted that growth is going to treble over the next 5 years (Knight Frank).

Finding a good letting agent 1st Aug 2016

There are a lot of letting agents to choose from these days so how do you pick the best? How do you find out who you can trust with what is arguably one of your biggest assets?

Brexit 1st Jul 2016

As we all know by now, the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland overall voted narrowly to leave the EU but Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the UK and, as a result, the Scottish Government is talking about Scotland remaining in the EU via Indy Ref 2.

Rents Riding High 1st Jul 2016

The latest research by Your Move reveals that rents in Scotland have hit a record high. Average monthly rents have risen by 1.3% from £542 in April to £549 in May. Edinburgh & the Lothian’s have seen the biggest annual regional rise in rents – up 12% (£69) overall.

The HMO Market 1st Jul 2016

Recent research has found that over the last 5 years, HMO investors have received a higher return on their investment than the average buy to let investor. Since 2011, the average gross return for HMOs before voids and maintenance on capital has increased by 18-20% compared with an average gross return of 6-8% for traditional buy to lets. Putting this into numbers - £1000 invested in HMO in 2011 has grown to £1900 in 2016; £1000 invested in an average buy to let in 2011 has grown to £1300 in 2016 (based on cash flow excluding equity). Indeed, there are predictions that HMOs will be the most popular property choice amongst buy to let investors over 2016 (Shawbrook). 34% of investors cited HMOs as their preferred property type, followed by terraced housing at 28% then flats and...

Happy Tenants 1st Jul 2016

We know that tenant demand in the UK is far outstripping supply, and this demand is on the increase. It is therefore reassuring to read the latest research from Paragon Mortgages which reveals that within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) there is a high degree of tenant satisfaction.

Deal Breakers 1st Jul 2016

Knowing what puts off potential property purchasers and tenants from buying or renting a property is fundemental to being successful at buy to let. When it comes to buying a buy to let property, you need to consider not only the big things, but also the little things as well, as both are really important. The ‘big things’ are of course rental yields, capital growth and how easy it is to sell your property . However the ‘little things` are really important to buyers and renters so must be given due consideration too. Research undertaken by easyProperty asked 1,000 UK adults what things would put them off an otherwise suitable property they were viewing other than the condition the property itself. There responses were fascinating. Many of the people taking part in the survey...

Investing your Pension 1st Jul 2016

Last year the percentage of retired landlords entering the buy-to-let market doubled, according to mortgage broker Commercial Trust. Figures show applications from individuals aged 55 to 59 grew to 18.5 per cent in the third quarter of 2015, up 11.5 per cent from the first three months of the year. Those aged 55 to 70 now make up 31 per cent of applications, with the broker predicting this trend is set to continue.

Lousy Landlords! 1st Jun 2016

Recent research by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) revealed that in 2015, more than 6000 tenants complained about lousy landlords. The organisation dealt with the equivalent of 24 calls per day from private renters reporting problems with landlords and poor housing conditions. This is a worrying increase of 23% in the last 2 years, with complaints ranging from landlords not carrying out basic repairs, to landlords bullying and intimidating tenants.

Nightmare Neighbours! 1st Jun 2016

31% of us in the UK admit to disagreeing with our neighbours with noise, broken fences and untidy gardens being the most common reasons for arguments (Rattan Direct survey). If this is the case, then there is the chance that your tenants and their neighbours may not see eye to eye. Noise complaints (especially when we are in our gardens) were at the top of the list, followed by broken fences or walls, untidy gardens, and annoying children and pets.

Invasion of the pests? 1st Jun 2016

Pests and vermin can include bats, rats, mice, cockroaches, ants, bees and wasps, hide beetles, silverfish, fleas, mites, bedbugs and even squirrels! There is often some dispute about whether the landlord or tenant is responsible for dealing with infestations, and it can be very difficult to establish this in many situations. Generally speaking, a landlord will be held responsible for dealing with the problem if the property was infested at the point at which the tenant moves in. Landlords have a duty to ensure that a property is fit for habitation. If, however the infestation has arisen during the tenancy, and is as a result of living conditions created by the tenant, then the tenant will be responsible for dealing with, and paying for, the problem. If there is an issue with...

Bats, Rats and Other Animals . . . 1st Jun 2016

As letting agents who have been in the business for nearly 20 years, we’ve seen it all. Well, not elephants or penguins . . . yet!!

The Scottish Property Blog 1st Jun 2016

Buy to let continues to present a strong investment opportunity for many. Scotland is facing a chronic housing shortage at a time when demand for rental properties is on the rise. Properties are letting in record breaking times, rents are at an all-time high in many areas, and voids are minimal. Furthermore, buy to let investment could be the best move to make, as stock market investments are possibly on the wane.

Furnished or unfurnished . . . that is the question! 1st Jun 2016

One of the most frequent questions The Key Place gets from landlords is whether to let their property furnished or unfurnished. The Key Place gathers statistics on this sort of information every month and it is interesting to note the following for the month of May 2016: Edinburgh & the Lothian’s: 25% of advertised properties are being let furnished 65% of advertised properties are being let unfurnished 8% of advertised properties are being let part furnished 2% of advertised properties are being let either furnished or unfurnished Central Scotland & West Lothian: 30% of advertised properties are being let furnished 42% of advertised properties are being let unfurnished 21% of advertised properties are being let part furnished 1% of advertised properties are being let...

Rent Rises? 1st May 2016

The latest research from Homelet reveals that new tenants in Scotland have had the highest percentage rental increases in Britain, with the exception of London, over the first 3 months of 2016, with an increase of 7.3% compared to the same period last year. Average rents in Scotland sit at £677 per month. The increase is clearly significantly ahead of inflation, and makes Scotland one of the most expensive places to rent in Europe. Edinburgh continues to fly with rents peaking at £644, up from £598 in February 2015.

Preparing a Property to Let 1st May 2016

‘Accidental landlords’ is a term given to those landlords who find themselves in the role, rather than consciously choosing to get into buy to let investment. This may be because they have inherited a property, or they are unable to sell the property they are living in and so are forced to rent, for example.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme 1st May 2016

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations were introduced in Scotland in March 2011, in order to safe guard tenants’ deposits from rogue landlords who frequently kept deposits at the end of a tenancy; and in order to protect landlords against non-payment of rent, or other costs at the end of a tenancy such as damage to the property, cleaning costs etc. The Key Place lodges all deposits with SafeDeposits Scotland, which is the only not for profit scheme based in Scotland.

The Importance of Inventories 1st May 2016

The Key Place newsletters frequently talk about the importance of inventories. This is because we want to give you the best possible chance to protect what is arguably your biggest investment. And yet, there are still landlords who do not want to shell out a relatively small amount, in order to protect their investment property. And so why are inventories so important today?

An Inventory Story 1st May 2016

There are a number of landlords who see inventories as being an unnecessary expense, and so decline our offer of doing one for them. We could give you numerous examples of why this is a bad idea, and why a small upfront cost could really pay off in the long run. Here is one such example. We manage a house in West Lothian. It was the landlord’s family home, where she lived when she was younger with her parents. Of course I’m sure her parents were very house proud, and kept the house and garden well. We asked the landlord if we could do an inventory prior to letting the house, however she declined and said she would do it herself. We explained the possible pitfalls of this but she dug her heels in and insisted on doing her own inventory. It was minimal – no comment on the...

Buy to Let - What Next? 1st May 2016

The property market today is unrecognisable from where it was just a few decades ago following Right to Buy in 1980, the introduction of buy to let mortgages in 1996 and latterly the Help To Buy scheme. The 1988 housing reforms that improved the rights of private landlords mean that we now have a private rented sector that accounts for one in five properties. Recent forecasts have predicted that this could grow to one in three properties by 2032 as demand continues to outstrip supply. There are around two million buy to let investors in the UK and this year total housing wealth owned by landlords has overtaken that held by mortgaged owner-occupiers for the first time.

The Rental Market, Q1 2016 1st Apr 2016

As we hurtle through 2016 - is it really April already - let’s take a look back at how the rental market has performed overall in 2015, and more specifically in the first quarter of 2016.

Buy to Let in 2016 1st Apr 2016

Recent research (Ipsos MORI, commissioned by Shelter and British Gas) has revealed that approximately three quarters of young Britons believe it is unlikely they will ever own their own property and are likely to rent for the rest of their lives. 1,906 people aged 25-34 were interviewed for the survey, which also found that this age group have moved more than twice as often per year, compared to pensioners.

Safety in Private Lets 1st Apr 2016

New regulations have been added over recent months in order to ensure rental properties meet certain safety standards. It is a landlord’s responsibility to ensure all of the following legal requirements are met, and there can be large penalties for non-compliance. The Key Place can arrange any of the following (with the exception of Landlord registration which must be done by the landlord) for our fully managed landlords.

The Private Housing Bill 1st Apr 2016

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill has now completed the three stages of the parliamentary process. The Bill will likely become law in late 2017, and will not affect landlords or letting agents until then. However, landlords should be very aware of what has been agreed in the Bill as this may affect the letting of their rental property.

Tenant Information Pack (TIP) 1st Apr 2016

Landlords have been legally required to provide new tenants with a Tenant Information Pack (TIP) since 1st May 2013. The TIP provides information to tenants in private rented housing about property condition (Repairing Standards), tenancy agreements, and the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. The pack was revised on 2 February 2016 to take into account the following legislative changes arising from the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014:

Introducing Lindsays Solicitors 1st Apr 2016

Dorothy Kellas is a Partner within the Private Client team of Lindsays working from their East Lothian office. She advises individuals and families on a wide range of legal issues, in particular relating to the protection of assets through planning. She can help with issues relating to the preparation of Wills, financial planning strategies, property issues and administration of estates. Dorothy has a particular interest in later life issues and is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly. Coming from a broad background of legal experience Dorothy can bring experience of property related issues to her general advice.

The Key Place Falkirk Office 1st Mar 2016

Last week The Key Place threw open the doors to its new office in 6 Vicar Street, Falkirk. The office gives us a fantastic high street presence, and a dedicated shop front window to advertise properties for rent.

Dealing with the Tax Changes 1st Mar 2016

The tax changes brought into effect in the July 2015 budget will impact buy to let landlords. The changes will be phased in over 4 years from April 2017.

Buy to Let - We Can Help 1st Mar 2016

The buy-to-let market is booming and it is set to grow even more as people continue to struggle to get on the housing ladder; property prices are rising; and people realise the freedom that renting brings. There is a massive shortage of rental properties, with demand far outstripping supply and good rents can be achieved for well-presented properties in the right location. Whether you are considering your first buy-to-let project, or are have a sizeable portfolio, The Key Place understands that every penny spent counts in this major investment decision. Buying the right property in the right location is crucial in achieving optimum rental income and capital growth.

Marketing Your Rental Property 1st Mar 2016

Even although tenant demand is high, it is important that The Key Place do everything we can to give your property the best possible exposure. We have a carefully chosen marketing package designed to do just this. We also put time into raising the profile of The Key Place, so both landlords and tenants know where to come for a quality service. We do all of this through the following means: • The Key Place letting boards – these are erected in the most visible location allowed at all of our available properties. People moving within the local area, or passing through looking for a new home can easily see what we have for rent.

Getting and Keeping the Right Tenants 1st Mar 2016

With rental demand at an all-time and high and voids at an all-time low, there are no shortage of tenants looking for properties. However finding the right tenants for the right property is essential for a safe, long-term let. How do you find the right tenants for your property, and more importantly when you find the right tenants, how do you keep them?

Confessions of a Letting Agent . . . Knowing Your Tenants 1st Mar 2016

It really does help if you get to know your tenants, as there may be more to a story than first meets the eye!

The Scottish Rental Market, Q4 1st Feb 2016

Citylets have observed that in the final quarter (Q4) of 2015 (October – December) growth has slowed in comparison to Q3 with rents falling slightly from £757 to £747. However there was a last minute end of year surge with rents up 0.4% in December alone – this is the highest monthly rise since June (Your Move). The national average has increased 2% on the same time last year.

Private Housing (Tenancies) Bill 1st Feb 2016

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill aims to protect tenants from the prospect of unfair eviction, and rent increases. It is claimed that the Bill will ‘provide security and stability to tenants while ensuring the sector is attractive to landlords and investors’.

The Falkirk Property Blog 1st Feb 2016

The Falkirk Property Blog is packed with information on the buy to let market in Falkirk.Click here to read The Falkirk Property Blog.

New Landlords Wanted 1st Feb 2016

If you have read this month’s newsletter article on the rental market in Scotland, then you will be aware that tenant demand for rental properties is still massively outstripping supply. The Key Place is receiving a huge number of viewing enquiries for well presented, well priced properties in good locations.

Dealing with Tenant Deaths 1st Feb 2016

Sadly tenant deaths are a fact of life. It is important you know where you stand as a landlord and what actions you can take.

Death of a Tenant 1st Feb 2016

Sadly as a Letting Agent, The Key Place has had to deal with the death of one of our tenants on a few occasions now. Our first experience was a helpful introduction, as we knew the lawyer of the deceased and we could therefore work together to find a solution.

The Key Place is Coming to Falkirk 1st Jan 2016

The Key Place is expanding across the Central Belt of Scotland.

The Private Rented Sector in 2016 1st Jan 2016

Predictions are that by 2025, 7.2 million households will be renting – almost 1 in 4 of the UK total. If this is indeed the case, there will be more people renting privately than owning with a mortgage. As such, the Private Rented Sector is set to keep growing over 2016. However it doesn’t come without its challenges, and landlords and investors need to think ahead and plan how to manage their rental properties.Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (LBTT) replaced UK Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) in Scotland in April 2015. However recently delivering his budget, Mr Swinney said there would be an additional supplement of 3% on the purchase price of the property, on top of the existing LBTT. George Osborne announced similar changes in his budget.

Buy to Let in Falkirk 1st Jan 2016

As we discussed in last month’s newsletter, location is key for buy to let investors. However landlords have a tendency to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area.

Buy to Let Mortgages 1st Jan 2016

in 2016, property investors are certainly facing some challenges.  However the upside is that the rental market remains buyant as demand continues to outstrip supply, meaning that the Private Rented Sector remains a popluar asset class for investors.  Landlords need to become aware of the best ways of handling their investments - read our top tips on Winning Strategies within The Private Rented Sector in 2016 article.  And bear in mind that those with no mortgages or small mortgages will be unaffected by the following changes and so will continue to generate income.

Malicious Damage by Tenants 1st Jan 2016

Rented property is enjoying a boom time, with over 700,000 people now choosing to rent in Scotland. The majority of tenancies run smoothly with tenants wanting to live in and look after their rented property as if they owned it. Once in a while however, landlords have the misfortune of having a tenant who isn’t quite so respectful of the property.

The Key Place and Copper Theft 1st Jan 2016

Some tenancies run smoothly, others less so. This is one such tenancy.

Festive Investment 1st Dec 2015

House buying wisdom tells us that spring and summer are the prime seasons for house hunting, as more people put their properties on the market. However there are some very logical reasons for going shopping for a house in the winter months too:

Buy to Let in Midlothian 1st Dec 2015

Location is key for buy to let investors, and landlords tend to purchase in areas they are knowledgeable of in terms of property prices, monthly rents and the local amenities that attract tenants to an area.

Confessions of a . . . Letting Agent 1st Dec 2015

There are a number of landlords who see inventories as being an unnecessary expense, and so decline our offer of doing one for them. 4 years into the deposit scheme, and I could give you numerous examples of why this is a bad idea, and why a small upfront cost could really pay off in the long run. Here is one such example.

Protect your Property with a Water Tight Inventory 1st Dec 2015

Recent research has revealed that landlords who insist on doing their own inventories make common mistakes, which puts them at a higher risk of losing a deposit dispute. The main mistake is lack of detail, with landlords failing to produce adequate photographic evidence accompanied by sufficient written commentary about the condition of the property (internal and external), and its contents at the start and end of every tenancy. If landlords do not have this, it may not be possible to retain money from the deposit to cover any damage, cleaning etc.

Electrical and CO Legislation 1st Dec 2015

As previously mentioned, new legislation came into force on 1st December 2015 regarding electrical safety checks and carbon monoxide monitoring. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 requires landlords to comply with the Repairing Standard with regards to the following:

The 12 Days of Letting . . . 1st Dec 2015

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: A brand new rental flat key! On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Help with Landlord Registration, And a brand new rental flat key! On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Landlord Registration, And a brand new rental flat key! On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate, An EPC, Landlord Registration, And a brand new rental flat key! On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Smoke and Heat Alarms, A Landlord’s Gas Safety Certificate, An EPC, Landlord Registration, And a brand new rental flat key! On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: PAT and EICR...

The Scottish Rental Market 1st Nov 2015

In the third quarter of 2015 (1st July to 30th September), the Scottish Private Rented Sector (PRS) has slowed, with stable or declining rents in most of the major Scottish cities, although demand for rental properties remains high.

The Key Place Managed Service 1st Nov 2015

Landlords, what do we do for our monthly management fee? A lot more than you would think! Our fully managed package offers a service which covers all aspects from finding and securing good tenants, to managing your property, dealing with emergencies and taking the hassle out of letting. All you have to do is sit back and let the income arrive in your bank account. It’s an ideal service for landlords who would rather not deal with tenants directly, preferring all aspects to be handled by an agent. It is the hassle free option!

New Council Powers on Repairs 1st Nov 2015

Following on from September’s newsletter article about Repairing Standards, landlords should note the following information.

Cannabis Farms 1st Nov 2015

Landlords have been warned by police to be on the lookout for cannabis farms, as the incidence of these have spiked over recent months.

Confessions of a . . Letting Agent 1st Nov 2015

Property inspections – they are certainly not all dull, and this particular one did make me laugh!

Property Safety at Night 1st Nov 2015

The clocks have gone back, and the nights are drawing in, so what can you do to help keep your property safe at night?

Meet The Key Place Staff 1st Oct 2015

Our busy accounts team are the cogs behind The Key Place wheel, keeping things ticking over efficiently.  From ensuring rent has been paid by tenants, to chasing unpaid rents, to remitting rents to landlords less deductions, to paying tradesmen, their days are packed and varied.  

Rent Controls 1st Oct 2015

There are approximately 330,000 rental properties, housing about 670,000 tenants in Scotland, and the Scottish Government is proposing to introduce rent controls to protect these tenants from rent hikes by rogue landlords in the Private Tenancies Bill. In the recent Consultation on a New Tenancy for the Private Rented Sector (PRS), 70% of respondents stated that they did not support the introduction of rent controls.

Letting Agent Regulation 1st Oct 2015

The letting industry in Scotland has grown over the years. It is estimated there are approximately 700 letting businesses, accounting for around 50% of all annual lettings. Together, the businesses are responsible for about 150,000 lettings per year. Many letting agents operate in a professional manner, complying with voluntary codes of practice and offering a high standard of service. However there are some letting agents who fail to offer a quality service, and in some cases operate illegal practices. And so at long last, letting agents are to be regulated under The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The Key Place thinks this is well overdue. The Scottish Government is currently consulting on a draft statutory code of practice and training requirements, which will go on to form the...

Winter Maintenance 1st Oct 2015

Whilst basking in the autumn sunshine, it is worth turning your mind for a few minutes to those cold winter months that may be just around the corner, and considering how you can protect your buy to let investment against the less clement weather conditions that us hardy Scots are used to.

Serious Organised Crime and the Private Rented Sector 1st Oct 2015

The following statement comes directly from Police Scotland:

Confessions of a . . . Letting Agent 1st Oct 2015

This week I’ve got a story for you about how The Key Place goes the extra mile to help our tenants, and therefore our landlords too.

Meet The Key Place Staff 1st Sep 2015

Helene Wilkinson is the Manager. Helene has worked with The Key Place for 3 years. She started as a Letting Agent in our Bo’ness office, before taking over the helm in Penicuik. Previously Helene worked for land securities and dealt with commercial properties, however was keen to move into private lettings. Helene lived in Switzerland for 5 years and enjoyed the winter sports, snowboarding, skiing and ice skating and climbed the Matterhorn but took the easy route up! She lived in a couple of European countries and loved Italy especially Venice and Rome. Helene enjoys cooking international food and is interested in many cultures. She loves being a mum to her 19 year old who goes off to university soon.

Achieving the Best Rent 1st Sep 2015

In recent newsletters we have talked a lot about rents currently being at a premium. The Key Place carries out regular rent reviews, and if we feel that we can achieve more for your property then we will do this for you. However as a landlord, you need to invest in your property in order to make it attractive to tenants. And if you choose not to put money into maintaining and upgrading your property, then you cannot expect to get the optimum rent for it. The Key Place will advise on what can be done to achieve the best rent. What do tenants expect in 2015?

Electrical and CO Legislation 1st Sep 2015

New legislation comes into force from 1st December 2015 regarding electrical safety checks and carbon monoxide monitoring. The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 requires landlords to comply with the Repairing Standard with regards to the following:

The Repairing Standard 1st Sep 2015

The Repairing Standard, contained in the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006, covers the legal and contractual obligations of private landlords to ensure that a property meets a minimum physical standard. There are serious penalties for non-compliance which can include cessation of rent and even criminal charges being brought.

Buy-To-Let Tax Hikes 1st Sep 2015

The tax changes brought into effect in the July budget will impact buy-to-let landlords. The changes will be phased in over 4 years from April 2017.

Penicuik Property Blog 1st Sep 2015

Landlords, do extra bedrooms add to your rental value?  Read the latest from the Penicuik Property Blog hereClick here to read Penicuik Property Blog.

The Scottish Rental Market 1st Aug 2015

In the second quarter of 2015 (1st April to 30th June), the Scottish Private Rented Sector (PRS) has continued its upward climb in most areas, with Aberdeen being the main exception, as it bends to reduced oil prices (free market economics in action).  Edinburgh recorded strong growth at 7.3% (Citylets), with properties taking an average of 1 month to let. To give an idea of rents, within Edinburgh, the average monthly rent for a 1 bed is £631; £850 for a 2 bed; £1207 for a 3 bed; and £1654 for a 4 bed property (Citylets).

Is Your Investment Insured? 1st Aug 2015

Damage to a rental property can prove to be quite a headache. It is therefore essential that landlords have the right insurance policies in place in order to protect their investment. New research proves that the unexpected can, and does happen. Property damage can be a costly issue for landlords especially if the level of damage exceeds the value of the tenancy deposit. Tenants are expected to report any damages to the landlord or letting agency, and all parties then agree how replacements or repairs are going to be arranged and paid for – but agreements aren't always reached amicably.

Property Damage - The Latest Research 1st Aug 2015

Recent research from MakeItCheaper.com reveals that 43% of renters do not know whether the responsibility for maintaining their rental property lies with themselves, their landlord, or their letting agent. 11% say they have a better understanding of their responsibilities than their landlord, while 48% said they believe their landlord knows more about this issue.

Landlord or Tenant - Who is Responsible for What? 1st Aug 2015

A significant number of tenants are unaware of their responsibilities when it comes to maintaining a rented property. The confusion surrounding this can lead to disputes when it comes to the end of a tenancy. There needs to be more clarity over who is responsible for maintaining which aspect of the property. So who is responsible for what?

The Penicuik Property Blog 1st Aug 2015

Landlords, how much is your property worth, and where is the next one coming from?  The Penicuik Property Blog (part of the Scottish Property Blog series) gives you the answers.Click here to read The Penicuik Property Blog.

Meet The Key Place Staff 1st Aug 2015

Helene Wilkinson is the Manager of our busy Penicuik office, which she runs with great enthusiasm. Helene has worked with The Key Place for 3 years. She started as a Letting Agent in our Bo’ness office, before taking over the helm in Penicuik. Previously Helene worked for land securities and dealt with commercial properties, however was keen to move into private lettings. Helene’s favourite part of the job is meeting people and problem solving. She is less keen on doing the filing! Helene is a proud mum to Nadia who is 19 years old and going to university in September to study Sociology. Helene is a belly dancer and she participated in live shows and gala day events for 4 years! Helene’s favourite quote is ‘you’ve gotta dance like there's nobody watching`! Fiona McBeth is...

Meet The Key Place Staff 1st Jul 2015

Karen Clelland is the manager of our Bo’ness office, which she runs with great energy and expertise. Karen has been with The Key Place for 9 years and joined looking for a total change of career. With no shortage of variety in her role, she enjoys meeting new people and likes the daily challenges that running a busy letting agency brings. Her least favourite part of the job is keeping the peace! Karen is a talented musician and used to play the bagpipes. She has a passion for Ireland, and enjoys regular trips there. Karen’s favourite quote is ‘don't let the past steal your future’. Rose Wilson is one of our valued letting agents and has been with The Key Place for almost 5 years. Rose heard about a vacancy at The Key Place while she was looking for a job and so applied...

Penicuik Property Blog 1st Jul 2015

Landlords, how much is your property worth, and where is the next one coming from?  The Penicuik Property Blog (the first in the Scottish Property Blog series) gives you the answers.Click here to read Penicuik Property Blog.

Buy -to- Let, the HMO Market 1st Jul 2015

If you are thinking about expanding your property portfolio, the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) market provides a high yield, stable investment opportunity. As such, it is becoming an increasingly popular buy-to-let investment choice.

The Basics of HMO 1st Jul 2015

So you are considering going down the House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) route but what do you need to know?

Landlord Tax 1st Jul 2015

Taxes are an unavoidable fact of life, and with an increasing number of people jumping on the buy-to-let bandwagon, the HMRC is cracking down on landlords. If you do decide to chance your luck, there are hefty fines and even jail sentences if you get caught, so why take the risk in the first place? However nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to, and so here are some top tips to help maximise your income.

Hunter Wealth Management 1st Jul 2015

Are you a landlord? Or are you considering an investment property? At The Key Place we can introduce you to IFAs who will give you a holistic view on your financial future and can help you to start or develop an existing buy-to-let portfolio. As whole of market advisers they are not tied to any one lender or insurer and can recommend a lender that is suitable for your personal needs and ensure that you can meet their criteria. Do you already have an investment property without a mortgage? Did you know that having a mortgage can not only help you build your portfolio by providing the deposit for your next rental property, but may also increase your returns as the interest payments can be offset against your tax bill? You are also then spreading the risk of rental gaps across...

Why Use a Letting Agent? 1st Jun 2015

There is far more to being a landlord than meets the eye. Unless you want to be dealing with a leaky toilet at 3am, or door knocking night after night looking for unpaid rent, then maybe you should think about using a reputable letting agency to manage your property, allowing you to sit back, relax and enjoy the rewards it brings. So what are the benefits of using a letting agent?

The Basics of Buy-to-Let 1st Jun 2015

The buy-to-let market is booming, with people who once would have bought their own homes chasing a limited supply of rental property. As a result, the yields on buy-to-let properties have risen to 5-10%, even more in some areas. But what do you need to consider when choosing your buy-to-let investment property? What are you looking for from your investment?

Where to Buy - That is the Question? 1st Jun 2015

The UK has reached its highest levels of employment since records began, with Edinburgh seeing the fastest growth of all cities. According to the jobs posting website CV-Library, Edinburgh saw a 79% increase in the number of job postings for April compared with the same month in 2014. It is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK, and the most prosperous outside of London, whist enjoying lower labour and property costs. As such, Edinburgh frequently ranks highly for investment attractiveness.

The Election is Over – What Now? 1st Jun 2015

The dust is beginning to settle on the 2015 UK General Election so it is a good time to have a look at what the outcome of the Election might mean for the Private Rented Sector (PRS) in Scotland.

Buy-to-Let Mortgages 1st Jun 2015

Getting the right mortgage for your buy to let property is more important than ever. There are a number of steps you can take before applying, to increase your chances of being accepted.Work Out What You Can Afford It is easy to fall in love with your dream buy to let property but if the rent does not cover the costs of the property, you could find yourself paying for it out of your salary or other income or have your property join the repossession pile. Work out what you can afford and only look at properties that fall within your budget. To do this you will need to work out your upfront and your ongoing costs, the likely deposit you will require and the rent you can expect from a property.

Our Preferred Partner for Property Sales 1st Jun 2015

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy employing 225 staff in offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Stirling, Perth, Cupar, Inverness, Castle Douglas, Ayr, Elgin, Galashiels, Kelso, and Aberdeen, offering local knowledge, national expertise and enjoying international reach. The firm is Scotland’s largest and leading rural consultancy managing and providing advice on farm, forestry, land and estate interests on over three million acres. CKD Galbraith provides the full range of property consulting services across the residential sales and lettings, commercial, rural and renewable energy sectors throughout Scotland and northern England. The partnership also enjoys a successful relationship with its associate firm in London, CKD Kennedy Macpherson. 

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.


Electrical Safety Checks 1st May 2015

From December 2015, new regulations for Electrical Safety Checks are being brought into force. To find out what will be involved read on...Click here to read Electrical Safety Checks.

Buy-To-Let 1st May 2015

The buy-to-let market is booming, and predictions are that it is likely to grow even more, as investors realise the potential income that lies in renting out properties.

Tenancy Deposit Schemes 1st May 2015

The Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations were introduced in Scotland on 7th March 2011, in order to safe guard tenants’ deposits from rogue landlords who frequently kept deposits at the end of a tenancy. Since the scheme introduction, The Key Place has worked with SafeDeposits Scotland, in order to protect the interests of our landlords and tenants. SafeDeposits Scotland is the only not for profit scheme based in Scotland. They currently hold 60% of all deposits held in deposit schemes in Scotland. To comply with the Regulations, any landlord or letting agent in receipt of a tenancy deposit must, within 30 working days of the tenancy start date: - Transfer the deposit to a government approved scheme, such as SafeDeposits Scotland, - Provide all tenants with particular...

Landlord Insurance 1st May 2015

Landlords, it is essential that your property is insured in order to protect your investment. The Key Place use and recommend Bruce Stevenson.  Find out more here.Click here to read Landlord Insurance.

Has There Ever Been a Better Time to be a Landlord? 1st Apr 2015

Has there ever been a better time to be a Landlord? Recent reports show that average rents in Scotland are continuing to grow to record highs as demand outstrips supply. Citylets reveal rents are up 7.9% on last year across Scotland, whereas HomeLet has it as 9.4%. Overall, rental is buoyant, with attitudes to rental shifting dramatically over the last few years. We are now a society where rental has become a necessary and acceptable norm. Initially driven by buyers struggling to get on the housing market, an increasing number of others have jumped on the rental bandwagon, enjoying the benefits of not being tied into a mortgage, the flexibility that rental offers, and having someone else being responsible for repairs as they arise. The 2013 results for the Scottish Household Survey...

Proposed Changes to the Private Rented Sector 1st Apr 2015

The Scottish Government’s proposals on rent controls, which include the removal of the no-fault ground for re-gaining possession and the removal of the ability to continue tenancies on a month to month basis, have caused controversy amongst those within the private rented sector.

Buy-To-Let 1st Apr 2015

A bumper year is predicted for the buy-to-let sector.  Demand is outstripping supply and rents are at record highs. We can source properties, find the best mortgage, complete the acquisition and manage your investment.Click here to read Buy-To-Let.

Buy-To-Let Mortgages 1st Apr 2015

Buy-to-let (BTL) mortgages are for landlords who buy property specifically to rent out and they can help you become, or profit further from becoming, a property investor. We set out below key things to think about when considering buy-to-let mortgages.Who can get a buy-to-let mortgage?

Coming Soon from The Key Place 1st Apr 2015

Coming soon: The Key Place monthly rental statistics; and buy-to-let opportunities newsletters.

Investing Your Pension Wisely 1st Apr 2015

Pensions rules are changing this April ....