Monday, 11 February 2019

Will your rental property meet the new energy efficiency standards by 1st April 2020?


If you rent out a residential property in Scotland, you will need to comply with the Scottish Government's new energy efficiency standards based on the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of the property.

From 1 April 2020, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band E. By 31 March 2022, all properties will need to have at least an EPC band E.

From 1 April 2022, any new tenancy will require the property to have an EPC of at least band D.

By 31 March 2025, all properties will need to have at least EPC band D.

What do you need to do?

With just over 12 months to go until the new standards take effect, you should review your current EPC. If it is band D or higher, you do not need to take any further action.
If you are band E or lower, then you should plan the steps you need to undertake to improve the energy efficiency of the property and the timeframe for doing it.

We would advise landlords that if you are planning improvements to your rental property you consider the likely energy efficiency benefit.  So if you need to replace an old boiler, install double glazing or improve insulation, these should all help you achieve an improved EPC rating. If your property has an EPC rating of E or lower, we can help advise you on how to improve the efficiency. 

If you would like further information or discuss how we can help you, please get in touch.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Is your Letting Agent Registered?

We are pleased to announce that Douglas Dickson Property Management are among the first Letting Agents to have their Letting Agent Registration application approved by the Scottish Government.

Under the newly introduced Letting Agent Code of Conduct, from January 2018 all Letting Agents in Scotland must comply with the code and be approved by the Scottish Government.
The registration opened on 31st January 2018 and we are pleased to say, we have had our application approved.

At Douglas Dickson, we are fully compliant with the regulations that include:
·         meeting a minimum level of training for key managers. We are qualified through the Chartered Institute of Housing;
·         having Client Money and professional indemnity Insurance; and
·         our letting agent registration number with the Scottish Government is LARN1806015.

If you rent out a flat or house on behalf of a relative, close family member or friend in Scotland you too may need to register as a letting agent. 

If you do not and you manage the tenancy yourself, you could be committing a criminal offence. If convicted you could face a fine of up to £50,000, up to 6 month imprisonment or both.

All those who carry out ‘letting agency work’ will be governed by the new rules. This includes acting on behalf of a landlord entering into a tenancy agreement with a tenant, collecting rent or carrying out repairs. If you manage a property for a family member or friend you will likely come under the regulations.

If you are concerned you may be caught out by the new regulations or would like to discuss how we can help you manage your property, please contact Neil Livingstone on 0141 221 1827.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018



Will your rental property meet the proposed minimum Energy efficiency standard?

The Scottish Government is proposing to bring in a minimum energy efficiency standard for the Scottish private rented sector.  For 10 years now, all rental properties are required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before they can be advertised.

The Scottish Government has released a consultation document aiming for all rental properties to have an EPC rating of C by 2030 where this is technically feasible and cost effective.
The government is planning to legislate in 2019 to introduce a minimum standard in the PRS. The proposal will require properties to have at least an EPC rating of E at a change of tenancy from 1 April 2020 and in all properties by 31 March 2022; and to have an EPC rating of D at a change of tenancy from 1 April 2022 and in all properties by 31 March 2025. 

While costs to achieve the standards will vary across dwellings depending on their built form, fuel type, and current levels of heating system efficiency and insulation, the government estimates that the median cost in the private sector will be in the region of £3,500, which means that half of all properties can be upgraded at a cost of £3,500 or less.

What should you do?

We would advise landlords that if you are planning improvements to your rental property you consider the likely energy efficiency benefit.  So if you need to replace an old boiler, install double glazing or improve insulation, these should all help you achieve an improved EPC rating. If your property has an EPC rating of E or lower, we can help advise you on how to improve the efficiency.

The consultation can be found at:  https://consult.gov.scot/better-homes-division/energy-efficient-scotland.  The deadline for responding is 27July 2018.

If you would like further information or discuss how we can help you, please get in touch.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Did you know that it is now 3 months since the Scottish Government brought in the new Private Residential Tenancy?



If you rent out a residential property in Scotland, any new tenancies created from 1st December 2017 need to be in the new lease format.
    
The new system replaced the Short Assured Tenancy that had been in place for almost 30 years. The new lease format is called a Private Residential Tenancy (PRT).

If you are not aware, the main changes to the current tenancy rules are:

  •  There will no longer a specified lease term. There will be no minimum period and more importantly, the lease length is open ended. It is designed to give tenants greater security of tenure.
  • A landlord will only be able to end the tenancy based on specific grounds. Currently a landlord can terminate the lease at the end of the lease term by serving 2 months notice, and does not have to give any reason. Under the new PRT rules, you will only be able to give notice for one of the specific grounds. These include if you wanted to sell the property, wanted to move back into the property, refurbish it, or the lender wanted to repossess the property.  
  • The main benefit to landlords is that the new PRT rules are intended to make it easier to gain possession if the tenant is in arrears and you need to apply for a court order to evict a tenant.
  • The rent can only be increased once a year, by giving the tenant at least 3 months notice of the increase.
  • As there is no fixed term, a tenant will be able to terminate the lease at any time on giving 28 days notice.
  • A landlord will generally have to give either 28 days notice to end the lease if it has been less than six months or 84 days notice if more than six months to gain possession of the property using one of the grounds. The notice period will also depend on which ground is used. 

Our view of how it will work in practice

At Douglas Dickson, our view of the new Private Residential Tenancy is that it will not make much practical difference as to how tenancies currently operate. We do not believe it will have any material impact as long as you properly vet your tenants.

Any Short Assured Tenancies (SAT) entered into prior to the new PRT coming into effect in will remain as an SAT and be bound by the old rules.

If you would like further information or discuss how we can help you, please get in touch.