Friday 2 February 2024

What would your tenants say about you?

  At Douglas Dickson we pride ourselves on providing excellent service to our tenants and landlords.

Our recent tenant survey backs this up with over 91% either very satisfied or satisfied with our responsiveness to their questions or concerns.

83% were very satisfied or satisfied with the speed at which repairs were carried out. And over 80% of our tenants would be very likely or likely to recommend us to their friends or family.

But don’t take our word from it. Here are some comments from our tenants:

“Been with Douglas Dickson for a long time and they always went above and beyond for us.”

“Happily rented for over two years with DD. Great service.”

“Thanks for helping me out whenever I want help.”

“Shona is always prompt with replies and have had no issues with any repairs being done when needed. Very friendly agency would recommend.”

“Prompt responses when required. Clear communication at all times.”

“It has been a very good experience throughout the year. Especially all the communications from Shona were helpful in resolving minor repairs needed at property in quick time.”

“Shona has always been extremely helpful to us.”

Friday 26 January 2024

Scottish Government to remove the 3% rent cap. Is it good news for landlords and tenants?

The Scottish Government has laid regulations to remove the 3% rent cap.  Once approved in the coming weeks, new rent control regulations will come into effect from 1st of April 2024 that are less onerous for landlords.

From 1st of April, landlords will be able to raise rents by any amount they wish.  However, Tenants who already have the right to challenge unfair increases to a rent officer at Rent Service Scotland, will have greater protection to limit any increase.

The rules will allow a Rent Officer to limit any rent increase to a maximum of 12%, but only if a tenant raises a formal objection.

Whilst we do not believe rent controls work or are desirable, the removal of the 3% cap is to be welcomed.  It will allow landlords, who typically only increase rents modestly to existing tenants, greater flexibility.   For tenants it provides them with greater certainty on rent increases.

In practice, we work with our landlords and tenants to make sure any increase is both fair in the market place and affordable to the tenant.

The regulations will temporarily modify the rent adjudication process for 12 months so that on making a decision on adjudication, the rent officer would use a rent taper formula as follows:

    • If the gap between the market rent and the current rent is 6% or less, then the landlord can increase the rent by the proposed amount, as long as this is not more than the market level.
    • If the gap between the market rent and the current rent is more than 6%, the landlord can increase the rent by 6% plus an additional 0.33% for each percent that the gap between the current rent and market rent exceeds 6%. However, the total rent increase cannot exceed 12% of the current rent.

This has the effect, that if the rent increase proposed by the landlord was more than 24%, the maximum increase would be reduced to 12%.

In addition, the delay in carrying out eviction notices will be scrapped from 1st of April 2024.

More details are available on:

https://www.gov.scot/news/continuing-rent-protection-for-private-tenants/

If you have any concerns, do get in touch.

Monday 22 January 2024

How we deal with emergency out of hours calls

 

Douglas Dickson provides a 24 hour emergency number for our tenants, taking the stress away from our landlords.  

This weekend we helped one tenant with an emergency drainage problem and another tenant with a leak into their bathroom from a neighbouring property.    In both cases we were able to resolve it within an hour of it being reported. 

We pride ourselves on providing an outstanding service to our tenants and landlords.

Friday 20 January 2023

Scottish Government announces relaxation of Rent Freeze

The Scottish Government has announced a relaxation to its current rent freeze for the private rented sector.

Landlords will now be able to issue a rent increase notice to tenants from 1st April 2023 up to a maximum increase of 3%.  

A rate of up to 6% is allowable where a landlord can show their property costs have increased but you will need to apply to the local council Rent Officer for approval.

For rent increase notices issued from 1 April 2023, the earliest the increase can come into force is 1st of July 2023 as landlords are required to give tenants 3 months notice of a rent increase.

Whilst we do not agree with rent freezes or rent controls, this small concession is to be welcomed.  We hope the Scottish Government will see that rent controls have the opposite effect: they end up driving landlords out of the sector, reducing the supply of rented properties and ultimately driving up rents.  

Thursday 4 November 2021

New minimum Energy Performance Certificate regulations from 2025 to mimumum rating of band C

 

The Scottish Government recently announced updated proposals for introducing a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in the private rented sector in Scotland.

Previously they had announced proposals to require a standard of D from 2022. This will now not be implemented due to the significant impact on the sector caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, the government intends to introduce a requirement for properties rented out by landlords to have an EPC rating of at least C at a change of tenancy from 2025.

All rented properties will then be required to reach a minimum standard of C by 2028. Exemptions will be available for properties where it is not technically feasible or cost effective to reach that standard.

Landlords should review the EPC rating of their properties and keep this in mind when they are carrying out any improvements to the property. This is especially true if you are looking to replace boilers or electric heaters. Your existing EPC will have recommended improvements that you can make to improve the rating.

We are happy to advise you on the steps you can take to ensure your property will be compliant.