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.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Do you rent out a flat or house on behalf of a relative, close family member or friend in Scotland? 

If you do 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.

On 31st January 2018, the Scottish Government’s new regulations for anyone acting as a residential Letting Agent in Scotland came into force. 

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.

At Douglas Dickson, we have been acting on behalf of landlords for over 30 years in the Glasgow area. If you would like to know more how this may affect you or how we can help please contact us.

The Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016 brings in a mandatory code of practice for letting agents in Scotland.

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 
  • being registered as a letting agent with the Scottish Government.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Douglas Dickson profiled in The Herald

We were delighted to appear in The Herald within their regular and popular SME Focus slot.

The profile can be found be on their website here:

We hope you enjoy reading it and feel free to get in touch.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Brexit concerns for the buy-to-let market

Landlords, and those considering investment into the buy-to-let market, will have been keeping an anxious eye on the news, even before June 23rd and the vote to leave the EU. 
Clear waters may seem a long way off, but there are encouraging signs on the horizon, and with the experienced hands of such seasoned property experts as Douglas Dickson on the tiller, landlords can find a course through the storm.

The opening of the £842 million Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has created a ‘mini-boom’ in housing in Govan and Glasgow’s South West. With 10,589 staff looking for property an easy commute from the 1,677 bed hospital, there are great opportunities for landlords to rent to professional tenants.

Douglas Dickson has already steered a number of investors towards property in the South West and surrounding areas with our buy-to-let service, helping them to take advantage of this increased rental demand.

With the hospital likely to be fully staffed by the end of summer, there is still time for the canny investor to purchase good rental properties.

With the uncertainty of Brexit affecting the residential property market, large swathes of first time buyers are finding that the deposits they had saved are not enough to secure a home.

This, coupled with a lack of good affordable properties on the market, is helping to fuel rental demand throughout Glasgow, which remains a very attractive city to study and work.
Douglas Dickson is achieving rent increases for its landlords and renting most properties back-to-back without any void periods.

The completion of the new hospital has allowed the sale of the old Victoria Infirmary Campus, and the Sanctuary Group is in discussions with Glasgow City Council to develop beautiful homes, retaining key heritage features from the historic site.

Between this, and the approval of plans to build 152 new houses in Ibrox, 36 of them aimed at mid-market rents, the future of Glasgow’s housing supply seems hopeful.

Brexit may have created a storm of uncertainty across the UK, but the fundamentals of the rental market remain unchanged and, with expert advice from Douglas Dickson, there are excellent investments to be made.

For further information, contact Neil Livingstone, Douglas Dickson Property Management Limited, 3 Fitzroy Place, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G3 7RH. T: 0141 221 1827. F: 0141 248 6733. E: info@douglasdickson.co.uk W: www.douglasdickson.co.uk

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Becoming a landlord can be a big step. Many people, including professionals and others with years of business experience often hesitate before choosing to invest in this dynamic marketplace.

This reticence is understandable, but when newcomers elect to work alongside seasoned property experts such as those at Douglas Dickson, the entire process becomes significantly less daunting.

At Douglas Dickson we act each year on behalf of a great many people new to the letting business and we pride ourselves in giving each of them the best back-up and support services on the market.

Below, we have put together three frequently-asked questions from those embarking on the exciting voyage of being a landlord, together with some reassuring advice which should put even the most hesitant newcomer at ease.

  • How will I know about and comply with all the necessary regulations?

Douglas Dickson helps all our landlords to be good landlords. We help you comply with all the regulations. Did you know, for example, that from 1st December 2015, all new tenancies, including renewals, are required to have the electrics in the property checked by a qualified electrician every five years? It is a fixed wiring report, known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

We stay ahead of the game and keep our knowledge current so that we can help our landlords comply with the latest regulations and all other existing ones too. So if you haven't heard of or don't know about the regulations for EPCs, landlord registration, hard wired smoke detectors, gas safety certificates, CO detectors or tenant deposit schemes, amongst others, you can call us and we will keep you right.

  • How will I find a good tenant for my property?

Your rental property is likely to be one of your most valuable possessions. Anyone can find you a tenant but finding the right tenant is the job of a good agent. You need to be able to trust your agent to manage your asset and keep it safe. Many problems arise from having poor tenants.

At Douglas Dickson we secure our landlords good tenants by properly vetting them. We meet all applicants, carry out tenant referencing, employment verifications or obtain a guarantor. This helps avoids future problems of late payment of rent or having to take action to recover a property from a tenant who stops paying rent.

Because we actively manage tenants on our landlords’ behalf, we have not had to evict any tenants over the last 5 years and in the past 12 months, nearly all our tenants have paid their rent on time, with over 98% with no arrears.

  • How will I manage emergency maintenance?

Douglas Dickson takes the stress out of managing emergency repairs to your property and operates a 24 hours emergency helpline service for all our tenants.

Here are some recent examples of how we helped our landlords keep their tenants happy:

·         Problem: We had a call at 8pm at night from a tenant whose front door lock jammed and would not open. She could not get into their flat. She called our emergency helpline and we arranged for one of our trusted contractors to attend within the hour and repair the lock.

Result: an extremely grateful tenant who thinks very highly of the service her landlord is providing to her.

·         Problem: A tenant called our emergency number one evening with a report that he had a burst pipe which had flooded the bathroom and the neighbour below. We arranged for an emergency plumber to attend and repair the leak. On the landlord’s behalf, we liaised with the insurers and arranged for a contractor to repair and replace the damage to the flooring and decoration and ensured the areas affected had dried out.

Result: a very happy landlord whose property has been repaired and tenants who know they are well looked after by their landlord.

Douglas Dickson Property Management promotes high standards within the rented sector. Our landlords, we believe, are the good guys. We recognise landlords provide a valuable service, providing people with homes. 
Using a proven and highly-experienced agent like Douglas Dickson will ensure your property is maintained to comply with the current regulations, is rented to the right tenants and is always managed competently and effectively, even in emergencies.
We help give landlords a good name.