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REDUCING THE RISK

October’s industry poll by Hamilton Fraser Insurance of some 2,500 landlords in England, conducted on Twitter for Landlord Today found a massive 75% of landlords manage their own lets without using a letting agent. Of which only 15% use letting agents to find tenants and set up the tenancy for them. There’s nothing about Scotland so let’s assume the same is true here.

WHY SO FEW?

The survey asked why landlords go alone and not use letting agents.

The responses are worth considering:

1. Cost
2. Trust

COST

Cost is always a factor for every landlord.

We get this and are giving you £95 credit to claim off our Tenant Find Service cost as a new landlord to Key-Lets.

Our self-managing Landlords know the hard work we put in to find the right tenant, rigorously reference them using Rentshield, an independent referencing specialist, and use private residential tenancies tailored with additional clauses designed to protect you in deposit claims and Tribunal complaints.

Yes, there is a cost that you claim against your tax.

What is the cost if you have paperwork rejected by the Tribunal or deposit scheme adjudicator?

What is the cost of failing to discard potentially problems before the contracts are signed?

TRUST

We fully get why landlords do not trust letting agents. The press, social media and heresay all focus on the failures in our industry.

We also know the standards of other agents locally.

In the last two years landlords have switched tenanted properties from Donald Ross, Murphy Scoular, Lomond Properties, KA Homes, Trinity Properties and Letts Agree to Key-Lets.

We have first-hand experience of the standards out there and the time we took to correct basic mistakes.

It is our knowledge and experience, over decades of running Key-Lets, that we can give to you.

So, what can we give you that is different?

We absolutely value our self-managing landlords as part of the Key-Lets landlord community. We see our role as stopping all the bad things that happen when only half a job is done.

To help answer that I have put together the video opposite and a Quick Guide PDF to download.

The video is pre-lockdown but does give you a clear idea of the properties, landlords and tenants we work with.

The Pandemic has changed how we handle viewings, applications and move-ins by using Zoom, video viewings , online referencing and a limited face to face meeting to sign the contracts. This is the ‘new normal’.

RENT AND LEGAL PROTECTION

Our landlords have the reassurance of their rent getting paid, even if the tenant stops paying.

Key-Lets are among the first letting agents to give this vital protection to landlords. Even now decades later, such policies are not that common – especially with self-managing landlords.

Key-Lets use Rentshield, a specialist referencing company. They provide an independent report on a tenant’s suitability for your property. This means there is no ‘conflict of interest’ to get a quick fee.

Independent referencing also opens to door to the rent guarantee and legal cover available to landlords. The underwriters of such cover require comprehensive referencing to a high standard before they will take on the risk.

Rent Guarantees are now a major advantage to those landlords currently experiencing rent arrears due to the pandemic.

HOW DO WE COMPARE WITH ONLINE LETTING AGENTS?

Key-Lets have over 25 years’ experience of the local lettings market and are one of the few agents NOT involved in sales or factoring. It is our genuine experience, high standards, reasonable cost and on-going support that gives us the advantage over on-line letting agents such as Purple Bricks, Howsey (took over Urban and Upad) and Openrent.

We also do a lot more for you – for less money.

Below is a quick comparison between Key-Lets and the most popular online letting agents.

Comparison Table 1

LOCAL LETTING AGENTS

There are a number of local letting agents who charge slightly less than Key-Lets.

We work to the same standards for our Tenant Find landlords as we do with our Full Management landlords. The process is the same right up to the point the tenants sign for their tenancy. From that point you take over.

We will promote your property on Rightmove, On the Market and Facebook marketplace with photos that show the quality of your property. We reference using specialists, we customise the Private Residential Tenancy (PRT) Lease in your favour, we ensure you are fully safety compliant, take and lodge deposits, notify utility suppliers, update council tax, set up a standing order mandate on your account and provide you with the original paperwork for your files.

LEASES

In 2017 the PRT lease replaced Short Assured Tenancies in Scotland.

The Scottish Government provides an online lease that you can fill in and print off for free: www.mygov.scot/tenancy-agreement-scotland

What you get is the Holyrood’s model contract which, in my opinion, is too far in favour of the tenant.

The Model PRT lease does provide (Clause 37) an area to add your own additional clauses.

This opportunity to counter the tenant bias in the contract has to be taken.

Here you can create contractual obligations to protect you.

As long as the additions are reasonable and fair, a Tribunal member or Tenancy Deposit Adjudicator have to take them into account.

In our lease we have 26 additional terms to protect landlords.

To date none of these additional responsibilities have been struck out by a Tribunal.

Such lease additions are not what we have seen in other agent’s leases – so be warned.

COMMUNITY

We consider all our landlords, including the self-managing landlords, are part of our landlord community. 

We are here to support you when you reach out – something a few landlords have found very useful in these uncertain times. 

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