West Coast Landlords Face Uphill Struggle

by Stuart Milne

Monday, April 17th, 2017

A smiling Will Banham by Edinburgh PR

INCREASES in red tape could mean that the era of the amateur landlord in the North West is coming to an end, a leading land and estate agency has warned.

The popularity of sites like Airbnb has fuelled an increase of up to 126 per cent in short term lets since 2015 but now new legislation aimed at protecting tenants risks landing prospective landlords on the wrong side of the law.

Property sales and letting experts Bell Ingram is advising those with an interest in the west coast’s popular tourist and letting market, to be aware of the changes and seek expertise to avoid fines or punishment.

Will Banham of Bell Ingram’s Oban office, said: “It seems pretty clear that the era of the amateur landlord is certainly coming to an end.

“The demand for good quality rental property is very strong in the local area. But with the arrival of a maze of new legislation, landlords need professional advice and support to navigate their way through these issues.

“In fact, concerns over changes to the rental market is already being evidenced by an increase in holiday lettings locally. Many landlords seem worried by the measures under the Private Residential Tenancies law change due to come into force in December, and are instead seeking to capitalise on local tourism rather than seeking long term tenants.”

However, many landlords are unaware that there is a legal 90 day annual limit for short term lettings, and that in order to exceed that limit, planning consent must be obtained to avoid breaking the law.

Across Scotland uncertainty has been exacerbated by worries over the upcoming tenancy reforms, which are due to further tighten legislation and hand greater rights to tenants.

For longer term lets in particular, the new Scottish tenancy legislation abolishes no fault eviction, caps rent reviews and requires anyone dealing with lettings to undertake a 20 hour training course – a substantial process for property investors.

Will added: “On the west coast the market is particularly sensitive to these sorts of changes.

“Many landlords don’t realise that they might need help and advice on the ever more complex legislation governing every area of property ownership.

“The costs for landlords of getting it wrong can lead to prosecution and thousands of pounds worth of fines. As landlords seek to find ways to increase the income they raise from properties, professional advice is money well spent.”

Established 117 years ago, Bell Ingram has 130 professional staff across 11 UK offices including: farm, estate and forestry managers; chartered surveyors, estate agents, architects, planners, and building surveyors; and tourism, GIS mapping, and renewable energy specialists.

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