Your market questions are answered

THIS month Wardhaugh Property Management Services answer the burning questions about the current property market.

What is the local market like?

The market is very buoyant. There have never been so many people as now looking for rented accommodation because the whole economy has changed so much. In Angus there has been a fall in rents from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012 so that an average two bedroom flat which was fetching £521 last year is now down to £464.

That’s a £57 drop or to put it another way, a 10.9 per cent reduction.

What are the legal requirements of a landlord?

Legal requirements are to be registered with the local council, to have signed up to the tenancy deposit scheme, have a hardwired smoke alarm in working order in each rental property and if you have gas central heating make sure you have an annual landlords gas certificate.

Landlords must also ensure the furniture they supply complies with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 Amended 1989 requirements and have a current Energy Performance Certificate.

What do the Tenancy Deposit Schemes (Scotland) Regulations 2011 mean for landlords?

Regulations require that a landlord must pay deposits into an approved scheme and ensure that the money is held by an approved scheme for the duration of the tenancy.

Evidence of registration with the relevant local authority must be provided when the deposit is paid over. The tenant must also be provided with specific information about the tenancy, the deposit and the scheme that will be protecting it.

How long is a tenancy?

A The most common form of tenancy agreement used is a six month assured tenancy. This type of tenancy offers the most flexibility to both landlord and tenant, has straightforward notice procedures for bringing the tenancy to an end and a special Accelerated Possession court procedure should tenants fail to vacate.

What is a tenancy agreement?

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and tenant that sets out both the legal and contractual responsibilities and obligations of the two parties.

It should be written in plain and intelligible language and its terms and clauses should be fair and balanced, taking account of the respective positions of the parties and should not mislead about legal rights and responsibilities.

Landlord and tenant should take care to individually negotiate any particular terms or conditions that are important to them or especially relevant to the particular let or property.

How do I to protect myself against bad tenants who refuse to pay rent?

There are a range of remedies depending on what the problem with the tenant is. It is possible to take out various levels of insurance which means that if the tenant refuses to pay, the policy kicks in immediately and the landlord isn’t out of pocket which is usually the biggest worry.

Some policies also pay legal costs if you have to take a tenant to court.