Landlords – FAQs

We wanted to provide you with some answers to the questions we are asked most frequently by our clients. Hopefully this provides you with enough information to get in touch. Each question is answered by Struan Baptie himself.

What advertising sites do you use?

A.We use the main national letting sites such as Lettingweb, PrimeLocation, Gumtree, and Zoopla, plus our own website and our Facebook page, paid Facebook page, and these will reach a large number of potential tenants round the UK.

What services do you offer?

A.We offer three services, main services. We offer full property management, we offer a let only service, and we offer an advertise only service. The full property management is where I come out and meet the client at the property. We check the property over in terms of any legislation that's required, any maintenance, any upgrades that's required to let it out. We appraise the rent, explain what rent level, rent we'll achieve. We then take pictures of the property, we list it on all the major national letting sites. We carry out all the accompanied viewings, which can be up to 20 or 30 in order to get the right tenant. We then do a full credit check on the tenant to make sure that they have no adverse credit history, and they're able to pass the credit checks to move into the property, and they can also afford the property going forward. We put the tenant in a new private residential tenancy with all the supporting documents, and then we manage the property thereafter, we collect the rent and pass the rent onto the landlord every month. The let only services, all of the above, as I explained for full property management, but at the end of the first month we hand over the tenant, and the first months rent, minus our fee, to the landlord to manage themselves. The advertise only service is purely advertising the property and passing all leads onto the landlord to view the property on their own.

What references do you obtain?

A.We carry out a full credit check and the reference check, so we're looking for three months bank statements from the tenants, three months pay slips. We need forms of ID, whether it's a passport or a driving license. An employer's reference and payslips to make sure that they can afford the rent, and the full credit is carried out by a national company. That's to make sure there's no adverse credit history, the tenants have no County Court Judgements against them. The main thing is to make sure that they can afford the rent going forward. If their credit checks are quite close to not passing we ask for a guarantor, and we do a full credit check on the guarantor. This is the key to the whole thing, to making sure that the tenants have no adverse history, and secondly, that they can afford the property ongoing.

Do you take care of all the maintenance & repairs?

A.Yes, we work with a number of trusted contractors to carry out repairs on property. Within the contract there's a budget of about £200, where we're allowed to go ahead without prior permission. We always, where we can, notify a landlord to let them know if a repair has occurred, but in the event of an emergency, a flood, a leak, a fire, it's vital we get out there to get the tenant looked after, and the property, the repair fixed as quickly as we can. If the landlord wants to use their own contractor, or their own joiner, or plumber, or electrician, we'll always do that where we can, but in the event of a repair it's vital get out and get that problem fixed as soon as we possibly can.

What happens if a tenant stops paying rent?

A.Well, we know when the rent is due. The rent is due from the tenant within the first three to five working days of the month, of the calendar month. So, if the rent's not received into our account we will phone, we will text, we will email the tenant to ask why the rent's not been paid, what's happening, when will it be paid. If we don't hear back within that working day I will then visit the property at night and speak to the tenant myself to see if, one, they're still in the property, two, when they're going to be paying the rent. I then phone the landlord to explain what's happening, and also, if there's no rent been paid, or there's an ongoing problem we talk about the next steps, of possible eviction. We also, however, explain to the client it's really important to have an extra month, a spare month's rent in the account, because sometimes the rents can be late through people being delayed through their work, or a bank holiday, that may miss their mortgage payment, so we always explain to the landlord or a client to have extra funds to cover in case of a late payment.

How many inspections do you carry out each year?

A.We inspect the property every six to eight months and we work hard to gain access to the property. The legislation has made it harder for us to do this because the government have expressed a thing, that the tenant must have quiet enjoyment of the tenancy, so they don't have to allow us access into the property. This is an issue for all property management companies, however, we try and change things and do a friendly approach. We phone and we email the tenants to make sure that they're happy with us coming to the property, and we explain that we're coming there to make sure that they're okay, to see if there's any issues with the properties that they have. We go into the property, we make sure they're fine, there's no issues. We take pictures if they're in agreement with it. I mean, we check the condition of the property for them and for our landlord. Afterwards, we then email the landlord a full report on the property, and several pictures to show how the property is looking, and maybe update them if there's any repairs required.

How do you manage legislative change in your industry?

A.We are members of the Scottish Association of Landlords. We're members of the Council of Letting Agents, and also we work with accredited letting agent within Dundee City Council. So, as soon as any new legislation comes from the government, through these associations, we find out exactly what it is, how it's going to affect us and the landlord, and we write to the landlord to explain what we're doing about it. What's happening and what effect it'll have on them and their property.

What type of tenancy do you use?

A.We use the new private residential tenancy. This was introduced by the government on the 1st of December 2017, and we use that along with all the supporting documents to put a tenant into the property.

How much notice do I have to give my tenant when using the new Private Residential Tenancy lease?

A.With the new PRT lease there are 18 grounds in which a landlord can take their property back. If it's within six months, the first six months of the tenancy you have to give 28 days notice. If it's over six months, as a landlord you can give 84 days notice to take the property back.

How quickly should I expect to get my rent from Struan Baptie Property Management?

A.As a managing agency we ask for the tenants to pay their rent by standing order to our account in the first couple of days of the month. The first, the second of the month, depending when they get paid. We then take the money, we put it through our system. We pay the landlord within one to two working days of receiving it, so it's paid by BACS into the client's account, and then an email statement is sent showing the income and expenditure for the month. So basically within three to five working days from the start of the month.

Do you carry out an inventory prior to tenants moving in?

A.We always advise landlords to have a condition report inventory carried out. This is where a third party company comes in and they take timed, and dated, and coloured pictures of the property. It could be up to 100 to 150 picture of a house or a flat, showing the condition of the carpets, the walls, the coverings, the ceilings, and this is vital to have because we take the tenants deposit and lodge it in SafeDeposits Scotland. At the end of the tenancy we then check the property out against the condition report at the start, and then that allows us to claim any deductions from the tenant's deposit. We also stress to the client that it's really important to take any items that are valuable or any sentimental value out of the property before anything of value or anything could be damaged, to take it out and remove it altogether from the property.

Would you consider property in Dundee a good investment?

A.Dundee is a good place to invest in property. The market never rose in Dundee as high throughout the 2000s as it did in Aberdeen, Glasgow, or Edinburgh, so when the market did crash in 2007, 2008, the prices just sort of stagnated and never fell like it did in the other cities who had massive rises over the years. Ninewells as the hospital, is the second biggest teaching hospital in Europe. It's linked to the Dundee University and Abertay University, along with the Wellcome Trust for diabetes research, cancer research, medical biosciences. This brings in scientists, researchers from all around the world, to come to Dundee, to come to live and study in Dundee, and this makes it an excellent place for all types of top end professionals looking for affordable accommodation throughout the city. On the back of that we've also got the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is due to open in the city on the 15th of September of this year, and it's expected to bring over 350,000 tourists to the city over the year. The council also state there's going to be a lot of other amenities, facilities built round this with expected demand, so, all in all Dundee has never risen so high and there's great demand for good quality accommodation.

Why would a landlord choose Struan Baptie Property Management?

A.We're a small company based in the city, and been renting houses in Dundee for over 11 years now. We just work really hard at what we do. We don't sell houses, we don't do block management, we don't do any factoring, we don't do any insurance work. We just let flats and houses, and we work hard to give a personal service. I enjoy what I do, done it for a lot of years. The office is open nine to five but clients or tenants will always get me out of hours for any calls, or breakdowns, or any issues. We just work hard at what we do and take a pride in it.
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