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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Rental market strong north of the border ahead of new agency rules

The Scottish rental market performed solidly in the last year, with the average rent rising by 0.6 per cent to hit an average of £570 pcm.

In March, the latest month for which data is available, there was a 0.2 per cent rise over February. 

The data comes from Your Move which says that despite the overall increase there are wide regional variations with the Edinburgh and Lothians region boasting the highest rents at £668 a month, while the East of Scotland has the cheapest rents at £533 per month. 

The Highlands and Islands region was home to the fastest price rises once again, with the typical rent in March some 11.1 per cent higher than a year ago. The average monthly rent in this part of Scotland now stands at £656, making it the second most expensive part of the country. 

The agency says that it’s crucial landlords bring themselves up to speed about new rules which affect the way letting agencies are able to conduct business on their behalf, and it is urging landlords to check their agents are complying. 

The Letting Agent Code of Practice was introduced on January 31 this year and all agencies are required to sign up to the new rules by September 30 if they wish to continue operating in the sector. 

After this date it will be a criminal offence to conduct letting agency work if you are not on the register. Those breaking the rules could face a fine of up to £50,000 and up to six months imprisonment. 

Your Move says these rules aim to increase professionalism in the sector and make sure that agents are properly able to handle money received from both tenants and landlords. 

  • John Gell

    It would be interesting to know what data underlies these assertions. They are averages and so fairly meaningless to folks who want to know what is happening in their own local market - and Scotland is an amalgam of local markets, all behaving differently. How large a sample of properties was analysed, and was the rent increased while subject to tenancy or when vacant and advertised as available for let? Is that data publicly available?

    We practice in Inverness and study local rental values on an ongoing basis. We are finding no evidence of rental value increases of any significance. The ultimate test of rental value is how much a property will let for when offered to let on the open market. It is comparatively easy to increase rents for sitting tenants, but unless such increases are guided by what's happening in the open market, doing so is unethical. Given strong demand, then rents will tend to rise. There is a notable reduction however in the number of Eastern European citizens seeking accommodation and this has weakened the market, although our buoyant renewables and life-sciences sectors do continue to attract people to the city.

    Our own managed portfolio produces an average monthly rent of £731 over a range from £385 to £1400. In our experience supply and demand of Inverness rental property is well balanced, with rental values for well-presented properties rising slowly and steadily. This is a healthy state of affairs, as a rapidly rising market is inherently unstable and likely to lead to pressure for political intervention.

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