It is just over 2 years since we took over Inchdairnie, which seems hard to believe as it seems just like yesterday. Thank you to all of our clients, old and new, who entrust us with the care of your properties. We don’t take your trust for granted and appreciate your continued support.
We have seen good growth in the business over those 2 years, which in no small part is due to our amazing staff – Gaye, Linda, Claire, Sylvia and our newest member of the team Donny.
As many of you will know the student letting market for the current academic year was very “hot” last summer, driven by the University increasing student numbers, but without any additional properties being available in the town. This drove rents up materially over a relatively small window in mid/late summer as students chased properties. One of the consequences of that difficult period for students is that we expect there to be less student movement this summer, as students want to hold on to properties – we are already seeing this with students wanting to do “room changes”, rather than giving up their tenancy. Normally by this time of the year we would have received more tenant termination notices than we have received to date.
During our our usual visits and inspections we are actively engaging with tenants to gauge their intentions for the summer and next academic year – we will be in touch over the coming weeks as we start to land this with tenant groups.
The lack of supply has also impacted on non student tenant population, again with less turnover on these properties as the lack of alternative accommodation means tenants are tending to stay longer. We are also seeing some short term landlords actively considering moving their properties on to longer term lets, this in anticipation of additional regulation being imposed on short term lets. This may ease some of the supply constraints, but we’re not yet seeing this happening as many short term landlords are waiting to see where the Scottish Government finally land on short term lets.
With a high student population Edinburgh is experiencing similar supply issues as St Andrews. This is also reflected in the longer term rental market.
Edinburgh rents are increasing materially with lack of supply driving this. In between tenancies landlords are pushing rents up to try to cover their increased costs, but lack of supply means that for decent (and even for some not so decent properties) there is still brisk tenant interest and time to let statistics show that properties are reletting quickly.
We will shortly be rolling out Fixflo across the business. This is the industry leading web based system for reporting and managing repairs and maintenance.
Using Fixflo tenants will report all repair issues online and with photographs and details of the issue. Fixflo will also direct them to common fault finding solutions so that they can try to sort the issue for themselves – for example we often get calls about radiators or boilers not working. In many cases all that is needed is a radiator to be bled or the boiler/heating system needs re-pressurised with a simple turn of a valve at the boiler.
Fixflo should get these issues sorted quicker for tenants and minimise landlord cost.
Our trades/contractors will also use Fixflo which will allow for frictionless job allocation, updating, completion and invoicing. It will also allow for preventative maintenance and ongoing certification work to be planned much more in advance.
Craig and I have always placed client service and experience at the heart of our businesses. When we have considered changing systems or amending processes we look at how this will impact on our clients, not just how it might improve our internal efficiencies.
It would be really helpful for us to get your feedback on your experience with the business. We try to get it right, but your feedback on what we do well or things you might like done differently would really be appreciated.