“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” ― John Lubbock.
Word of the day is ‘zephyr’ (Old English): a soft, gentle breeze, as you might feel on slumberous spring and summer days. From Zephyros, god of the gentle west wind.
Hope that the start of August has been treating you well, I certainly have been enjoying the sunshine and all the wonderful days that we have been having, there is something to be said about the smell of washing when it is dried outside, a simple pleasure in life.
The picture above of “Oor Wullie” was taken at the church on the hill in the southside of Glasgow and one of the reminders of the children’s charity event that has them dotted about the city.
Evictions a last resort – Reaffirm Landlords
Private and social landlords in Scotland have signed new joint statements in which they reaffirm their pledge to avoid evictions of tenants facing financial difficulties because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
By signing the shared statements, The Scottish Association of Landlords (SAL) representing private landlords, together with social landlords’ representative bodies – Scottish Federation of Housing Association (SFHA), the Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF) and COSLA – have reiterated their commitment to support tenants during the pandemic and take eviction action only as a last resort i.e. when all other avenues have been exhausted and a tenancy is no longer sustainable.
Private housing joint statement
The private housing shared statement confirms that for the remainder of the pandemic and throughout recovery, private landlords and letting agents should intervene early and act compassionately to keep tenants in their homes and give them the support they need to sustain their tenancies.
It also states that landlords and agents should work with struggling tenants to help them pay rent through a plan that is manageable for them in the long term.
Landlords and agents should also signpost tenants to the range of financial support that is available to help prevent rent arrears as part of the pre-action protocols required prior to any eviction application to the Tribunal or Sheriff Court.
The joint statements from across the rental sector follow the Scottish Government’s recent announcement of a £10 million grant fund to support tenants who have fallen into rent arrears as a direct result of Covid-19.
John Blackwood, SAL Chief Executive, said: “The overwhelming majority of tenants and landlords are working together to sustain tenancies during the pandemic. We welcome the Scottish Government emphasising that tenants have a responsibility to pay their rent, and encourage landlords to work with their tenants and always treat eviction action as a last resort. Our members have been working closely with tenants to reduce rents and write off arrears wherever possible.”
He added: “We strongly welcome the £10 million grant fund the Scottish Government has announced to help ensure tenants do not build up debt through rent arrears that they would struggle to repay. It is important landlords remain sensitive and constructive when working with their tenants, and that tenants struggling due to the pandemic speak to their landlord as early as possible.”
The social housing joint statement can be found here.
How to create a low maintenance rental property
For most landlords, the goal of a rental property is to make money. But maintaining a property can be expensive, especially when tenants are moving in and out. One way to ease the financial burden of this process is to create a durable, low maintenance property that will stand up to wear and tear more effectively.
Here are a few ways you can save money while also providing a comfortable and attractive property for your tenants.
Avoid matte white paint
There’s a temptation to paint the entire property white to give the illusion of freshness and space. However, white shows up marks and stains far more than a darker shade, meaning that it requires repainting more often.
Instead, you can choose a neutral colour such as a light grey or beige which still opens up each room but masks stains more efficiently. You should also choose a paint that is hard-wearing and will stand the test of time for longer. This is particularly key in areas where spillages are likely, such as the kitchen.
Keep the colour palette consistent
Painting each room a different colour creates a lot of visual interest in your property, but it’s more costly and more difficult to maintain. It can also be off-putting for some tenants, as you might choose colours that aren’t to everyone’s taste.
It’s a good idea to keep the colour of the walls and trims simple and neutral to appeal to a broader audience, and to use the same colour throughout all of your investment properties. This will keep upkeep costs down and will also make it easier to touch up chips or marks quickly if you need to get a property ready for new tenants.
Stick with laminate worktops
The kitchen is an area of the home that’s subjected to a lot of wear and tear, and if you’re not careful with the materials you choose, you could find yourself replacing fixtures regularly as a result.
Wooden worktops might look great, but they’re not a great investment in a rental property, especially around sinks as tenants might not be vigilant about keeping them dry and well-cared for. Plastic laminates are easier to maintain and are an affordable solution for rental properties. Laminate worktops work best for busy and messy households since they require less maintenance, they’re easy to clean and don’t need additional treatments.
Choose large tiles
Dainty details like mosaic tiles might look aesthetically-pleasing in a kitchen or bathroom, but they can be a burden to repair or replace if they become damaged. Larger tiles minimise the amount of grouting required, which can become mouldy if it’s not maintained properly, plus they’re neutral so they’ll withstand passing trends without looking dated.
If possible, choose a darker grout which will stay looking cleaner for longer, unlike white grout which can look drab fairly quickly.
Pick plain cupboards
Grooves and details on kitchen cupboards can become a haven for dirt and grime if they’re not cleaned regularly. Plain cupboard doors are a low maintenance alternative that won’t look dated and can be cleaned or re-painted easily if need be. They’re also usually a cheaper option so they’re ideal if you’re looking for a budget-friendly style.
Skip the carpets
Carpets are comfortable underfoot but they show stains and dirt quickly, and can be expensive to replace – particularly if you have several investment properties to maintain.
Similarly, if you’re allowing tenants who own pets in the property, carpets won’t last very long and will need vacuuming often to look clean and tidy, so they’re not a good investment.
Hard flooring materials, like tiling or laminate flooring, are far more durable and won’t need refinishing, so they’re more cost-effective for landlords and easier to maintain for tenants living in the property too.
When furnishing a rental home, make sure that you’re considering longevity with every choice. It’s tempting to choose the cheapest option, but this can be a false economy, as you’ll end up replacing or repairing things more frequently.
Instead, opt for materials or fixtures that are built to last and can stand up to wear and tear, however long your tenants are living in the property. Not only will these options make for an easy property for landlords to maintain but it will also help tenants to keep their home clean and tidy too.
An unfurnished property tends to attract longer term tenants and you do not have the responsibility of maintaining the items, as well as a council exemption for unoccupied and unfurnished property,
Bank holiday banking
Hopefully you weren’t affected by the issues Clydesdale and Virgin Money have had earlier this week and I shall refrain from having my rant about internet banking having issues on a bank holiday in the 21st Century, billionaires can go for a joy ride to space yet internet transactions wont clear until the next working day, or the day after.
Sorry mini rant 😊
Take care, and stay safe.
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