Sunday, 4 March 2018

Edinburgh short term rentals - is the bubble bursting?

As the days get longer and the snow begins to melt the Edinburgh lettings industry will jump back into action this week with the usual demands and preparations for the summer rentals. From student lets to short term holiday lets and of course the Edinburgh festival rentals.
The emergence of AIRbnb type rentals have become very popular but I wonder if the bubble is beginning to burst in Edinburgh? 
Is your short term Edinburgh rental as busy as it used to be? I am regularly hearing that bookings are slowing down and voids are creeping in due to the sheer number of available short term properties. 
AIRbnb started as a platform to advertise your spare room to holiday makers and is now a global force to be reckoned with. However, Edinburgh is starting to see resistance from the powers that be and I think before long Edinburgh Council (EC) and HMRC will be cracking down on AIRbnb landlords. 
Several European cities (Paris, Berlin and Barcelona to name a few) have already been dealt a blow by their governing bodies to reduce/restrict the time short term lets can run for. It is also common knowledge that EC are in the process of reviewing the market place to determine what it believes is best for the city. 
There is a report every week in the local press about short term lets and their affect on the city and local residents. Many property owners run AIRbnb lets without any smoke detectors, gas checks or any thought for safety whats so ever! EC are on to this.
HMRC are very aware of the number of short term landlords in Edinburgh and lets be honest here folks; it’s easy to upload an advert and cash in on the thousands of holiday makers pounding the streets of Edinburgh consistently throughout the year. The government are after their pound of flesh. 
I blogged previously about the introduction of the new PRT which brings its own changes to the Festival market in 2019. The Edinburgh rental market is going through major changes at present and you have to be adaptable if you are going to survive!
At ACE Property we specialise in long term management however we do manage numerous Festival lets during the August period for existing landlords. So I am not just a long term agent trashing the short term market! 
I am merely getting it out there that AIRbnb is great if you are near Edinburgh Castle, have cheap management and running costs and can handle whatever EC and HMRC are planning. 
But if your business model is going to be compromised it is worth looking at other options or plan to adapt to any changes before it’s too late. 

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

My track record of failures and what they have done for me

Route One Marketing (ROM) - Failed!  

Years ago I tried to sell QR Codes; the square barcodes that when scanned link your mobile phone direct to specific websites. I pitched the idea to Edinburgh businesses telling them how QR Codes were ‘the future’. Nobody knew what they were at the time so they didn’t want them. However, John Lewis used one on their Christmas advert 9 months after I started promoting them. From there people understood their purpose and took a greater interest, trying them out on their smart phones. QR Codes became easy to get online for free so ROM was shelved. 

I realised I was not a tech guy and should stick to what I know. Property!

Kleeneze -Failed! 

Door-to-door sales promoting a magazine selling household items has to be the hardest thing I’ve done. However, it taught me how to refine a pitch and get important information across quickly. There is also no better way to experience rejection than having a door slammed in your face! Chin up and move on! Discipline was also learnt. Regardless of the weather and other excuses, I got out there and knocked on those doors. Ultimately that business was not for me.

Flat Filler -Failed! 

Financially my biggest failure- £12,000 lost in the design of the website that advertised referenced tenants to landlords and Property Managers. The site got traction with universities and students across Edinburgh however, I was unable to change the mindset of landlords and Letting Agents. It’s near impossible to change peoples ways as if it ain’t broke………. This failure taught me to research markets and trends better!

Throughout these failures I have owned and continually developed ACE Property. Now in its 13th year our skilled and passionate team continue to manage our growth and provide an honest service. The failures I have had over the years have shaped myself and ACE Property into the company it is today. Lessons learned have enhanced ACE and our team to deal with the challenging ever changing property landscape. 

I regret nothing. 

ACE Property is my constant, my drive! But my passion to try new things is always present.

I am currently building a network of property professionals and rugby players- The Property Rugby Club. 

Property and rugby are where my passions lie. Both are common themes throughout my life and I know they are important to so many others. I am excited to see what relationships I can help build and opportunities I can create with this network. The PRC has already introduced pro rugby players to property professionals looking to gain experience in the working world prior to the end of their rugby careers and I hope it can help many more athletes prepare for their futures. 

I am keen to hear from and connect with anyone with keen interests in property and rugby.

I know I’m not alone in failed businesses. I’m reaching out to show how I have handled set backs and I hope to connect with people on similar journeys who just love trying new things, starting businesses from scratch and putting the hours into something they believe in.

Just keep on going; research new ideas, challenge the norm, ask questions and follow your passions.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Edinburgh Festival Lets

There are no grounds in the PRT that give landlords or letting agents the ability to evict a tenant to enable a property to be rented out for the Festival. The usual practice of securing Festival tenants in January, February and March will no longer be possible from 2019 with the uncertainty of tenants’ plans. 

Let me explain.

In August and September 2018. At ACE Property we will be singing up our students. Most likely all into HMO properties. These leases will have no fixed term and must be ended by using one (or more) of the 18 Grounds for eviction (which you can read about here ).

There are no grounds that give landlords or letting agents the ability to evict a tenant so a property can be rented out for the Festival. We can communicate with tenants during their lease however the tenant is well within their rights to stay in the property and give 28 days notice when they need to leave.

2019 will see the practice of securing Festival tenants in January, February and March  become no longer possible with the uncertainty of the tenants plans.

The new PRT tenancy means that we may start seeing tenants issuing their 28 days notice at different times during the year depending on their university schedule and personal situations.

Do not panic! Our industry will adapt and move forward. We need to embrace the change and play the cards we have been dealt by the Scottish Government.

Landlords that are used to Festival Letting their properties need to prepare for August 2019 as the August rent rise that they may be used to might simply become a regular month’s rent.

The New Letting Landscape

On 1st December 2017 new legislation came into effect that changed the way landlords and tenants enter into lease agreements. From that date, all new tenants moving into rental properties in Scotland have to sign a Private Rental Tenancy Agreement (PRT) instead of a Short Assured Tenancy (SAT) agreement.

The major difference between the agreements is that a PRT agreement has no fixed initial term i.e. 6 or 12 months. Indeed, there is no end date in the lease so a landlord or tenant can end their tenancy at any time, providing they adhere to the statutory notice periods and – in the case of landlords – can demonstrate they have valid eviction grounds.

Please note that the PRT is a model lease produced by the Scottish Government for all landlords to use and is the only residential agreement landlords and tenants can enter into. ACE Property is using this “model” tenancy and adding additional clauses to it to try to protect our clients investments.

There has been much publicity and, some negativity, around the new PRT. In particular, the “no fault clause” existing in the SAT but not in the PRT which some landlords have used to evict tenants has raised concerns. However in our now 13th year of existence, we have used this “no fault clause” on less than 3 occasions so we think the negative consequences have been overblown.

A landlord may end a tenancy at any time after the start date, provided they have valid grounds for eviction and give the correct notice period. 18 grounds are listed and 8 of them are designated as mandatory which means that if the ground exists, the tenant must leave the property. In summary, if the landlord wishes to sell, refurbish, move into, convert to commercial usage, then the tenant must leave the property. A further ground makes it easier to remove a tenant for non-payment of rent than it would be under SAT rules.

 Where ACE Property (and other agents of our acquaintance) see a harsher climate is that if a tenant wants to leave, they may do so at any point after the start date, provided they give the landlord 28 days’ notice. They do not have to give a reason. Our view is that while some tenants may move in on day 1 and give notice to leave the next day, they will be in the small minority. As time goes on, the market place will adjust to such issues and we believe that through our strong referencing system and by working closely with other letting agents, we can avoid those tenants looking to exploit this new regulation.

The above is a very short summary (the model lease extends to 36 pages together with an additional 30 pages of notes) of the new letting environment as we see it. All landlords should familiarise themselves with this letting landscape and the following website will help 

Should you require further information or would like to discuss the management of your property please do not hesitate to contact me. Alan Nash - alan@acepm.couk

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


We have recently launched a new service which will benefit Airbnb hosts.

Letting Agent Today posted this article last week.

Letting agent managing Airbnbs to capitalise on booming short-lets market 

A letting agent has launched its own management service for landlords organising short-term lets on Airbnb. ACE Property, an estate and letting agency situated in Edinburgh, has launched 'ACEbnb' to capitalise on increased demand from the short-term lets market.

The service does not find tenants for landlords, but manages the rental once the booking has been confirmed. ACEbnb, which claims to be the first service of this type run by a high street letting agent in Edinburgh, will deal with check ins and check outs as well as cleaning, laundry services and key collection.The firm will also provide 24/7 support via its maintenance team.

One of the firm's directors, Alan Nash, told Letting Agent Today that he'd seen an opportunity to capitalise on the phenomenal growth of short-lets and in particular Airbnb. He says that he hasn't lost any landlords to Airbnb but that he had been receiving increasing number of enquiries asking if his firm managed short-term rentals. Nash says it gives his firm a chance to build its portfolio by opening up to a wider pool of landlords who may, in the future, want to instruct a longer-term let or the sale of a property. He says that the service he is offering is valuable to 'Airbnb landlords' as the cleaning and organisational side of short-term lets is often not so attractive.

ACE Property launched ACEbnb just over a month ago and Nash says he already has a number of landlords who've lined up Airbnb lets for the Edinburgh festival.

Should our new service be of interest to you please contact our office 0131 229 4400