Member of the Week - Simply Let

Simply Let was established in 2004 with the aim of being the Inverness market leader in terms of professionalism and quality of service.  John and Kathleen were able to draw on their own experience as tenants, landlords and users of letting agents’ services in guiding this.  They ensured that all full-time staff were trained and professionally qualified to the highest level, long before this became a mandatory requirement, because they believed that was necessary in order to provide a professional and reliable service to our landlord clients and their tenants.

We spoke to John, who manages the structure and direction of the business and is a chartered surveyor with wide experience in property management.  He deals with business development, IT systems, publicity and social media, inventories and property photography, and EPCs.  Kathleen Gell, MARLA MNEA manages the day to day letting and sales operations with the assistance of Marsaili MacLeod MARLA NAEA (who leads on sales) and Iona McLean MARLA who capably keeps programmes and processes up to date.  Kathleen also deals with the client accounts, taking on new clients and enjoys advising clients on how their property is presented to the market.  Our part-timer Moira Stuart provides cover for staff in-house training and development days and additional assistance when the pressure is on.

The majority of staff are landlords in their own right, and between them they have over 50 years of property management experience.

Simply Let would like to to raise awareness that they provide a consistently reliable and professional service to landlords.  There are almost 150 pieces of legislation governing lettings and, as well as helping our landlord clients maximise the value of their investment and avoid problems with their tenants, our role is to ensure that our clients to not fall foul of these.

The recent launch of the new Private Residential Tenancy has seen the biggest change in the private rented sector in Scotland in the last 30 years and we believe it is important that all landlords, whether self-managing or using an agent, understand these changes if they are to avoid difficulties.

John would like to make you aware of the reliability of their management services. John said: “We have not lost a landlord a penny in rent since we started and our Google reviews from landlords speak for themselves.

We also handle projects and refurbishments such as small house extensions, kitchen and bathroom makeovers and property fitting out.  So, if a landlord wishes to undertake works on a property prior to letting, we can provide a “one-stop-shop” dealing with everything from planning and building warrant, obtaining quotations, overseeing the work to securing a tenant and professionally managing the tenancy.

We also undertake domestic energy assessments and produce EPCs.”

Simply let are offering a new compliance audit service, advising landlords on what measures they need to take to secure compliance with the many statutory obligations impacting on property letting.

John said: We also handle property sales, particularly sales of tenanted properties subject to tenancy.  We specialise in sourcing investment properties for buy-to-let investors and also bring to property sales the professionalism and high standards which are the foundation of our success in Lettings Management.  We introduce landlords seeking to sell tenanted properties to purchasers seeking to invest, with significant advantages for both parties:  The seller retains an income stream right up to the point of sale, while the purchaser buys into a property fully compliant with statutory requirements and an instant income stream from professionally reference tried and tested tenants. Tenants benefit too as the whole transaction can be virtually seamless from their perspective.

John shared with us the business plans for Simply Let over the coming 12 months: “Further steady growth.  The last 18 months have seen a plethora of statutory innovations – Letting Agent Registration, the new Private Residential Tenancy (the biggest change to Scottish renting in 30 years) and GDPR, and we have spent many hours adapting documents, systems and processes to reflect these new measures.  We’re now looking forward to focussing again on developing our services to landlords and their tenants.

To raise awareness that we have been instrumental in development of the Letting Agent Code of Practice and the requirement that all letting agents managing property in Scotland be qualified, have client money protection and professional indemnity insurance.”
John told about some of Simply Let’s recent awards and commendations: “Simply Let was one of only five finalists in the “Employer of the Year” event in London a couple of years ago, having been nominated by our staff in recognition of the emphasis we place on staff development and rewards.

Kathleen was invited to be inaugural convenor of the newly-formed Council of Letting Agents and is currently ARLA Propertymark representative for Inverness, the Highlands and Islands and Argyle.  Her article on the new Private Residential Tenancy was published in a recent edition of Property Professional. (See attachment)

John is a past chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Private Residential Group, and both have been invited to speak at national conferences and to advise the Scottish Government on the private rented sector.”

John told Inverness Chamber what he values most about membership: “The training opportunities, networking events and series of presentations by local business folk.”

John also shared with Inverness Chamber his ‘top tip’ for other members to maximise their membership: “Get involved.  Attend networking and social events and don’t be shy about telling folks what you do and what your unique selling point is.  Look at the attendee list and decide who you want to network with.”

Tel: 01463 718888
Facebook: @SLInverness
Twitter: @SimplyLetLtd