Here we are. August is now well underway and the Edinburgh festival is in full flow! What an incredible buzz around the city at this time of year. It makes you (even more) proud to be an Edin-burger……just a shame the weather is trying its best to spoil the outdoor-drinking-fun after July’s sunshine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s feeling a little jaded today after several hours spent representing Edinburgh in the Udderbelly last night – Have you ever tried writing a blog after a (not so) ‘quiet’ Monday night out?
Landlords throughout the city see the Edinburgh festival as a great opportunity to take advantage of the influx of visitors when hotels and B&Bs are overflowing and prices rocket during the month of August. Promises of rents ‘3x the normal rent’ gets landlords rubbing their hands together with the prospect of a wee summer bonus and some extra holiday spending money by freeing up their rental property to let it performers or holidaymakers during the month of August.
However, in my opinion, Edinburgh Festival letting is not all it’s cracked up to be….and here’s 8 (to match August, the 8th month of the year) reasons why;
1. If your property is not in the City Centre, forget it – The majority of Tenants in Edinburgh festival want to stay close to the action around Newington / The Old Town / Marchmont (at a push). Any further afield and rents fall drastically
2. Avoid a void – To ensure a property is fit for festival letting you need to give yourself about a week after your long-term tenants vacate at the end of July to make sure you have enough time to rectify any defects/clean following the long term let and to prepare the flat for the festival tenants. The same applies for the end of the festival. You’ll need a week at the end of Aug/beginning of Sept to ensure the property is up to scratch for new tenants (including taking a new inventory). That’s 2 weeks of rent you could have had if you had stuck with long term tenants
3. Dressing up – For long term lets ‘less is more’ is the motto as long term tenants often bring in all manner of items with them to dress the property. For festival letting you need to add more of these homely touches yourself including bedding/pictures on wall – This is a hassle and can get pricey!
4. Broadband will drive you bananas! – Festival tenants expect broadband in their property. This can become a real faff for landlords having to set up 12 month contracts (which can create all sorts of extra admin with long term tenants) just so the festival tenants can check Facebook
5. Increased costs – There are additional costs you need to consider when doing festival letting – cleaning costs, utilities, council tax, key handling charges and the hefty festival letting agency fees. You don’t have any of that nonsense with long term letting!
6. New tenants see new problems – It is common for new tenants to notice maintenance work or improvements that might be carried out. While on one hand this is good as it ensures that you maintain the standard in your property, keeping on top of an issues before they grow arms and legs, rather than a list of maintenance jobs piling up over years. On the other hand each new long term letting can become costly so it’s better to hang onto long term tenants who are happy with the condition of the property
7. Hang onto good tenants – It’s a shame to throw good tenants out of the flat in July in order to free up the property for festival letting. If a tenant is paying their rent on time and is looking after the property it is far less risky to hang onto them than throw them out in July, do a festival letting then to rent the property out to new, unknown long-term tenants the following year
8. High maintenance tenants! – Edinburgh Festival tenants are only here for a month (or shorter) and often expect a style of service similar to serviced apartments or hotels. They can be VERY demanding! While we do our best to deliver outstanding customer service to our long-term tenants we are not there to do everything for them during their tenancy (as much as some students expect us to adopt the role of their parents during their time here!….no, as letting agents we do not do your washing for you), however some of the horror stories you hear from Festival rental companies would put you right off!
After 9 years dealing with long term lettings and handing over a handful of properties to festival letting companies or landlords each year for the festival lettings I just don’t think it’s worth it. It can be a lot of work, a lot of expense and a lot of stress and after all the additional costs you don’t end up much better off than if you’d stuck with long term letting. If you’re a private home owner with a flat slap bang in the city centre or Old Town and you fancy disappearing from Edinburgh for August then go for it….a festival letting may pay for that upgrade or adventure you’ve always dreamed of. However, if you’ve got good, long-term tenants in your rental property who are taking care of it and paying their rent on time I would recommend sticking with the long-term approach for a much easier, and perhaps ironically more lucrative life!
If you have any comments please add them below or tweet me @UmegaAndy. Thanks for listening!