What is The Difference In The Property Market Between Scotland and England?

Last updated: 9.39am, Monday 4th October 2021 by

We get asked this regularly and is a very important fact to consider when purchasing and planning your investment strategy to know of the important differences and advantages.

By Gordon Campbell

This is a question we get asked regularly and is a very important fact to consider when purchasing and planning your investment strategy.

 

Background

Scotland is part of the United Kingdom but has some devolved powers (The Scottish Government runs the country in relation to matters that are devolved from Westminster in London.

This includes: the economy, education, health, justice, rural affairs, housing, environment, equal opportunities, and transport).

What about Housing in Scotland?

It is a fact that Scotland has the most progressive housing processes, standards and procedures in the UK.

This is one of many reasons why buildings in Scotland are kept in good condition and help to maintain and enhance the long term value making Scotland the leading investment strategy location in the UK.

Also why there is more dilapidated properties and in worse condition in England.

What are the Differences?

The main differences and benefits of housing in Scotland compared to England is:

 

The way properties are built in Scotland:

    • Better quality of materials due to potentially harsher, wetter and colder weather.

    • Higher building regulations and standards in building control, insulation and environmental impact.

 

The buying process

  • Properties advertised in Scotland by estate agents are on market and are at an ‘offers over’ price.

  • So if advertised at offers over £60,000 it will sell for over that price and the highest bidder will secure the property.

  • The offers over percentage can be anywhere from 15% to 30%.

  • Although the highest bid is usually prioritised, cash offers can be favoured even when they’re not the largest sum. Cash offers can often promise a quicker transaction, which some sellers value most. 

  • In England, the price advertised can be negotiable.

  • In Scotland the buying process is quicker, simpler and the highest bid wins so avoids any lengthy delays in offers being accepted and negotiations.

  • Remember – Alliance Property Group only sell off market properties, so we have already negotiated the best price and discount off the value of the property, something you will not get with on market advertised properties.

 

Home Reports/Survey Reports

  • Home Reports are unique to Scotland and is a legal requirement for the seller of a on market property to offer one to any prospective viewers and buyers.

  • This is different to England where the survey report is not offered and is the prospective buyer to get a report done, and at their cost, with no guarantee of securing the property. Another costly and lengthy process in England.

  • There was a Blog we did recently on Do I Need a Home Report/ Survey Report? That also details more on Home Reports in Scotland.

  • In summary, Home Reports are a very robust process in Scotland to ensure you are buying a property in good condition and at the right price!

Solicitors and the buying process.

  • The legal system in Scotland dates back to the 12th century and is the basis for most of the worlds legal system today.

  • The legal system in Scotland is different and simpler to England. A English lawyer cannot act for a purchase in Scotland, and visa versa.

  • The average time to complete a property in Scotland is 4 weeks, of course this can vary if there is delays in confirming information.

  • Once an offer in Scotland is accepted then no one else can buy it. In England that can happen right up to the point of exchange. Commonly called gazumping.

  • In Scotland, no monies need to be sent to the solicitor for the purchase until about 1 week before completion.

  • All properties in Scotland are Freehold.
  • There is no Leasehold properties in Scotland.

  • Here is a link to a document we did that explains the buying process in more detail. Our Buying and Solicitor Process: Making It Simple For You

    Building Management/ Factors
    • In Scotland, where there is a building or block of flats, a high majority of the buildings have Building Management or Factors we call them in Scotland.

    • This unique to Scotland and in general are not something the English property market has.

    • As a result, in Scotland buildings are maintained better:
      • They are responsible for the communal areas internally and externally
      • The result is long term well maintained building and protecting your asset
      • Here is a link to a document that explains in more detail What is a Property Factor?

        Letting Agents
    • In Scotland letting agents are highly regulated with compliances, procedures and standards e.g. all staff trained regularly, rents and deposits protected.

    • Having a good letting agent is invaluable.

    • You can check that the letting agent is registered in Scotland, as it’s now a legal obligation. Every licenence agent will have a LARN number confirming that they are licenced to trade.

    • Alongside this is a new code of practicethat every letting agent must adhere to. 
    • In England, anyone can open a letting agent with no experience, accreditation or personal vetting!

    • Here is a link to a document that explains in more detail Why Use a Letting Agent?

     

    Tenants and Rental Agreements

    • Rental Tenancies in Scotland are different than those in England.

    • In Scotland all tenancies are all the same so this ensures complete standardisation in the industry.

    • On 1 December 2017 a new type of tenancy - the private residential tenancy - came into force, replacing the assured and short assured tenancy agreements for all new tenancies.

    • The tenancy provides security, stability and predictability for tenants and appropriate safeguards for landlords, lenders and investors. The new legal requirements for landlords and tenants are detailed in the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016

    • The new tenancy, which must be used for all new tenancies created on or after 1 December 2017:

    • is open-ended, which means a landlord will no longer be able to ask a tenant to leave simply because the fixed term has ended.

    • In England, there is no standard format and letting agents and landlords can create their own lease so can be susceptible to more issues and disputes with tenants.

    Property Standards

    • There is also another unique situation with housing in Scotland that England does not have. That is something called Repairing Standard.

    • It is there to ensure that a property meets a basic set of requirements, such as being wind and water tight and that everything in the property is fit for purpose.

    • One key part of the Repairing Standard, which has been extended in recent years is the requirement to meet safety standards.

    • All property being let must have the following: suitable mains or long battery life interlinked smoke and heat alarms, a satisfactory Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR), Portable Appliance Testing certificate, Landlord Gas Safety Certificate and suitable carbon monoxide (CO) alarms.

    • It is also a requirement to carry out Legionella risk assessments and mitigate or remove risks as appropriate.

     

    Landlord Registration

    • Another difference is that in Scotland it is mandatory for all landlords to register as a landlord.

    • In England only a few local authorities have the register.
    • This register allows landlords to comply with the landlord registration requirements in Scotland and helps to improve standards for the 700,000 people whose home is in the private rented sector.

    • The Scottish Landlord Register is fully accessible. It allows:
      • the public to search the public register of registered landlords in Scotland
      • private landlords (or anyone managing rental property on their behalf) to apply for, manage and renew their registration in one place
      • Scotland’s 32 local authorities to maintain the register in their area.
      • Private landlords in Scotland are legally required to apply for registration with their local authority.
      • Operating as an unregistered landlord is a criminal offence.
      • A registration number shows that a landlord is approved by the local authority to let property.
      • Landlords must renew their application every three years.

     

    The above is a summary of the main differences between the property market between Scotland and England.

    All of these differences certainly make the Scottish market highly robust, safe and secure and most importantly ensuring your asset is protected at all times.

     

    At Alliance Property Group we look after you.

    We hold your hand at every stage of the process as well as helping to ensure that all of the processes, procedures, compliances and relevant certificates are in place for any property bought through us.

    Alliance Property Group. Making a Difference