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COVID-19 Customer Update  19/03/21

Following the Scottish Government announcement on Tuesday, 16th March 2021, regarding continued COVID -19 restrictions, we are providing the following update.

Risk assessed compliance

As an organisation we continue to ensure that we have all the correct measures in place to deliver services to our customers.  Over the past year we have invested to ensure our team can work from home, providing additional communications systems and IT for this to happen.

Our offices remain closed to the public, with only a small number of staff in head office, for essential work to be carried out (e.g., post etc).

As a result of the first lockdown in March 2020, we have established a comprehensive risk assessed approach to ensuring our staff can work in the safest possible way and this will continue to shape how we work during this current lockdown period. The majority of our staff will continue to work remotely but will be fully operational, working to ensure the very best level of customer service at all times.

Site inspections and on site attendance

We plan to resume a phased return to site inspections on 26th April when travel restrictions are removed.

Where our staff are needed on site, they will have had risk assessments completed.  Where possible they will limit movement within common areas to outside core times in the day, to restrict interaction with others.  We would ask that all safe distancing measures for our staff are respected, when working on your site.

On site offices will be closed for access by homeowners and only our staff will be allowed access.

Please contact your Development Manager for information, as arrangements for each location/site may vary.

Suppliers and contractors

Our suppliers and contractors will work in compliance with Government Guidelines to deliver core services, repairs and maintenance.

We know that during this lockdown period, essential work is permitted ‘for activities in connection with the maintenance, purchase, sale, letting, or rental of residential property that the person owns or is otherwise responsible for’. This will be subject to the contractor’s own organisation’s measures and approach.

Planned improvement works remain suspended until further notice, other than for essential/urgent work, such as a roof refurbishment. This suspension will be subject to the requirements of future Scottish Government updates.  Please contact your Development Manager for confirmation as to whether any work already agreed is going ahead.

Communication routes

Communication routes from you to us remain active and diverts remain in place to ensure that communications are received and actioned.  You can therefore continue to contact James Gibb through the normal routes and be assured that the provision of core services, repairs and maintenance will continue.

Email communication

We would remind all homeowners that during this time, our aim is to communicate with you via email wherever possible.  We ask that homeowners, who have not already done so, contact us at enquiries@jamesgibb.co.uk to provide us with their email address. We recognise that some homeowners will not have this form of communication and you may wish to discuss with friends or family members, if they can assist.

James Gibb+ portal

We have also increased our communication flow via our website and request that as many homeowners as possible access their James Gibb+ portal, where you will receive all information regarding your account.

James Gibb+ accounts can be accessed via our website www.jamesgibb.co.uk.  You will need your account number and JG+ number, which can be found on your most recent invoice.

At James Gibb, we were hoping that by this time we would be reporting better news, but rest assured that as soon as Government restrictions allow, normal service will be resumed.  In the meantime, although we must limit contact to protect our staff and our customers, please know that James Gibb will continue to carry out the factoring service for your development.

We hope that our customers, clients and team are safe during these exceptionally difficult times.

Regards
Directors Office

Properties Used as Short-Term and Holiday Rentals: What You Need to Know

Over the past two years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of short term let properties in Scotland, with some areas of the country seeing an increase in listings of 80% in the past twelve months alone.

Recently at James Gibb we have received a number of enquiries from home owners who have concerns within their building regarding neighbouring properties being used as holiday lets on the likes of Airbnb and Booking.com, amongst many others.

The biggest concerns of owners have been regarding the fixture of key safes to the communal walls at the entrance to the buildings, leaving security entry doors open, as well as additional noise and movement during unsociable hours. Understandably, these concerns are justifiable, however we as property factors must outline where our responsibilities lie in ensuring the communal areas of buildings are kept safe, secure and well maintained.

Our Responsibilities as a Factor

As property factors, our role is in the management of communal areas, including lifts, stairwells, corridors and gardens to name just a few aspects. It’s our job to maintain and manage elements and features in the areas such as windows, doors, security systems, gutters, lawns and flowerbeds.

In the instance of short term rentals adapting communal areas to suit their needs, we can simply ask for a key safe that an owner has fitted to the communal entrance to be removed. We can also, if required, encourage visitors to keep the communal door entrance as secure as possible by providing a notice to remind people to close the building door behind them when they leave. We have no authority to take action within individual properties themselves, as we specifically manage the communal areas, meaning that the issues created by short-term rentals often need to be handled directly by the owner.

There are a few options for home owners/occupiers that can help them solve any issues they feel have arisen due to properties being used for short term rentals.

  1. Contact the owner of the property that is being let out

Concerned neighbours should make an attempt to contact the owner of the property that is being rented out to highlight the problem their short-term tenants are causing. Some owners may not actually be aware of the problems, so personally informing them may be an effective and quick way to address the issue. They could potentially create stricter rules and make guests more aware of property etiquette. If the contact details of the owner are not known, then your property factor can be contacted and asked to pass on your concerns to them, on your behalf.

  1. Check the property’s Title Deeds

Neighbours can also check the title deeds of their property by asking their solicitor or property factor. Some Title Deeds will state the type of habitation which is allowed, and if they are not designed to allow short term lets such as Airbnb, this could result in neighbours taking legal action against the owner of the short term let.

  1. Check the Registers of Scotland

Registers of Scotland can show details of the mortgage lender and flag to them that the property is being used as a short-term holiday rental. If a standard buy-to-let property mortgage does now allow short-term rentals, the owner may need a special holiday letting mortgage, otherwise they could be breaching the terms of their current mortgage.

 

Keys hanging in door

Some Scottish councils have indeed picked up on the issues of short-term rentals and are trying to address them. In March 2017, Glasgow City Council announced new regulations regarding short-term holiday rentals, making it illegal for homeowners in tenement buildings or apartment blocks to rent out their entire property as a short-term holiday let if it has a shared entrance. This is a complaint led system, which is dependent on owners making Glasgow City Council aware of their concerns and detailing the issues to them.

Glasgow City Council is now in the process of introducing planning permission to short-term holiday lets. Guidelines have already been published stating that flats should require planning consent for a “material change of use” if being used as a holiday let due to their communal facilities. The “Material Change of Use Bill” is now in its third stage of discussions in Parliament.

Edinburgh has not followed Glasgow’s changes, however. Edinburgh Council’s guidelines state that whether anyone can rent out their property as a “short-term commercial visitor accommodation” depends on how often it’s used, noise issues, disturbance and parking demand.  Instead, Edinburgh City Council launched a task force in 2018 to come up with a solution to complaints regarding short-term holiday rentals.

If you require further information on our responsibilities as property factors, do not hesitate to get in contact with the relevant office using the contact details below.

Glasgow

Edinburgh

Aberdeen

Out of Hours Emergency. Call us on 0333 240 8325 where our helpline operators will assist you

Aberdeen

2 Thistle Street
Aberdeen 
AB10 1XZ

aberdeen@jamesgibb.co.uk

Directions

 

Bellahouston

Bellahouston Business Centre
423 Paisley Road West
Glasgow, G51 1PZ

glasgow@jamesgibb.co.uk

Directions

Dundee

Gemini Crescent
Dundee Technology Park
Dundee DD2 1SW

dundee@jamesgibb.co.uk

Directions

Edinburgh

4 Atholl Place
Edinburgh
EH3 8HT

edinburgh@jamesgibb.co.uk

Directions

Glasgow

65 Greendyke Street
Glasgow
G1 5PX

glasgow@jamesgibb.co.uk

Directions

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