Flat Hunting Tips

Photo: Stephen O'Neil. With many years experience of letting property Westender, Stephen O'Neill, Managing Director of Newton Letting, recognises that renting a flat can be a daunting task.

Stephen is a welcome contributor to the West End Website and we can look forward to sharing his knowledge of flathunting in the West End (and in general). He starts by providing some very useful tips. How to pick the perfect rented flat

My West End

Photo: stephen. General

Stephen O'Neill 49 years old (but honestly I don't look it) and single. I own Newton Letting and Property Factors with my business partner Derek McDonald.

How Long have I stayed in the West End?

I'm a West Ender through and through having been born in Partickhill, brought up in Jordanhill and I now stay in Kelvinside ? it's my parish! I do have to admit to having a sabbatical in Newlands in the South Side during my teens ? What do they say? The only good thing about the South Side is coming back to the West End.

What First Attracted Me?

Being newly born in the West End I had little option but to stay there. Early memories were of my days in Botanic Gardens with Notre Dame Nursery (now gone) and the exciting part was watching the huge plumes of steam coming from the open tunnel at the old Silver Slipper Caf? (Botanics Station).

Fond Memories

Starting to sound old here. I stayed in North Gardner Street and aged about 7 years I would get up at 7am on a Saturday for the milk man from Scotts Dairy on his horse and cart and spend half and hour helping him ? great fun for a kid, you wouldn't do it now though ? nae milkmen!!

What Makes The West End?

Definitely its colourful characters.

Also its one of the best areas where the majority of its residents have a real pride in being West Enders.

I've seen men getting into terrible arguments over the fact they are real West Enders having been accused of being incomers.

There is a rich underlying community spirit which permeates the West End ? the only district in Glasgow I think that can boast this unique quality.

What Comes to Mind

Success Actually.

The West End grew rapidly from the mid 1800's to Circa 1900.

Its prolific growth was on the back of a successful city ? Glasgow ? things were going great guns for the city ? its residents and particularly the West End ? good quality housing was built emulating the West End of London.

So many West Enders are so so lucky to stay in all or part of these fine Victorian town houses that reflect the success of Victorian Glaswegians.


The planning department.

I'd love to see all new developments in and around the West End (Commercial, Residential, Local Authority and University) being encouraged by our planners.

Though a pre condition of such development is that they must be architecturally powerful ? big, bold, strong statements.

Maybe slightly ballsy.

This is no different than the Victorian West End developers did just more of the same 100 years later.

Tips for flathunters - 9th December, 2005

Although it's very exciting seeking out that new rented pad - come decision making time it can be really nerve wracking as there is so much to think about"
Is it a good flat or a good area??
Will the landlord be decent, hones and straightforward to deal with?
Perhaps new renters need a wee bit of guidance to help with choosing the right rented home.

How to pick the perfect rented pad

1. You will normally find a good landlord behind a spotlessly clean home.
Think about it ? a landlord or agent who takes time and effort to prepare a home just for the viewing stage will, in all probability, be an attentive landlord.

2. An agent/landlord taking the time to explain everything.
If the agent clearly lets you know all the costs involved in renting from them then this is again a good sign. Additionally if you are told the condition to expect the property in, the repairs procedure, hand back procedure etc then the signs are that it?s likely you are dealing with an honest agent.

3. References ? don?t be shy about asking an agent if it's possible to speak to an existing tenant.
I wouldn't mind this at all and have in the past given out this information. You really have to be confident and comfortable about the person you are getting into your rental relationship with.

4. Check out the neighbours.
Don't be feart to chap a neighbour's door in the close to ask what it's like staying in the building. Pick the best door as these people may have a bit of self pride and usually a good neighbour will be very helpful and open. People usually appreciate being asked their advice.

5. Ask for a copy of the agents standard lease at the reservation stage.
You don't want to be standing at an agents door with your bags packed ready to sign a lease which you then find to be weighted 100% in favour of the agent. If this is the case you are really forced to sign such a biased document given you really need to move in.
If you didn't like the terms of the lease at the reservation stage then you can withdraw your interest and keep looking.

6. Cheap ain't always the best
Remember that old Chinese proverb ? cheap no good, good no cheap!,br> Never rent a home just on price alone.
You'll often pay the price for doing so. There is usually a reason and it's usually pretty obvious as to why a place is so cheap.
If it's a crap flat in a nice area then it's likely there's a crap landlord that owns the place.

Landlord and agents do their homework before letting a property. As a renter you must do the same.
Remember picking the landlord/agent is just as important as picking a nice home.

About Stephen O'Neil

"Aged 49 and having worked in the estate agency and letting business all my days. I started off in my father William?s West End estate agency office (the first estate agents in Byres Road) in the mid 70s and since then I?ve spent years selling West End flats and houses ? I think I have been in every single close in the West End over all these years. I started Newton Letting Agency and Property Factor 4 years ago. I live in Kelvinside and I like to think I?m a well kent face around the West End." Website: Newton Letting Agency and Property Factor

Stephen's laundry escapade