The story that an inventory can tell


Landlords come to be landlords for many different reasons, some due to inheriting a property, some because they have entered into a new relationship and their partner already had a property and some because they want another income stream. Whatever the reason they are entrusting a tenant to move in and look after something of high value. So how does a property inventory help? Well… are you sitting comfortably? Then we will begin…. an inventory tells a story, although we all hope it is one without high drama.

The philosophy at Carlean is that a landlord provides a home not just a house. When a tenant first views it they are imagining the life they can make for themselves there, it should be warm, dry and comply with safety regulations. The initial inventory is a moment in time, a detailed description of the property, it’s rooms and their current state – all illustrated with multiple photos, any dilapidations are noted and agreed between parties.

Carlean aims to complete mid-term assessments every 6 months up until the tenancy ends, notes made at these are referred to at every assessment thereafter, it builds a picture of how the tenant is looking after things, how responsive the landlord is to problems and is a continuous thread. Unlike good stories where there is a twist at the end the final inventory should not hold any surprises for either party.

Landlords get a great amount of reassurance by having an independent party review their investment and tenants also get reassurance that the tale of fair wear and tear is being accurately told, no nasty shocks or unfair retention of deposits. We are proud to say that we have always successfully negotiated deposit retentions when they are needed and we have also had the pleasure of returning many deposits in full.

So that’s our story over, have you one tell about using inventories? We would love to hear it.

Why Carlean Lettings has written a Tenant Charter

It is well known that being a landlord brings with it a plethora of legislation that must be adhered to. With a legal system that tends to view landlords as rogues it is a very real scenario that a landlord will find themselves in court should they not be compliant. You could arguably think that the tenant/landlord relationship is just about operating legally but at Carlean we think it is more than that.

Whilst we are compliant and have many checks in place to ensure that we remain so, we also value the person behind the tenant, sometimes a tenant is moving out of their parent’s house and are living on their own for the first time. They may not understand their responsibilities, how could they? Carlean Lettings addresses this with a tenant charter.

The charter outlines everything that a tenant can expect from us but also – what we expect from them. Would a tenant know that they cannot take a friend in to help with the rent as this is subletting? Would a tenant know that a leaking pipe under the sink doesn’t constitute an emergency call out from a plumber – a bucket will suffice until Monday?

Would a tenant know that if they are expecting to not be able to make the rent that it is better to let us know rather than doing an ostrich impression?

Maybe/maybe not but the charter takes away the ambiguity and outlines how we protect them and provide a home but in return how we expect them to conduct themselves. Does it eradicate all bad behaviour, obviously not but we have found it to make a difference.

If you are a landlord and are interested in knowing what else we do differently at Carlean, then perhaps visit our website or call me on 07506 056977

What the Carlean Promise means to our Landlords and Tenants


Ever since I first set up Carlean Lettings a decade ago, I have been determined to set myself apart from other rental agencies. Two of my most important values are honesty and transparency and one of the ways I deliver on this is through accountability. 

I made a promise to our landlords and tenants, featured proudly here on our company website, in which I undertake to look after your property properly, with everything that this entails.  I live by this promise and strive to make it a reality every single day.

Not just jargon and empty words

At Carlean, we set out to manage all the properties in our care as if they were our very own homes.  This is not just jargon and empty words.  My office is situated in one of our apartment properties with my tenants as neighbours.

It matters to me that the tenants renting in properties in my care, feel that it is their home – just as the property where I live is my home.  Underpinning this, my staff and I aim for a level of friendly professionalism which brings an exceptional level of service to everything that we do, whether it be answering the phone, meeting new landlords and prospective tenants, dealing with on-site emergencies or anything else.  Attention to the smallest details is everything.

“Carlean have always provided me with a professional and efficient service, whilst maintaining a very personal touch.  I have peace of mind leaving my property in their hands as I am confident that they will deal with any problem quickly, without fuss or inconvenience.  I would highly recommend them to any landlords or tenants.” Michael Hart

Dedication to deliver

I have made a promise, on behalf of my company, to provide a high-quality service across the board.  We know the layout of all our properties.  We know our clients by name.  We know who they are when they call, and we know what they expect from a company which has won awards for its high standards of property management.  As I explain in detail on the About Page on this website, I was badly let down by a letting agency when I was renting for the first time and I have been absolutely determined, from my very first day in business, that I would do better for my landlords and tenants, that I would not let them down. 

We are accountable.  We are transparent.  I am proud of my team and their dedication over the past 10 years to always deliver on the promise that we continue operate by and will do so for the next 10 years, and I am particularly thrilled that this is reflected in the testimonials we receive from our clients.

“Sue is a rarity in that she does what she says she is going to do; bringing in reliable tenants, ensuring that the quality of the apartment is maintained and dealing efficiently with all applicable administration.  I would not hesitate to recommend her.”  Christine Weeks

 “Sue is a very dedicated property manager she keeps us fully informed on every aspect of our property and always goes the extra mile.  Thanks again Sue, you’re doing a great job.”  Rebecca Alton

If you are a landlord looking for an agent who “goes the extra mile”, please contact me now.


How to decorate your rental property

Decorating for Landlords

Guest blog by Nicky Percival, Interior Designer

Creating homeliness for everyone

Decorating a rental property is not like decorating your own home. Whilst home renovation is all about individuality and creating a space that reflects your personality, decorating for rentals is about creating homeliness that suits everyone.  On top of that, this homeliness needs to be hardwearing and cost-efficient.  

Depending on the market and the number of properties in the portfolio, landlords must decide to whether to spend on good quality for longevity or pay less for cheap and cheerful, knowing that certain furnishings may have to be replaced regularly.


We Brits have an obsession with fitted carpets, we think they bring cosiness and warmth in a way that our continental neighbours do not.  Being practical for rentals is key. Wood or porcelain (or laminate, if on a budget) for hard working areas – kitchens, bathrooms and hallways, is a must. Darker options are better than light and are both easier to clean and more durable.  I would recommend carpets only for bedrooms, and choose wisely – mid tone or small pattern, so marks show less easily.


Think neutral, but no ‘builders magnolia’ please!  Pale neutrals give an illusion of space.  White can work well in bigger properties but may seem cold and utilitarian in others.  All shades of grey have been more fashionable recently.  A soft warm taupe is also a good option. Use water-resistant eggshell or acrylic paint in the kitchen and bathrooms.  If you have more than one property, consider keeping to the same palette, so that spare tins of paint work for all.  All woodwork should be white for ease and a streamlined look.


White chinaware is a must, set against a coloured backdrop.  Simple tiling in limestone or travertine style is very effective, but remember that white tiles and grout can look tired very quickly.  Use similar tiling on the floor and consider tiling floor-to-ceiling for a homogeneous, clean, lined look.  Fit the shower over the bath, rather than separately, to save space.  Choose an electric shower, so that your tenants will still be able to take a hot shower even if there is a problem with the boiler.  Have a separate loo if possible, so there is less of an emergency if one breaks.


When renovating, it is not necessary to strip out and start from scratch.  Consider replacing cabinet doors and worktops.  Make sure there is plenty of storage, good lighting and a workable layout. Worktops need to be as tough as possible.  Use quartz if the budget allows and have upstands and a splashback to protect walls. Appliances do not need to be integrated, although this does give a smart, clean, lined look.  Freestanding appliances are easier to access for repair.  Be clever with storage solutions and make sure everything is clean and fresh.  Kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms.


Avoid furnishing rentals unless they are HMOs or holiday lets, which are not being covered here.  Tenants who bring their own furniture and make their rental their home will look after it better and stay longer.  Dress the windows. These should be simple, practical and durable.  Blackout roller blinds in bedrooms and venetian blinds or shutters in other rooms.  Pair these with simple poles and readymade curtains.  Well fitted, good quality door furniture is key to making the property seem well-appointment and well-maintained. This will help it to appear homely and complete.

Nicky Percival, Interior Designer

Carlean Promise: What does it mean?

Carlean Promise – to look after your property properly

Many companies have a promise. They proudly promote this on their website and talk about it when they meet new customers. However, in my experience, once the customer has signed on the dotted line, the promise and the behaviour and standards around it, seem to be forgotten.

A promise should run deep

For me, when I make a promise, I believe that it should stand for more than a verbal nicety or marketing jargon. It should run deep within the heart of the organisation, underpinning and shaping the very heart of the business.

A promise should uphold values and standards

The values a company’s promise stands for should shape the behaviour, language and approach of the company, right through from answering the phone, to dealing with suppliers as well as clients and customers.

A promise is a commitment

A true promise defines the standards you expect to deliver and, therefore, in turn, sets expectations in the mind of your client or customer. Failure to define accurately, to over-promise or failure to deliver will result in a negative opinion towards your company.

In addition, your promise is a commitment to a standard of behaviour and attitude all of the time, not just on the good days.

An authentic promise is rooted in purpose

At Carlean, we have made a promise to our clients which is firmly rooted in the reasons why I set up Carlean Lettings 10 years ago.

I had what can only be described as the worst experience with the letting agent who was managing my first buy-to-let property. Despite leaving me with a devastated apartment, months of unpaid bills, a court summons and an absent tenant, I was still expected to pay the agency fees.  I was a new landlord, finding my feet in the rental market and this was my first experience! 

A promise to manage properties in my care properly

My mission and purpose from that point forward was to set up an agency that would do things differently. Starting with providing the very best service and being open and transparent with fees and charges. Fulfilling all the legal and financial obligations was an absolute given, along with managing all properties in my charge with the same commitment and dedication I gave to managing my own.   

A commitment to the future

I am grateful to have won several awards over the years and my client testimonials prove that I am running my business in a way which is true to my promise. I remain as committed as ever to continuing to do things differently and to managing your property properly.


The Carlean Promise

 We promise that we will always do our very best to provide you and your tenants with exceptional service.

Our fees will be fair and transparent, we will ensure that your tenancy is legally compliant, and that your deposit and rent will always be held in our segregated client account.

When you or your tenant call, we WILL know who you are.

We will keep in touch with your tenant, visit regularly and report back to you.

But most importantly, we are landlords ourselves, we know what landlords want and we know how to manage your property to award-winning standards.


If you are a landlord and would like to find out what makes us different, please get in touch.