Top tips to enhance your rented property in Bristol this Autumn

It’s the time of year when everyone at City Rental Services is advising our property landlord clients in Bristol on how to improve and spruce up their rented property portfolios.

tips for property landlords on preparing rented property in Bristol for Autumn from City Rental Services

And with Autumn well and truly upon us, now is the time to consider a few simple and straightforward tips on how to enhance the appearance of rented properties in BS postcodes, to generate more interest from potential tenants.

Our top tips for sprucing up rented properties in Bristol this Autumn include:

Focus on appearances – tidy up the area in front of the property, including washing windows, clearing leaves, pruning the front garden and cutting trees.

The clearing of gutters is always essential to stop the build up of leaves and blockages and always best to stop further damage to the exterior when the weather gets colder and not so easy to attend to.

Mould is always a problem when the heating gets switched on and the windows and doors are shut, especially in rented accommodation with more than two people sharing.

Make sure the mould is cleaned off and removed, bathrooms and kitchens should be repainted with anti-mould paint to not only to give a fresh appearance, but to also to prevent it from coming back.

Ensure all little jobs are completed such as dripping taps and leaking gutters.

Check all appliances are in order, including boiler and water heaters, are in warranty and covered for Winter usage and colder wetter weather.

If you’re looking for advice interior design for rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Will Mortgage Relief changes in 2017 hit buy-to-let landlords in Bristol?

The team at City Rental Services have been speaking to some concerned buy-to-let landlords in Bristol recently – and their cause for concern is over upcoming property legislation for 2017 around the subject of Mortgage Relief.

Advice for buy-to-let landlords in Bristol from City Rental Services

From 06th April 2017, the Government is introducing new legislation affecting the current mortgage relief rules for property investors and property landlords.

This measure will restrict relief for finance costs on residential properties to the basic rate of Income Tax. This will be introduced gradually from 6 April 2017.

Finance costs includes mortgage interest, interest on loans to buy furnishings and fees incurred when taking out or repaying mortgages or loans. No relief is available for capital repayments of a mortgage or loan.

Landlords will no longer be able to deduct all of their finance costs from their property income to arrive at their property profits. They will instead receive a basic rate reduction from their income tax liability for their finance costs.

Landlords will be able to obtain relief as follows:

  • in 2017 to 2018 the deduction from property income (as is currently allowed) will be restricted to 75% of finance costs, with the remaining 25% being available as a basic rate tax reduction
  • in 2018 to 2019, 50% finance costs deduction and 50% given as a basic rate tax reduction
  • in 2019 to 2020, 25% finance costs deduction and 75% given as a basic rate tax reduction
  • from 2020 to 2021 all financing costs incurred by a landlord will be given as a basic rate tax reduction

This could potentially restrict the profitability for some buy-to-let landlords in BS postcodes, leading to a slowing down of property investment in the city.

You can read more about the potential legislation and upcoming changes here.

What we would advise at this stage is not to panic, or to pull any potential property investment deals, but to instead monitor and review the legislation and make a fully-informed decision based on your existing property portfolio.

If you’re looking for advice on rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Wavering property landlords could force up rental prices in Bristol

The team at City Rental Services came across a useful industry news article recently, and wanted to highlight the concerns in the news story for our readers.

The news article, which can be read in full here, discusses growing concerns in the PRS over hesitant property landlords feeling unsure and uncertain about the property market after the Brexit vote.

advice for property landlords in Bristol from letting agency City Rental Services

Although, according to the article, the industry overall has responded to Brexit in a calm and organized way, there are pockets of buy-to-let property landlords in Bristol and across the wider UK that are faltering on growing their property portfolios, for fear of negative financial implications post-Brexit.

As one of Bristol busy Lettings Agents we are finding that the demand for rental property continues to grow and has not in any way faltered since the leave vote.

Those buy-to-let landlords in various popular postcodes such as BS7 who have both student and professional well maintained reasonably priced properties appear continue to keep their properties tenanted all year round.

If you’re looking for advice on rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

New team member joins our Gloucester Road lettings agency

The team at City Rental Services are pleased to announce the arrival of a new team member.

Scott Matthews, pictured below, joined our lettings team at the end of July 2016 having come from a postgraduate teaching background in Bath.

Bristol letting agency City Rental Services

Scott has expressed a keen interested in property management, and we have been very impressed with his varied skills and his ability to settle into his role with ease and efficiency.

Scott is based in our central Bristol office and has already enjoyed meeting many of our valued Bristol landlords. We feel sure that over the coming months Scott will grow into and excel at becoming a fine ‘Lettings negotiator’.

Commenting on the new role, Scott said:

“Having recently been a student myself, I am familiar with the experience of renting while studying away from home. Though exciting, it can be pretty daunting – especially when it is a new experience. I am therefore keen to help in making tenants feel at ease when renting properties through our agency.”

Scott will be working closely with both tenants and landlords over the coming months, as well as helping to oversee the day-to-day running of the agency rented property portfolio. Welcome on board, Scott!

If you’re looking for advice on rented accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road  to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

How has the Brexit decision affected Bristol property landlords?

This is a question which the management team at City Rental Services have been asking in recent weeks, following the huge build-up to the Brexit vote in England.

Advice for Bristol property landlords on Brexit from City Rental Services

And whilst opinion to remain in or leave the EU had pretty much all of us divided across Bristol, the impact of the UK vote has had Bristol property landlords pondering the future profitability of their rented accommodation portfolios in various BS postcodes ever since the results came out.

We came across a brief but useful article around the Brexit issue from industry body NLA, which can be read in full here.

We think the simple but practical advice given – to, basically, take a deep breath, be calm, and continue on as usual until new measures come into place which require attention and action – to be a wise piece of advice.

It’s unclear how the decision to leave the EU will affect Bristol buy-to-let landlords and property investors in the city in the short-term, but one thing that hasn’t changed in the city is the demand for reasonably-priced, good quality rented properties in all the usual rental hotspots across the city.

Our team of experienced rented property professionals and lettings negotiators are on hand in our Gloucester Road office to advise and assist landlords, as always. Pop in for a chat to see us and discuss Brexit further.

If you’re looking for advice on managing your rented accommodation portfolio in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Another successful student changeover for our Bristol lettings office

The management team here at City Rental Services are recovering after the annual student changeover – but what exactly does it entail, you might ask?

Student accommodation in Bristol from City Rental Services

After months of careful planning, legislation compliance and 1000’s of forms being electronically signed we at City Rental Services are proud to say, “It all went very well”.

On the 01st and 2nd of July, our office team moved approximately 400 City Rental Services students, into a range of student accommodation in Bristol.

It became clear that many months of forward planning in the cleaning, gardening and general upkeep departments made the swap a much smoother and easier task than in previous years.

With most of the work being carried out prior to the move in date by City Rental Services the landlords had only to test the fire and smoke alarms while checking in their tenants leaving time for resolving any deposit disputes and arranging for deposits to be refunded to outgoing tenants whilst attending to the needs of new tenants taking up occupation of their chosen homes for the student season 2016/2017.

This year our portfolio of letting-only landlords in Bristol have relied on whatever help they can get from us to help them cope with the ever-increasing legislative burdens imposed on property landlords.

Maybe the recent Brexit developments will keep the policy makers busy and give hard-pushed buy-to-let landlords more time to get on with the job of providing fairly priced and good quality rented accommodation in the BS postcodes that remain popular each year.

It won’t be long until November comes and it will be time to start over again!

But until then, we hope that all of our new students, their families, and our student property landlords in Bristol have a lovely summer.

Perhaps by choosing City Rental Services as your Letting only Landlord agency you will have more time for the summer pursuits, whether it may be festivals, football, tennis or just watching the tide roll in and out we wish you all well.

If you’re looking for advice on student accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Property landlords in Bristol given free compliance advice option

The management team at City Rental Services came across an article recently covering the potential introduction of a list of rogue landlords being produced to assist tenants finding accommodation.

The article can be read here in full.

This got us thinking about issues around property legislation, compliance by landlords, and how to provide advice and support for property landlords.

Advice on property legislation in Bristol from City Rental Services

The issue of rogue landlords and letting agents is very real for some tenants, of course, but as a well-established and independent letting agency on Gloucester Road, we look at this topic with a slightly different approach.

We work with many property landlords on a long-term basis, and are often called in to assist them in getting around the maze of property legislation.

One of the most popular services we offer is a fully-managed lettings service, whereby we take care of all the stresses and strains that a property landlord might encounter – including the rise and rise of property legislation in the UK.

It’s really important, of course, for all property landlords to be compliant in the face of any new legislation, but one of the biggest challenges many landlords with property portfolios face is the ability to keep on top of all this legislation.

One of the most important things to remember as a buy-to-let landlord or property investor in a BS postcode is this – don’t ignore new legislation.

We can help advise, assist, and keep landlords ahead of the legislation maze: simply pop in and ask how we can provide you expert property letting advice.

If you’re looking for advice on rented property legislation and compliance in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Bristol landlords need to be aware of smoke and fire alarm changes

This week at City Rental Services we’re taking a closer look at recent legislative changes to smoke and fire alarm provision and testing for rented properties in Bristol and all over England to ensure that property landlords are up-to-speed with their legal obligations.

advice for Bristol landlords on fire and smoke alarms from City Rental Services

Since October 2015, it’s been a legal requirement for property landlords to provide the following level of fire and smoke alarm testing:

Smoke alarms, fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested ON THE DAY that a new Tenancy commences. Not the day or week before or after.

This is a critical consideration for all tenancies commencing in Bristol during this year’s student swap-over.  We have made our best efforts to inform all of our City Rental Services landlords via email over the past few months.

This means, for example, that on 01st July, we’ll be testing more than 50 rented student properties.

We will be sending one of our qualified and approved electricians to each property with a third party to witness his checks.

This form of third-party self-certification is in place when a tenant will not be present on the date the tenancy starts, which is very common with student properties

We will also make photographic evidence of the visit to the property by the electrician.  This will be kept on record should it ever be required at a later date.

Landlords should note that under the recent alarm testing legislation changes, it is the responsibility of the tenant to then test and change any alarm batteries, as and when needed.

The National Landlords Association has provided a useful fire safety tool, which can be utilized here.

If you’re a property landlord in Bristol and are unsure of your level of compliance regarding any alarms in any of your rented properties, feel free to get in touch with us. Our fully-managed lettings team can assist you further.

If you’re looking for advice on rented property in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Hints and advice on how Bristol landlords can deal with student accommodation changeovers

Here at City Rental Services we’re looking at that time of the year when Bristol property landlords can get hassled, stressed and over-whelmed – the student accommodation changeover. We help more than 700 students move in.

advice for Bristol lanldords on managing student accommodation changeovers from City Rental Services

And with the student cycle entering the changeover period, here’s a quick guide filled with hints and advice on how property landlords in Bristol can make it a less stressful experience for themselves and student tenants.

Here’s our top tips to ensure that all student tenancies end promptly in 2016:

Serve Notice to all student tenants.

You must serve notice even to fixed-term tenancies. Whilst most students will move on, it’s important to cover yourself in the event of a refusal to leave.

Serving notice is a legal requirement and should be accompanied with the selected tenancy deposit scheme’s prescribed information.

Make sure the Law is on your side and serve Notice. This should be done two months before each student tenancy is due to expire.

Be friendly to your student tenants.

In Bristol, back-to-back tenancies mean there’s often no gap between a student tenant group moving out and new tenants moving in.

This means that landlords can rely on student tenants to ensure the property is in order for the next group. Throughout June, visit the property more frequently to check on progress being made.

Don’t instruct large maintenance jobs until affected tenant’s exams are over.

Work with the attitude that the empathy and respect you show will be returned by your student tenants.

Buy a notepad and make lists.

Make sure you know what’s happening and when. Student accommodation inspection checklists help ensure that work gets done.

Curb unnecessary trips to IKEA and save fuel by ensuring your list details everything you need.

Accuracy will help if you need to claim any deposit money at a later stage. For example – if a chair needs replacing, note in which room it’s located and the exact nature of the damage.

Find a good cleaner.

We believe that with the right encouragement many student tenants are fantastic and will get the properties cleaned appropriately.

However, sometimes a professional cleaner will be required. It is a busy time for student property cleaners in Bristol, so book these well in advance so your rented properties are organized.

Talk to your student tenants.

Tell your student tenants about your expectations. Tell them about the cleaning expected. Tell them where you want the keys placed in the student properties. Explain to them the process of returning their deposits, so they understand – otherwise, your phone will ring 80 times asking for ‘My deposit’. And, finally, make sure you have a forwarding address for each student tenant when they move out.

If you’re looking for advice on managing student accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Tips on preparing your property to let in Bristol

One of the most popular questions our lettings negotiators at City Rental Services are asked by our letting-only landlords is how to prepare a rented property in Bristol for letting.

advice for letting-only landlords in Bristol from City Rental Services

There is no doubt that the better a property looks, the easier it will let. Here are some of our simple tips:

Decoration – use neutral colours in living areas. A feature wall can bring a touch of class to a room.  All woodwork should be white.

Flooring and windows – use fresh neutral-coloured hardwearing carpets or laminate flooring. Curtains and blinds should be plain and light in colour.

Kitchen – worktops should be smart and light in colour. Standard-sized pieces are always a good idea if you should need to replace a section.

Bathroom – white suites, tiles and laminate flooring has a chic look and is easy to maintain.

Bedrooms – consider built-in wardrobes for added impact, whilst plain walls with a feature wall can also be very attractive. Good storage is always a great selling point especially if there is no garage.

Garden – keep a well-presented front garden to give the property curb appeal.  Front doors should always be kept looking smart and well-painted. A bike parking area can save damage to inner hallways.

When a potential tenant visits a property for the first time they are looking for a place to call home. Creating a clean-looking blank canvas will allow them to imagine what it would look like with their own belongings inside.

We’re more than happy to offer advice on an informal basis, and also provide interior design hints and tips via team member Bonnie, who provides professional interior design services for many of our letting-only landlords, too.

If you’re looking for advice on rented property in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.