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.

The importance of good record-keeping for buy-to-let landlords in Bristol

This week at City Rental Services we’re taking a closer look at a subject which is very close to our hearts, and one which we spend much time on when working with our buy-to-let landlords in Bristol: namely, the importance of good record-keeping.

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

Record-keeping is critical for each property, and we stress the need for excellent paperwork management to our letting-only landlords too.

If you’re a landlord in the city with more than one rented property, it’s worth considering these hints and tips from our experienced letting agents:

Full tenant details for each tenant in your properties, including Name, Date of birth, National insurance number, Passport number, Email address, Phone number, Next of Kin, Place of work, and previous address details.

Copy of the Tenancy Agreement for each tenant in every rented property.

Rental deposit Certificate for each tenant in every rented property.

Council Tax account number, which Band each property is, how much it costs each year, a note of tenant departure dates so you can cover Council Tax payments during tenant departure dates and any related information needed.

Water Rates per month or quarter, plus account numbers for each property.

Gas and Electricity details for each property, including account numbers – this can be the hardest information of all to keep track of, so try and find out which providers your tenants are using, have copies of any account details, keep copies of any bills, and ensure that you have contact numbers, account numbers, MPAN numbers and meter numbers all in one accessible place.

The more of this information you have as a property landlord, the better: it takes a long time on occasion to deal with utility providers, but the more information you have to hand, the easier this will be for you and your tenants.

Rents – remember to check your rental incomes monthly, and keep a close eye on the payments you receive, especially if you have more than one property, and more than one tenant in each rented property in Bristol.

Service Contracts – do you have any, any equipment in any rented properties under Guarantee of Warranty? For example, when was the boiler purchased?

Safety – keep your Gas Safety Certificates and dates of when this was completed, PAT tests, NICEIC Certificates, fire alarm Certificates, and what systems are in each rented property – plus, when they were last checked.

Having all of this information to hand will make your life easier as a property landlord in Bristol, as well as giving your tenants added confidence that you’re a property professional who ensures their full safety when renting from you.

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.

Landlords given legal impetus on energy-saving improvements to rented properties in Bristol

This week at City Rental Services we want to dedicate our rented property blog to an important topic, and one which is on the minds of many letting-only landlords in Bristol – that of EPC legislation, and the implications of recent proposed changes.

Advice on EPC ratings for lettings-only landlords in Bristol from City Rental Services

As discussed in this article from 01st April, tenants in rented properties across Bristol can now legally request that landlords make energy-saving improvements on rented accommodation.

The long-awaited effect of the purpose of the EPC’s is now coming into effect, as tenants can now request energy improvements on rented properties.

The big difference for letting-only landlords in 2016, however, is that they are now expected to fund these improvements themselves, as the Green Deal initiative is no longer available from central Government.

Irrespective of the new legislation now in place from this month and in effect on all rented accommodation in BS postcodes, it’s really important for all landlords to review their current energy usage in their rented properties, including looking at the provision of hot water and heating in all accommodation they own and let out across Bristol.

Bristol landlords – are you aware of the energy consumption of heating systems in your rented properties? It’s a good idea to look at the heating and hot water systems in place now in all of your houses and apartments.

We would recommend that all property landlords take a bit of time to read recent information sheets published about tenants’ Right to request energy-saving improvements, so that they stay on the right side of the Law on this.

We can, of course, provide up-to-date advice and assistance to all landlords.

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.

April Fool delights – the top landlord jokes of all Time

This week the team at City Rental Services have decided to celebrate April Fool’s Day by scouring the internet to find the very best landlord jokes out there – and sharing them with our letting-only landlord Bristol readers.

advice for landlords in Bristol from letting agency City Rental Services

So, in no particular order, here’s the best landlord jokes on the internet which made our team chuckle in the office – we hope you like them too!

If you dropped a slug and a landlord off the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which one would hit the ground first? Who cares!

What do you get if you cross a landlord with a weasel? No change whatsoever!

What do you have if you see a landlord buried neck-deep in concrete? A good start!

What do landlords do for fun? I don’t know, I haven’t seen mine in months!

What’s the definition of a perfect tenant? One who the landlord doesn’t know what your name is!

A housewife called up a pet store and said “Send me 30,000 cockroaches”. “What in the world do you want with 30,000 cockroaches?” asked the pet store owner. “I’m moving out of my flat in Bristol today, and I want to leave it exactly as I found it for the landlord,” she answered.

Some fantastic April Fool’s Day landlord jokes – but rest assured, they do not relate to any of our property landlords who are all well-trained, and care about their tenants!

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.