Monthly Archives: July 2012

100 properties rented in Bristol – in one weekend

At City Rental Services, we’re used to being busy – given the nature of the lettings sector in Bristol, meeting deadlines and co-ordinating last-minute organisation are essential skills for any lettings management team.

There are certain times of the year, however, where our busy office in central Bristol becomes frenetic – such as a recent weekend, where we complete the rentals for 100 properties over two days.

The student changeover is our busiest time of the calendar year, forming the culmination of looking after our student tenants in Bristol for the year.

In June, it’s the end of the student year, and so our student tenants are returning the rented property keys ready for check out and deposit refund.  As well our office is seeing new student tenants who are visiting to collect keys for their new rented properties in Bristol.

What this means, basically, is two days of mayhem! The hundreds of sets of property keys all have to be carefully labelled up, with student tenant forwarding addresses being taken.

Then alongside this mammoth activity, our new student tenants are finishing off their paperwork, making final payments and then collecting their keys, often with parents in tow, and then they head off to their new rented homes across Bristol and to meet their Landlords.

By the end the weekend we had the majority of student property keys back, and the final inspections were being conducted – at City Rental Services, we encourage Landlords to check their student houses weekly during June, to try and ensure all rented properties are in a good condition as possible for handover.

The queue started forming from our central Bristol lettings office on Sunday, with eager student tenants ready to move into their new accommodation.

The City Rental Services office closed on Sunday at 6pm, and although it was a shattering weekend, our negotiators did an amazing job. More importantly, our student tenants were mostly happy and able to start enjoying their rented properties in Bristol.

Plenty still to do with lots of maintenance tasks, new furniture to be supplied, carpets, curtains and of course many trips to the shops to get the new accommodations up to scratch.

If you have any queries about our central Bristol letting agency, please feel free to contact us here.

Where is my rental deposit held – and why?

One of the most common questions we get asked at our central Bristol lettings agency is “Where is my rental deposit held – and why?” and we’re always happy to advise our tenants further on this.

There are currently three main schemes in existence for rental deposits, namely:

Deposit Protection Servicewww.depositprotection.com – this scheme is typically used by single-property landlords, who give the rental deposits to the Deposit Protection Service. They retain the monies, and provide a Certificate to the landlord within 30 days with the required prescribed information for the tenant. This scheme is delivered without cost to the landlord.

www.mydeposits.co.uk (TDSL) – this scheme is used mainly by landlords with two or more rental properties, who retain the rental deposits, and pay to join the scheme. Landlords pay per deposit held, and register this within the scheme, to obtain a Certificate.

TDS – this scheme is run by www.thedisputeservice.co.uk also known as www.tds.gb.com and is effective for property management companies such as our friendly competitor www.city-property-lets.co.uk.

The property management company holds the rental deposits for multiple managed and rented properties. The company retains the deposit, and pays an annual fee to TDS based on the number of rental deposits held and Certificates given. Keeping property Inventories here is a key consideration.

But why?

These schemes provide a framework for tenants, landlords and agents to operate in – whereby there is protection for all parties.

This, in turn, leads to greater attention being given to property inventories, and ultimately provides a fairer system for tenants, too.

If you have any queries about our central Bristol letting agency, please feel free to contact us here.

How planning legislation affects the Bristol lettings sector

Keeping up-to-speed and informed regarding central Government and Local Authority planning legislation is a key consideration for any letting agency in Bristol – and rightly so.

The impact of housing law has a direct affect upon how a professional letting agency handles and manages all of its tenant and landlord relationships.

At City Rental Services, we monitor planning legislation regularly, to ensure we’re up to date in our understanding of the requirements of Bristol City Council.

One of the least-publicised – but potentially most powerful – pieces of planning legislation came into effect on December 2011, concerning the protection of homeowners in quiet residential areas, where student tenancies are in danger of overwhelming a street or series of streets.

Bristol City Council is one of the local authorities handling this new legislation in the city, but due to the lack of debate and discussion on a widespread level, it has remained largely under the radar and somewhat un-noticed in Bristol.

Essentially, under this piece of planning legislation that came into effect from April in Bristol, a planning application must be made by a landlord wishing to let a property to three or more persons, not a family, for the first time.

You can read the basic definition of the new legislation here, as well as earlier industry coverage of the legislation here.

As with so much planning legislation we see these days, the main issue to consider is how this will be enforced across the Bristol lettings sector.

This industry article gives an excellent overview. Well worth a look, and highlights some of the potential issues to come for Bristol landlords.

If you have any queries about our central Bristol letting agency, please feel free to contact us here.

How to move into a rented property in Bristol

One of the most frequent services we provide at our central Bristol lettings agency is helping tenants move into a rented property.

And whilst this might seem like a straightforward process for some, for others it can seem like a time-consuming nightmare of paperwork and form-filling.

From our experience, the usual route for moving into a rented property in Bristol goes like this:

A visit to www.rightmove.co.uk where a postcode search will highlight available rented properties in the chosen BS area, as well as showing active letting agents.

The most important element to consider when reviewing available properties are photographs – at City Rental Services,  we upload images of every property we let as standard. This gives the best information, quickly and visually.

After selecting relevant properties, it’s time to ring agents – but if this is an 0800 telephone number, get hold of the agents’ landline office number and save money on these calls. A property letting agent should give you their direct line.

After being asked a few simple qualifying questions by the agent – such as if the applicant is working, whether the property they require is furnished or unfurnished, the length of tenancy required, viewings can be confirmed – with a hopeful selection of property.

Ensure that key questions are asked of the agent, including tenancy deposit amount required, the monthly rental amount, agency Fee and when it is required (many letting agencies in Bristol take their Fee immediately, but at City Rental Services we only take our letting fee at the end of the process, not the start), and the length of time it takes to move into a property.

One of the main priorities we consider as a leading letting agency in Bristol is to marry up tenants’ expectations with the process of moving into a rented property. It’s simply about the agency handling the property process properly.

The next stages are straightforward for both parties, once a property is chosen by the applicant:

Deposit paid (typically, a month’s rent), References are taken up, including current landlord, employer and Bank status is checked.

City Rental Services agrees a move-in date and check tenant’s requirements.

Time to sign the Tenancy Agreement, pay letting agency Fee, move in – at City Rental Services we provide useful information for tenants of the service providers for utilities.

With the right letting agency in place, moving into a rented property in Bristol should be as simple as that!

If you have any queries about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to contact us here.