Monthly Archives: March 2013

Top 6 considerations for finding a rented property in Bristol in Spring

At City Rental Services we notice seasonal variations in how tenants source rented properties in Bristol during the course of the year – and Spring is no exception.

Despite some of the incredible weather recently, when Spring arrives and tenants looking for rented accommodation in Bristol visit us, we advise them according to the season and the type of lifestyle they want to enjoy.

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So, with the promise of warmer weather and sunny times ahead, here’s our top six considerations for finding a rented property in Bristol this Spring:

* How well do you really know Bristol

If you’re looking for good quality rented property in the city, let a reputable, well-established leading lettings agency help you navigate around Bristol, and to highlight the pros and cons of different postcodes such as BS5, BS6 and BS8.

* Consider the season

During the Spring and Summer, consider the available outdoor space with rented properties in Bristol you’re viewing. There may also be communal spaces, gardens, or proximity to parks and woodlands to enjoy the sun.

* Family & friends

It’s worth reviewing any requirements for schools, nurseries, bars, restaurants, and clubs when viewing rented properties. You can also find out information online from resources such as www.whatsonbristol.co.uk and www.bishopstonmatters.co.uk, as well as magazines including Bristol Magazine and Folio.

* Budget

Talk to your letting agent about different areas and postcodes in Bristol, to get the best value for money and also to gain an objective viewpoint about renting in the city.

* Free source of information

Any decent letting agency in Bristol should provide a brilliant source of free information to a potential tenant about the city, with a solid knowledge of the rental marketplace. They should also advise you on legislation, such as EPC ratings.

* Running costs

During the Spring and Summer, running costs for rented properties are usually lower than in Autumn and Winter months. It’s worth talking to your letting agent about ongoing running costs, including a rented property’s EPC rating, which should be included with any rented property information. Visit here for further information and ask your letting agent for details.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Are you ready for the new Discretionary Licensing Scheme in Bristol?

April is creeping up quickly upon us all, and here at the central Bristol offices of City Rental Services we’re reviewing the upcoming Discretionary Licensing Scheme, which will have an impact upon landlords in certain areas of Bristol, such as BS5.

As a Bristol landlord, it’s important to be prepared for the imminent legislation, which will be in force from 15th April.

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In short, Bristol City Council are looking to identify and improve all rented accommodation in Bristol, and are encouraging more tenants to live in certain areas of Bristol.

The Scheme is focused on developing communities, and will be a statutory requirement for Bristol landlords with properties in the designated areas, with application forms available after 15th April 2013.

The Scheme is initially paying particular attention to rented properties in Easton, Stapleton Road and the surrounding area, with Selective Licensing status to be awarded to rented properties occupied by families (cheaper for landlords) and Additional Licensing status to be awarded to HMOs, typically rented accommodation with up to 10 tenants.

Additional Licensing status will be more expensive for landlords.

If you’re a landlord with rented properties in BS5, it’s worth investigating the Discretionary Licensing Scheme as soon as possible – to find out which streets will be affected from April 15th, visit here for information.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here. (hyperlink with http://www.city-rental-services.co.uk/find-us)

Are you attending this year’s Landlord Expo in Bristol?

Keeping up with industry legislation, networking with landlords and finding fantastic suppliers of trade services for our rented property portfolio in Bristol can be a time-consuming task for us here at City Rental Services.

Especially with the day-to-day requirements of our professional tenants, student tenants and landlords across the city.

Which is why the annual Landlord Expo event, held in Bristol, is such a useful day – and this year’s Expo looks like another interesting day out.

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Running from midday until 7pm on Thursday 18th April at the Exhibition & Conference Centre of UWE, this year’s event theme will be 100 Years of Private Renting, and the seminar programme alone looks fantastic.

To find out more about this year’s Landlord Expo, visit here.

It’s one of the main industry events for landlords in Bristol, and both Michaela and Sue are looking forward to attending on the day.

A great way to keep up to speed with current and upcoming legislation, as well as meeting Bristol landlords and rental organizations in the city. We hope to see you there, too!

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Do you have unwelcome guests in your Bristol rented property?

One of the most difficult problems we sometimes encounter at City Rental Services, is that of pest infestations in rented properties in Bristol – rats, mice, fleas, ants and bedbugs and other unwelcome guests can make a tenant’s life a nightmare.

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If your rented property falls foul of vermin and other unwanted visitors, what should you do about it?

Another big question is what are a tenant’s responsibilities to ensure infestations in rented accommodation are minimized? And, equally importantly, what is a landlord responsible for to reduce the risk of pest infestation?

As a general rule of thumb, domestic waste is a tenant’s responsibility, whilst larger commercial waste is within a landlord’s remit: so, general rubbish and food waste must be managed and disposed of by tenants, whilst landlords should be taking care of larger items such as mattresses, sofas and rubble.

It’s vital to remember that, as a tenant or landlord, doing nothing is not acceptableBristol City Council’s Environmental Health Department take a dim view of inaction around pest control issues in rented properties.

Many pest infestations can be linked back to a lack of due care and attention to securing food storage, disposing of food waste, and a general lack of hygiene. Open food bins and non-rodent-proof compost bins are all culprits.

If the pest infestation is small, tenant and landlord should agree to resolve the issue between themselves, often by purchasing professional treatment, or hiring in an accredited pest controller – we use this Bristol firm.

It’s also possible to now add ‘pest cover’ to some buildings insurance policies.

Here are the main types of pests encountered in rented properties in Bristol:

  • Rats

A common brown rat infestation can grow into a full colony quickly, given that females can produce litters of up to eight offspring every four weeks. Buildings should be gnaw-proofed to prevent rat entry, as well as blocking any holes in walls or doors. Look out for gnawing and damaged materials, footprints and droppings. Poison and traps are effective if treated early.

  • Mice

Mice prefer domestic environments, often nesting under floorboards, in lofts and behind skirting spaces. Their chewing causes considerable damage to rented properties, including cutting through electrical wires. All food should be kept contained securely. Rodenticides can take several weeks to work, so landlords and tenants should consider mouse bait containers as well.

  • Ants

If entering a property in search of food, ants can cause considerable damage. To eliminate an ants’ nest, crawling ant powder should be applied around it, as well as placing insecticide between paving slabs, low-level bricks and at the base of external bricks outside a rented property.

  • Fleas

One flea can lay up to 25 eggs daily, laying dormant until temperatures allow them to hatch. In a cold environment, flea eggs can lie dormant for up to nine months. Treating pets regularly is the first step to minimizing flea infestations. Vacuuming carpets, beds, floor cracks and where pets sleep is critical – as well as then placing insecticides to kill the adult fleas.

  • Bedbugs

As with fleas, bedbugs can remain dormant and then become active when new tenants move into a property. They prefer to nest in bedding and mattresses, but can be found in small furniture cracks and textiles. Treatment is usually a combination of pesticides and steam cleaning mattresses, whilst infested beds may need to be discarded completely.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Less location, location, location – more price, quality THEN location

In recent weeks at City Rental Services, we’ve noticed that whilst location is always a priority factor for tenants in Bristol looking for the right rented accommodation, other factors are also becoming more important in their property searches.

During a frenetic two weeks in February our Gloucester Road-based letting agency office let more than 40 houses! We’ve seen an increased savvyness amongst our student applicants, who increasingly look for a combination of price, quality AND location.

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Whether the location is BS6, BS7 or BS8 – in fact, whatever the Bristol postcode is – more people are now renting properties in Bristol than ever before.

And whilst perfection doesn’t exist in any rental search, the Bristol rental sector is a maturing market. Professional and student tenants in Bristol want a good deal for the money – they’ve rented properties before, and they know what they want. They definitely know what they don’t want, too.

It’s really important for landlords in Bristol to make sure their rented properties can stand up to the scrutiny of these savvy potential tenants – the easiest test is to simply ask the question ”Would you live there?”

The quality of internal property photos being used to market the property online is a very important factor often forgotten by time-pressed landlords.

We have found this year that areas very close to the city centre such as Stokes Croft and Montpelier are increasingly popular. Student tenants seek good value for money, decent quality student rented accommodation, the proximity to town helps when returning home after a night out, taxi fares are cheaper and it’s close for work or shopping at Cabot Circus.

Of course, a PieMinster treat on the way home is also good, or a trip to Boston Tea Party.

Landlords, visit your properties and check for damp, mould, rubbish build-ups and get the rented property condition up to scratch for new tenant viewings. Or maybe its time to go shopping down the Gloucester Road for a new rented property.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.