Category Archives: Bristol landlords

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.

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.

Things letting-only landlords in Bristol need to be aware of – keeping ahead of legislative changes – a handy reminder list

One of the ways on which the team at City Rental Services consistently help our landlords is by informing them of recent and rented property legislation changes they face.

advice for Bristol landlords on rented property legislation from City Rental Services

So, as we head into Spring, here’s a few of the important legislative changes affecting property landlords in Bristol.

Before the tenancy starts:

How to Rent – the latest version of this information booklet must be given to tenants before the tenancy starts.

Gas Certificate – a current gas safety certificate must be provided at the start of the Tenancy.

Smoke & Heat alarms – appropriate protection must be fitted in each rented property AND checked immediately prior to the commencement of the tenancy.

Section 21 6A – this has replaced 4 and 4A as of 01st October for Notices seeking possession.

Stamp Duty changes – these will be 3% from 01st April, 2016 on second home investment properties.

Right to Rent – the Tenant’s Passport needs to be presented to the agency to be checked or some form of acceptable ID produced.

Prescribed Information – there are three tenant deposit schemes, and the details of the deposit scheme being used must be given to the tenant including the relevant Prescribed Information for the scheme being used.

The legislative changes and the details which must be given by law to new tenants are equally important – if you’re unsure, please feel free to pop into our offices to discuss the legal requirements of property landlords in 2016.

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.

Landlord confidence vs rented property demand in Bristol

This week at City Rental Services we’re focusing on a contrasting set of opinions and views within the Private Rental Sector in Bristol.

The sometimes opposing views are concerned with levels of landlord confidence versus the demand for rented properties in Bristol.

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

Two useful articles were uncovered by the team at our Gloucester Road letting agency offices recently from the website of industry body the National Landlord Association.

The first article here discusses the current state of landlord confidence in the midst of ongoing legislation, tax changes, and the remnants of the financial crash on the UK letting sector.

According to the National Landlord Association, landlord confidence in the lettings sector is now lower than it was in 2007 when they surveyed members.

This is balanced by another article from the Association, highlighting that rental demand has overtaken social housing provision, according to the latest survey results from the annual English Housing Survey across the country.

There are now four million households in the UK under the Private Rental sector, compared to 3.7 million under the social housing bracket.

Check out the full article on rental demand here.

This juxtaposition within the lettings sector presents an unusual position for the average property landlord in Bristol to find themselves – opposing opinions meaning that confusion can be caused.

We think it’s much simpler demand remains consistently high in the Bristol area, and for the seasoned investor the changes being imposed by the Government, whilst painful, will in time be overcome.

However, being an investment landlord is not for the faint-hearted and it is a long-tem commitment providing well-maintained, fairly-priced properties for the ever-growing queue of prospective 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.

 

 

What impact will Clause 24 have on property landlords in Bristol?

We like to use our rented property blog to inform and educate tenants and property landlords alike, and at City Rental Services this week we’re discussing a big potential issue for buy-to-let landlords – the Clause 24 update.

advice for Bristol property landlords from City Rental Services

We came across a useful update on the Clause 24 topic from an industry website – and it is worth reading the entire update here.

In essence, two property landlords are mounting a legal challenge to the entire process and policy of the proposed tax grab that could affect landlords across the country. The article covers the issues and updated action in depth.

The article highlights ways in which landlords in Bristol can support this legal challenge, including a dedicated Facebook Page and a newsletter sign-up.

You can review the full story here in full.

We recommend that all our landlords review this story and get involved.

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.

How to deal with mould problems in Bristol rented properties

It’s that time of year at City Rental Services when we notice more issues from our student and professional tenants with mould problems.

advice for bristol buy-to-let landlords on dealing with mould

February is the best time of the year for property landlords in Bristol to check their properties for mould and condensation issues, as this is one of the worst months for issues related to unwanted moisture retention in properties.

City Rental Services is often asked for solution for buy-to-let landlords and tenants, and it’s vital that time is invested on resolving mould and condensation issues effectively.

We advise our landlord to spend time inspecting their property investment portfolio this month, check for mould and condensation – take an anti-mould kit with them on their inspections or ask your maintenance contractor to make these inspections on your behalf.

One of the most effective ways to prevent mould issues in your rented properties in Bristol is to arm your tenants with relevant information: leaflets on how to prevent mould and condensation can be given to each tenant when they complete their tenancy agreement paperwork and move into a property or during the course of the tenancy.

You as a property owner can, or arrange for, de-moulding and redecoration as necessary.

You may want to install better ventilation systems, a fan in the bathroom, a condensating tumble dryer. Check the windows open properly and have locking stays for safety.

To find out more about the differences between mould, condensation and damp in rented properties in Bristol, please visit here.

We’ve also written a blog post about top tips on Winter maintenance of rented properties which might be useful – please visit here for details.

To find out more about the common causes of condensation, please visit this blog post we wrote specifically on it at the end of last year here.

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.

 

Private rental sector in Bristol experiences biggest growth in UK

This week at City Rental Services we’re going to focus on an interesting news story we saw in the Telegraph, concerning the demand for rented properties in Bristol.

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

According to research published in the Telegraph, Bristol has experienced an 18% increase in rent rises in the last 12 months, and is now seeing rental incomes growing faster than in London.

London’s rent rise was 11% last year by comparison, and the increasing demand for rented accommodation in all Bristol is in recognition of the rise in popularity of private renting.

Bristol offers a combination of good quality rented accommodation for young professionals, families and students as well as being a bustling, vibrant and cheaper option in rented property than London.

You can read the full story and examine the top cities for renting here.

We believe that 2016 will be another strong year for Bristol landlords, but we also believe that rent rises should be kept within reasonable bounds to ensure that they remain realistic and do not outstrip tenants ability to pay them.

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.

Top tips for Winter maintenance of rented properties in Bristol

Here at City Rental Services with the colder weather upon us, it’s that time of year when we advise our tenants and property landlords alike to consider the benefits of effective property maintenance during the colder winter months.

rented property advice for Bristol buy to let landlords from City Rental Services

With that in mind, here are some of tips for Winter maintenance of rented properties in Bristol to ensure your repair bills are kept to a minimum:

Keep the heating on low – this prevents pipes from freezing, and also helps to maintain the property at a constant temperature.  It is usually cheaper to retain a constant level of heat rather than switching the boiler on and off.

If you going away during the winter for more than a fortnight contact your letting agent so they can check the property for you during this time. This could help prevent unnecessary emergencies.

Ensure you know the location of the property stop tap.

If pipes do freeze – open up kitchen cupboards to allow heat to the water supply pipes. Place hot water bottles on the pipes to defrost them slowly.

Check the loft space regularly if you have a loft-located water tank.

Check that your insurances are up to date.

Speak to your letting agent – get handy hints and tips from them. They will also have a number of tradesmen to assist if Winter problems arise.

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.