Category Archives: Bristol lettings

Bristol landlords may need to increase rents by up to 30% as a result of tax changes

Rented property tenants with landlords in Bristol could face potential rent increases of up to 30% as a result of tax changes, analysis has found from our reading this week.

Many critics believe that the recent tax changes, in particular, the 3% stamp duty surcharge for those with second properties, are having a negative effect on the supply of rental properties, and are not the neutral non-discriminatory system that the government has suggested.

advice for property landlords in Brisotl on tax changes from City Rental Services

Re-think needed

Professor of financial economics at Imperial College London, David Miles, says that the planned tax changes should be scrapped:

“Stamp duty is now being levied at a higher rate on properties bought to be rented. Most properties bought by private buy to let investors will pay an extra 3% in tax. And starting from April 2017 the rate at which interest on mortgages used to acquire buy to let properties can be offset against tax on rental income will be reduced from an investor’s marginal income tax rate down to the basic rate,” says Miles.

He says that it is difficult to understand why the Government would want to deter provision of private rented accommodation from smaller landlords and that the changes will not make it easier for first time buyers as was planned.

Raising rents

Research suggests that landlords would need to raise rents between 20% and 30% to offset the impact of the Government tax rises.

“The effects of the tax changes are clearly large. Generally, rents would need to rise between 20% and 30% to offset them, more often than not rents need to rise by closer to 30%. The impact of the reduced tax deductibility of interest payments, which affects cash flows every year, is substantially larger than the impact of higher stamp duty, which affects cash flows only at purchase and is spread over the length of the landlord’s investment,” Miles explained.

Passing on costs

Separate research also found that around a quarter of buy-to-let landlords in the UK are passing on increased costs to their tenants as a result of the cap on tax relief being phased in from April this year.

Levels of awareness about the implications of the tax relief changes are rising, with 58% of landlords saying that they have increased rent, or plan to in the near future, the company’s latest Private Rented Sector Trends report, based on interviews with more than 200 experienced landlords, found.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) has also found that the majority of landlords will be negatively impacted by the tax changes and has called for the Government to use the extra revenue it will receive from its stamp duty levy to halt the implementation of the mortgage interest relief changes.

The impact on Bristol property landlords and tenants could be considerable – we will, of course, monitor this for our landlord clients and tenant customers alike during 2017.

To find out more, simply contact our independent lettings agency on Gloucester Road here.

Top tips on getting the perfect tenant for Bristol rented property

For any rented property landlord in Bristol looking to bring a tenant on board, there’s no doubt a temptation to get everything signed, sealed and delivered in terms of getting them moved in and settled.

It’s the quickest way to start bringing in rent and making a solid return.

tips on finding the best rented property tenants in Bristol from City Rental Services

However, if the process of onboarding a new tenant is not done right when a new tenant is coming in, it can cause a number of problems down the line in terms of unpaid rent, broken rules, and other issues that can take months to reverse.

For this reason, it always makes sense to ensure that the correct checks are carried out before you allow someone to rent your property, such as:

Employment check

While someone may have a good credit history, it doesn’t always mean that they have the means to keep up with regular rental payments.

It makes good sense to always check that someone has an income that will mean they don’t simply neglect to pay.

Asking for a confirmation letter from an employer and some recent pay slips can go a long way to proving that they have the income to be able to afford their rent.

City Rental Services pays extra attention to the picture that a Bank Statement can paint, as it offers an excellent detailed lifestyle picture.

References

Another thing that is always worth checking when you have a new tenant coming to live in your properties is whether they have a good history as a tenant. If they have rented before, then they will probably have dealt with a letting agent to do so, and that agent can vouch for them on a number of points.

If they paid their rent on time, always kept the place looking as it should and left without any real problems, then the letting agent should be able to give you a positive reference that lets you know you are getting a good tenant moving into your property.

Interview

It may seem a little corporate, but after you’ve checked everything else and it all looks good to go, why not just have a little informal chat with the tenant themselves to ask any questions.

Look for things like what they are hoping to get out of that property in particular, why they are choosing to live in the area, their rental past, and any other relevant factors.

It can help you paint a good picture of whether they will be a good fit for your property and a good tenant moving forward.

Guarantor

Here at City Rental Services if a perspective tenant has not been in their current employment for at least a year, we request that a Guarantor is put in place.  We also often speak with the Guarantor, to ensure that they are aware of their responsibility.

There are many ways to assess a perspective new tenant but we find the above to be the most simple and informative.

To find out more, simply contact our independent lettings agency on Gloucester Road here.

A new career at City Rental Services

This week at City Rental Services, we’re handing over our Bristol rented property blog to new recruit Scott Matthews, to highlight his new career so far with us:

Scott Matthews at independent letting agency in Bristol City Rental Services

Having worked for City Rental Services for just over six months, I have learnt a lot in my short time here, including the ins and outs of not just letting a property but maintaining it throughout its tenancy.

Having been a student myself, I have found an enthusiasm for helping students find their ideal properties at this time of year when there is such a competitive demand.

For students it can be a stressful and time-consuming time whereby in most cases, they have had just months to kindle new friendships and must commit to finding accommodation for the next year of study.

I have had the opportunity to meet some of these students facing the challenge this year and I have taken great pride in being able to help them find their perfect home.

At City Rental Services, we strive to make our application process as easily accessible as possible.

Through the use of electronic application forms and online payment details, the large majority of the process can be completed from the comfort of their own homes.

We also offer a lot of flexibility for when they do need to pop in to see us.

Each day at City Rental Services has brought something new, and I have enjoyed rising to different challenges and the experience that it brings.

As we move closer to the start of the next academic year we are preparing for the period in which we move students in and out of our properties.

I am very much looking forward to this time, where all of the work pays off and the students, in their hundreds, embark on the next chapter of their life at university.

Scott

How important are inventories for property landlords in Bristol?

The management team at City Rental Services have been assisting more property landlords in Bristol with inventories so far in 2017, and we decided to write a full blog post highlighting the importance of full inventories for rented accommodation.

advice for property landlords in Bristol from City Rental Services

One of the first questions many property landlords in Bristol ask us is whether an inventory is compulsory. Our response is always the same.

Tenancy deposit protection does not make inventories compulsory. However, in practice, they are essential.

Not only is an inventory needed in the sense of a list of items included in the tenancy but will have to record any damage the condition of each item. Any existing defects at the beginning of the tenancy will need to be set out.

If your deposit is intended to cover damage to the property itself, you will also need a condition schedule.  Again, this will need to record any damage, which exists when the tenancy starts.

An inventory and condition schedule should be taken at the beginning of a tenancy with the tenant present where possible. The tenant should then sign that they are in agreement. This same documentation will then be used whilst conducting the check out at the end of the tenancy.

If an item of furniture is new or if the property has been recently internally decorated this will need to be recorded in your conditions schedule and a full photographic record is advisable. It is advisable to have any photographic evidence dated.

Published articles have said that there have been a number of decisions by adjudicators under existing voluntary schemes, which show that unless you follow these rules there is little or no chance of you recovering anything out of the deposit for damage.

Likewise, decisions by a District Judge in County Court small claims have also shown that without an inventory and schedule of condition, it is less likely that you will be awarded any part of the deposit to make good any damage caused.

In our experience, it is common for a tenant to claim that the damage already existed when the tenancy started!

If, following the end of the tenancy, you have to make good any damage it is advisable to have proper receipts, estimates and invoices.

If you’re looking for advice on managing 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.

What documentation should Bristol landlords give their tenants?

We’re all busy here at City Rental Services dealing with new tenants for rented accommodation across Bristol, and handling new tenancy agreements in various BS postcodes.

Registering Deposits

As we all know deposits have to be registered with a registered deposit scheme and the relevant documentation has to be issued.

Advice from City Rental Services on documentation bristol landlords should give tenants

Deposits should be protected and documents served within 30 days of receipt of the funds.

Here are the guidelines on documentation to be issued to tenants after registering their tenancy deposits in an approved scheme.

  • Copy of the deposit protection certificate/receipt
  • Prescribed Information
  • The deposit protection scheme leaflet for tenants

It’s a good idea to check with your deposit scheme’s rules and guidance as they may require you to give your tenant further information to the standard requirements listed above.

Deposits should be protected and documents served within 30 days of receipt of the funds.

The tenancy deposit scheme with which you have protected your deposit with will provide you with your tenancy deposit certificate and receipt.

Under legal requirements, it is required that you give a copy of the deposit protection certificate and prescribed information to the tenants, and any third parties that have contributed to the deposit. I.e. if a parent has contributed to the deposit they also require a certificate and prescribed information.

Failure to give the prescribed information to the tenant or any third party can leave the deposit registration invalid, and landlords may be subject to penalty.

The RLA strongly suggests that all recipients should sign a document to confirm they have received the prescribed information, along with the accompanying documents.

Here at City Rental Services our T’s and C’s clearly state that all applicants agree to receive emails from us and with that in mind, all essential documents are emailed at the very beginning of our application process to both the tenants and the guarantors.

If you’re looking for advice on managing 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.

Looking for student accommodation in Bristol in 2017?

Firstly, the management team at City Rental Services would like to wish our landlords and tenants a very Happy New Year.

And, with the student lets for 2017 have already taken off in a whirlwind of enquiries, viewings and applications.

student accommodation in Bristol from City Rental Services

With many properties already let and more in the process of being let to those looking for student accommodation in Bristol, the City Rental Services team are as busy as ever running around BS7 carrying out numerous viewings.

In the office this week, for example, the phones are ringing red hot, with over 70 more student houses to let being uploaded to RightMove.

During this early stage of student lets for 2017, there are many properties for prospective tenants to choose from, and it’s already noticeable that the more up together and well-presented properties are letting first.

And for property landlords in Bristol, it’s a good time to consider a few minor improvements to make your property more attractive, such as painting front doors, tidy the gardens, and cleaning the windows.

This year, CRS has made some improvements to its systems and sees the launch of a new bespoke property letting database that’s able to deal quickly and efficiently with all applications from start to finish online.

City Rental Services groups have been instructed to make ONE whole DEPOSIT payment per group this year, in an attempt to eliminate multiple single payments being received over a long period of time from student tenants in Bristol.

This is a new concept that we hope will make our landlords’ accounting easier and clearer.

All deposits should be registered within 30 days of receipt and a copy of the certificate sent on to admin@citypropertylets.co.uk for our records.

City Rental Services will issue a copy of the certificate to all groups as a standard part of the application process.

Coming soon will also be a New Tariff of Services for letting only landlords, which we’ll discuss in further on a blog post.

City Rental Services are proud to be offering a new comprehensive “Tariff of Services” this year in an attempt to assist our letting only landlords in the run-up to, and changeover period, of student houses.

Services will vary from simple key holding to complete handling of the changeover period – watch this space for further details in coming weeks.

Please feel free to drop in, email or call us with any enquires.

If you’re looking for advice on managing student accommodation in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road (hyperlink with http://www.city-rental-services.co.uk/find-us) to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Fire regulations updated for rented properties in Bristol

This week at City Rental Services  we’re going to discuss the need to check tenants in properly, promptly and professionally.

Our letting agents have recently been advised that it’s now a necessity to check that any fire protection system is in working order on the day any new tenancy commences in any rented property in Bristol.

fire regulation advice for landlords of rented properties in Bristol from City Rental Services

There are so many different types of fire protection systems – with the minimum legal requirement being 10-year-guaranteed smoke detectors on each level, and the maximum requirement being a full panel alarm in a rented house or apartment.

Bristol landlords who manage their own properties need to be fully aware of the need to comply with the legislation.

This means that they should not only ensure that at the very least 10-year-guaranteed battery-operated alarms are fitted, but also to ensure that the systems are checked and signed off as safe and fully operational on the first day of any new tenancy.

In addition, fire alarm systems need to be checked every six months and the certificates kept safely. This should also include Emergency Lighting Certificates, if fitted.

Tenants in rented properties in Bristol need to be given some understanding of how these systems work, and reminded NOT to interfere with the workings of the systems.

Tenants should also be educated on the importance of not removing or damaging detector heads, to respect the alarm systems and to take notice if the alarm actually rings.

A few moments spent with your tenants at the start of their tenancies can protect them should there be a fire. Potentially, it could save lives.

For further information on this important aspect of letting your property, check out the free downloadable PDF booklet for property landlords in Bristol here on The Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015.

If you’re looking for advice on managing 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.

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.

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.