Category Archives: Bristol rented property news

New legislation could impact Bristol property landlords with HMOs

This week at City Rental Services we’ve noticed that the Government has published a consultation document which proposes extending the mandatory licensing of houses in multiple occupation, or HMOs.

advice for Bristol property landlords from City Rental Services

This could, of course, potentially impact many property landlords in Bristol – particularly those dealing with groups of student tenants or young professionals sharing rented properties in various BS postcodes.

The main proposals are:

  • Removing the storey rule, so all rented houses – regardless of how many floors – with five or more people from 2 or more households are in scope – we think that this will further enable local authorities to tackle poor standards and the problems being seen in high-risk smaller properties as the sector has grown
  • Extending mandatory licensing to flats above and below business premises (regardless of the number of storeys), as evidence suggests that there are more problems in these type of rented properties in Bristol
  • Setting a minimum room size of 6.52sq-m in line with the existing overcrowding standard (Housing Act 1985) to close a loophole recently created by an upper-tier tribunal ruling. This is enabling some landlords to let rooms far too small for an adult to legally occupy.

In addition to the main consultation proposals, Chapter 4 seeks views on a number of measures within licensing, and is seeking views to making changes regarding:

  1. the evidential basis for determining ‘fit and proper’ – dealing with some of the current difficulties around disclosure checks
  2. refuse disposal in licensed properties
  3. the treatment of certain types of purpose-built student accommodation, and whether these should have a license

You can find the full consultation document and a link to respond here.

The response deadline is 13 December 2016, so we advise Bristol landlords to ensure they’re up-to-speed on this.

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.

An amazing week for our Gloucester Road letting agency in Bristol

Goodness me, what a week! The final week in January is always hectic for our letting agency team in Bristol, and this surely must be one of the busiest weeks of the letting year.

With over 70 properties advertised on Rightmove the phones have rung continually and 100’s of enquiries have poured into our email inboxes for rented properties. Our team of student lettings experts have worked so hard.

Student accommodation in Bristol from letting agency City Rental Services

With the student market well underway for 1st July 2016, we let over 25 student houses in Bristol last week alone.

Andy and Ben have been out of the office conducting back-to-back viewings all over the city in various BS postcodes.

This of course has the knock-on effect of creating enormous amounts of administration and paperwork, that Bonnie and the front office team have taken on board and dealt with.

The introduction of the new Right to Rent legislation has also meant that all applicants have to now come into the office with their passports or visas, creating even more office activity. It’s been fantastic to see happy tenants and landlords at our Gloucester Road lettings agency office.

We are pleased to say that our new systems and procedures are holding up as expected, and the electronic application, processing although input-intensive, has given way to faster, clearer and more accurate documents.

A big ‘well done’ to the whole student letting team in our Bristol office this week – great work.

If you’re looking for advice on rented student property in Bristol, please call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us – as an independent letting agency in Bristol, we’re here to help.

Recent student accommodation fire highlights new legislation for private landlords in Bristol

At City Rental Services we breathed a sigh of relief recently, following the breakout of a large fire at student accommodation in Bristol, resulting in no fatalities – but which saw the rehoming of more than 100 students in Bristol.

independent letting agency in Bristol City Rental Services

The blaze, which was caused by an unattended oil pan, caused significant damage to the student accommodation in Colston Street, but the presence of fire alarms undoubtedly prevented the loss of life, according to local officials.

And this ties in closely with new legislation that came into force on 01st October around smoke and carbon monoxide regulations.

The legislation – which is contained within the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015 – requires all private landlords in Bristol to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every level of their rented properties, as well as a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance, such as a coal fire or a wood burning stove.

The landlord must also ensure that all alarms are fully working at the start of each new tenancy. This now applies to all rented properties in Bristol.

To review the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations 2015 in full, please visit here.

You can read more about the student house fire in Bristol here.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Bristol Landlords – are you aware of new rules on tenant evictions?

At City Rental Services we’ve been carefully monitoring a raft or recent legislation affecting Bristol landlords and buy-to-let investors in various BS postcodes.

And the latest series of property sector-related legislation concerns what private property landlords can do around the thorny subject of tenant evictions.

lettings sector insights in Bristol from City Rental Services

The legal changes – which are part of the Deregulation Act 2015 – have been criticised by some buy-to-let landlords in Bristol for choking the average private landlord with mounting rules and regulations to comply with.

The new changes, however, make it more straightforward for Bristol property landlords to evict a tenant where they are legally allowed to do so.

Landlords can face high costs when taking a tenant to court to seek possession of their property – and technicalities and minor errors in applications for section 21 evictions can be thrown out by the court.

Tenancies entered into after 01st October can utilise a newly-produced form from Bristol City Council, designed to reduce mistakes and help save time and money for private landlords – as well as enabling them to get their properties back as soon as possible.

Landlords need to adhere to the new legislation around tenant evictions, particularly around the information which must be provided to tenants before landlords can serve the new Section 21 form and guidance notes.

To find out more, Bristol landlords should contact Julie Norris, Landlord Liasion Officer at Bristol City Council, on Julie.norris@bristol.gov.uk.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Was the Summer Budget positively focused on buy-to-let landlords in Bristol?

Here at City Rental Services, we like to keep an eye on industry legislation, so we’re better placed to advise and assist our buy-to-let landlords in Bristol.

A significant piece of Government legislation recently has, of course, been the Summer Budget – and it’s sparked a huge amount of debate in the lettings industry and Bristol rented property market in recent weeks.

advice for buy-to-let landlords in bristol from letting agency City Rental Services

We found a useful industry article here, covering a few concerns that the recent Budget would force private landlords and buy-to-let investors in Bristol to raise rents.

For us, as experienced independent letting agents in Bristol, there are two main areas of concern for landlords with the Summer Budget – namely:

  1. The restriction on ability to claim interest rate relief on the higher rate for taxpayers (40%) on buy-to-let mortgages
  1. The loss of 10% wear & tear allowance against income – in future, receipts must be available to prove that expenditure has been incurred

We’ve seen a number of legislative and financial attacks on buy-to-let landlords and property investors in Bristol during this year, and we’d advise all potential new private landlords and property market investors to seek professional industry advice before ploughing pensions pots into property.

We’re not accredited financial advisors here at City Rental Services, but we’re always happy to help and assist our private landlords in Bristol, and often find each week sees a number of our property portfolio landlords in Bristol popping in to see us and discuss the Bristol property market in depth.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

The vital importance of maintaining fire and smoke alarms in Bristol rented properties

We don’t want to be boring here at City Rental Services, but at this time of year it’s really important to remind our property landlords in Bristol about the importance of getting fire alarms checked with so many properties changing hands and new rules to follow.

advice for Bristol private landlords on fire and smoke alarms from lettings agency City Rental services

New legislation has been passed around the provision of fire and smoke alarms – which any property landlord should read here and be aware of.

It can be confusing to understand what to do around certain legislative items, but maintaining smoke and fire alarms in Bristol rented properties is a very clear subject indeed: as a basic minimum, property landlords should provide 10-year battery operated smoke detectors on each landing in all their rented properties, and ensure that regular testing takes place for all smoke and fire alarms.

We also recommend installing carbon monoxide alarms, whether or not an open fire is supplied to a rented property: this is a far better option than attempting to defend oneself in court against charges after a tenant dies from monoxide poisoning. A carbon monoxide detector is cheap and easy to install.

As private landlords in Bristol, you owe it to your tenants to get this done.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

The implications of tenant screening legislation on Bristol landlords

As we head into the latter part of the Summer, here at City Rental Services, we’ve been giving major consideration to the potential introduction nationwide of tenant screening legislation, further to the ongoing Immigration Act.

advice for property landlords in Bristol on tenant screening from City Rental Services

We’ve already introduced systems to take account of this new legislation at our independent letting agency offices on Gloucester Road.

It’s also worth noting that Bristol City Council will be holding a Landlords Forum at the Create Centre in Spike Island on 07th October at 7pm to discuss related issues and how this will affect property investors and buy-to-let landlords across Bristol when the legislation comes fully into effect in the UK.

If you’re a private landlord in Bristol, this Forum could be worth attending to air issues, discuss related matters with industry professionals, and also to hear what Bristol City Council are doing around the Immigration Act legislation.

Contact Julie Norris on Julie.norris@bristol.gov.uk, or visit here for further information.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

An Open Letter to all our student tenants in Bristol

Here at City Rental Services, we wanted to blog an Open Letter to all of our student tenants, following another hectic student accommodation changeover.

Bristol student accommodation from letting agency City Rental Services

To all our students working with City Rental Services and City Property Lets, we wanted to say a massive thank you to you all for completing your academic student year with us, and our landlords, in Bristol.

It’s been one of the fastest, most successful and trouble-free student changeovers. The team dealt with the movement of 1,200 student tenants in 48 hours – not to mention a maintenance workforce of over 60 contractors.

There were very few late key returns, and every key had some identifying feature. When dealing with several hundred keys overnight, this is vitally important!

With the outgoing groups making a real effort to leave their student houses clean and tidy, rubbish cleared, and ready for the next occupiers, we’re delighted with the low levels of complaints from incoming groups.

We’re taking this opportunity to wish you all well for the remainder of 2015: it won’t be long till November, when we start to re-list!

To find out more about our student accommodation services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Rented property investment trends in Bristol – amazed at Easton!

Here at City Rental Services, we’re contemplating the current pressure to raise rents.

We’ve noticed in recent weeks that this seems to have been the case especially in and around Easton, where it’s possible that the introduction of licensing by Bristol City Council is having an upward effect on the rents being sought and achieved as properties in Easton come under increased scrutiny by Bristol City Council and are then improved.

advice on rented property investment in Easton, Bristol from City Rental Services

We are aware of some property landlords in Bristol that are buying, some that are selling – some using the Auction House on 30th July – where some interesting Easton properties will be up for auction.

There are fascinating property investment opportunities available to Bristol property landlords looking to increase their portfolio during the remainder of 2015 with many good tenants anxiously seeking a new home.

If you’re considering purchasing property for investment purposes in Bristol, why not call in and have an informal chat.  We monitor the sales market as well as the letting market on a regular basis.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Bristol landlords – be aware of new building legislation in 2015!

Here at City Rental Services, we were somewhat surprised to spot this recent legislation which is formalising the processes Landlords and Agents must now adopt prior to carrying out any slightly more adventurous building works than basic construction.

advice for bristol rented property landlords from City Rental Services

There is an ever-increasing importance in the Lettings industry to respect tenants, neighbours, and to apply a greater degree of professionalism to the maintenance and presentation of rented properties across Bristol.

Never is this more pertinent, in our experience, than during the great student handover week which happens every June, year in, year out.

Let’s work hard to make it another smooth and successful handover to our 700 student tenants across Bristol this month.

The entire team here at City Rental Services would like to say a big thank you to all our Student Landlords who have entrusted their properties to us in 2015.

We urge all Bristol rented property landlords to review the legislation, too – it’s a really useful article here.

To find out more about our letting agency services in Bristol, simply call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.