Category Archives: Rented property in Bristol

Another successful student changeover for our Bristol lettings office

The management team here at City Rental Services are recovering after the annual student changeover – but what exactly does it entail, you might ask?

Student accommodation in Bristol from City Rental Services

After months of careful planning, legislation compliance and 1000’s of forms being electronically signed we at City Rental Services are proud to say, “It all went very well”.

On the 01st and 2nd of July, our office team moved approximately 400 City Rental Services students, into a range of student accommodation in Bristol.

It became clear that many months of forward planning in the cleaning, gardening and general upkeep departments made the swap a much smoother and easier task than in previous years.

With most of the work being carried out prior to the move in date by City Rental Services the landlords had only to test the fire and smoke alarms while checking in their tenants leaving time for resolving any deposit disputes and arranging for deposits to be refunded to outgoing tenants whilst attending to the needs of new tenants taking up occupation of their chosen homes for the student season 2016/2017.

This year our portfolio of letting-only landlords in Bristol have relied on whatever help they can get from us to help them cope with the ever-increasing legislative burdens imposed on property landlords.

Maybe the recent Brexit developments will keep the policy makers busy and give hard-pushed buy-to-let landlords more time to get on with the job of providing fairly priced and good quality rented accommodation in the BS postcodes that remain popular each year.

It won’t be long until November comes and it will be time to start over again!

But until then, we hope that all of our new students, their families, and our student property landlords in Bristol have a lovely summer.

Perhaps by choosing City Rental Services as your Letting only Landlord agency you will have more time for the summer pursuits, whether it may be festivals, football, tennis or just watching the tide roll in and out we wish you all well.

If you’re looking for advice on 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.

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.

Bristol landlords need to be aware of smoke and fire alarm changes

This week at City Rental Services we’re taking a closer look at recent legislative changes to smoke and fire alarm provision and testing for rented properties in Bristol and all over England to ensure that property landlords are up-to-speed with their legal obligations.

advice for Bristol landlords on fire and smoke alarms from City Rental Services

Since October 2015, it’s been a legal requirement for property landlords to provide the following level of fire and smoke alarm testing:

Smoke alarms, fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be tested ON THE DAY that a new Tenancy commences. Not the day or week before or after.

This is a critical consideration for all tenancies commencing in Bristol during this year’s student swap-over.  We have made our best efforts to inform all of our City Rental Services landlords via email over the past few months.

This means, for example, that on 01st July, we’ll be testing more than 50 rented student properties.

We will be sending one of our qualified and approved electricians to each property with a third party to witness his checks.

This form of third-party self-certification is in place when a tenant will not be present on the date the tenancy starts, which is very common with student properties

We will also make photographic evidence of the visit to the property by the electrician.  This will be kept on record should it ever be required at a later date.

Landlords should note that under the recent alarm testing legislation changes, it is the responsibility of the tenant to then test and change any alarm batteries, as and when needed.

The National Landlords Association has provided a useful fire safety tool, which can be utilized here.

If you’re a property landlord in Bristol and are unsure of your level of compliance regarding any alarms in any of your rented properties, feel free to get in touch with us. Our fully-managed lettings team can assist you further.

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.

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.

Landlords given legal impetus on energy-saving improvements to rented properties in Bristol

This week at City Rental Services we want to dedicate our rented property blog to an important topic, and one which is on the minds of many letting-only landlords in Bristol – that of EPC legislation, and the implications of recent proposed changes.

Advice on EPC ratings for lettings-only landlords in Bristol from City Rental Services

As discussed in this article from 01st April, tenants in rented properties across Bristol can now legally request that landlords make energy-saving improvements on rented accommodation.

The long-awaited effect of the purpose of the EPC’s is now coming into effect, as tenants can now request energy improvements on rented properties.

The big difference for letting-only landlords in 2016, however, is that they are now expected to fund these improvements themselves, as the Green Deal initiative is no longer available from central Government.

Irrespective of the new legislation now in place from this month and in effect on all rented accommodation in BS postcodes, it’s really important for all landlords to review their current energy usage in their rented properties, including looking at the provision of hot water and heating in all accommodation they own and let out across Bristol.

Bristol landlords – are you aware of the energy consumption of heating systems in your rented properties? It’s a good idea to look at the heating and hot water systems in place now in all of your houses and apartments.

We would recommend that all property landlords take a bit of time to read recent information sheets published about tenants’ Right to request energy-saving improvements, so that they stay on the right side of the Law on this.

We can, of course, provide up-to-date advice and assistance to all landlords.

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.