Tag Archives: advice for bristol landlords

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.

How to prepare rented properties in Bristol for Winter weather

With the onset of Winter weather upon us, the team here at City Rental Services have been advising property landlords on how to prepare their rented properties for colder, windier and wetter weather ahead.

advice on preparing rented properties in Bristol for Winter weather form City Rental Services

The importance of getting rented houses and flats in Bristol ready for Winter weather cannot be under-estimated. A well-prepared rented property portfolio can save landlords thousands of pounds.

Remember that landlords in Bristol have a ‘duty of care’ for their tenants – this includes providing tenants with adequate heating, a water supply, sanitation, and safe gas and electricity supplies.

Our top tips for preparing rented properties in BS postcodes for Winter weather include the following:

Protect the pipes – frozen pipes can be a huge concern for landlords and the cost of repairing them is usually high.

Prepare the heating system – check all heating appliances, to prevent costly call-out charges and repairs if they break during freezing temperatures with unhappy tenants to also deal with.

Remember general maintenance – look at all general jobs in your rented properties to ensure that all items are up-to-date before the Winter weather sets in for the long haul.

Check the roof – look for any slipped, cracked or loose roof tiles. Remember to check the condition of chimney pots, TV aerials and satellite dishes.

Prepare the pipes – check external pipes for breaks, leaks and blockages. Also fit pipes that are vulnerable to frost and freezing water with insulation.

Supply stop cock information – find out where the stop cock is for each property, and inform tenants where they can find it, in case they need to shut off the water supply during an emergency.

Clear all guttering – remove leaves and any debris, to prevent the chance of blockages and water damage.

Get Gas Safe – ensure that a Gas Safe-registered installer certifies all boilers, cookers, gas fires and flues.

Bleed all radiators – if a radiator is colder at the top, it needs bleeding. Doing this will release trapped air, as well as helping the radiator to work more efficiently and put less pressure on the boiler.

Little and often – ensure that tenants leave the heating on low during any periods when they are away from the rented property – for Christmas, for example. This maintains a constant temperature around the pipes.

Prepare your tenants – provide your tenants with an information pack showing the stop cock location, appliance and boiler instructions, and a list of numbers to call during an emergency. Provide them with spare bulbs for external and internal lights, a torch in case of power cuts, and grit for icy pathways.

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.

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.

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.