Tag Archives: central Bristol letting agency

New team member joins our Gloucester Road lettings agency

The team at City Rental Services are pleased to announce the arrival of a new team member.

Scott Matthews, pictured below, joined our lettings team at the end of July 2016 having come from a postgraduate teaching background in Bath.

Bristol letting agency City Rental Services

Scott has expressed a keen interested in property management, and we have been very impressed with his varied skills and his ability to settle into his role with ease and efficiency.

Scott is based in our central Bristol office and has already enjoyed meeting many of our valued Bristol landlords. We feel sure that over the coming months Scott will grow into and excel at becoming a fine ‘Lettings negotiator’.

Commenting on the new role, Scott said:

“Having recently been a student myself, I am familiar with the experience of renting while studying away from home. Though exciting, it can be pretty daunting – especially when it is a new experience. I am therefore keen to help in making tenants feel at ease when renting properties through our agency.”

Scott will be working closely with both tenants and landlords over the coming months, as well as helping to oversee the day-to-day running of the agency rented property portfolio. Welcome on board, Scott!

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.

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.

Exciting new developments at our central Bristol lettings agency

It’s exciting times at the moment here at City Rental Services, due mainly to our amazing team.

Following the recent launch of our new July 2015 student rented property list – you can read all about it here.

leading property rentals in Bristol from City Rental Services

We’re delighted with the responses to date: several properties are already under offer, but more importantly utilising our new, highly efficient, fully automated online system – and now including electronic document signing.

This new system allows us more time for viewings of student properties from our great selection of 3-12 bed houses and flats in BS6, BS5, BS8 and BS2.

This also gives us more time to discuss the needs of our landlords and prospective tenants. The system is fast and efficient, and we love it!

Thanks, Wendy – the in-house driving force behind our new system.

If you’re looking for advice on rented property in Bristol from a leading independent lettings agency, call into 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Just who are City Rental Services?

When we have new landlords in Bristol visiting City Rental Services for the first time at our 58 Gloucester Road offices, many of them ask who we are as a leading independent lettings agency in the city, and our background.

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City Rental Services was formed nearly 20 years ago by the indomitable duo of Sue Powell and David Freeman, to provide a letting-only service to Bristol landlords.

Back then, Gloucester Road and BS7 in general were a far cry from the bustling and successful location we now see – in fact, it’s one of the fastest growing and most sought-after areas not only of Bristol, but of the whole UK.

Gloucester Road, with two miles of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, attracts families, young professionals, students and retirees.

Every Saturday is a great time to experience the BS7 buzz, with an eclectic mix of independent boutique retailers, and being in the midst of this unique atmosphere has always been enjoyable.

City Rental Services operates from the City Property Lets offices – where full property management is available – and the CRS team provides a highly knowledgeable service to the many letting-only landlords in Bristol who like our speedy and effective service across various BS postcodes.

Our Bristol rented property landlords love to call in for a chat, talk about the rented property market in Bristol, how to find suitable tenants, how to present their rented properties, what contractors would assist with property refurbishment and maintenance works, and to negotiate through the highly legislative world of residential property investment across the city.

Whatever you need to know about in rental property management, call in to 58 Gloucester Road to see us.

Is your Bristol rented property up to date with gas safety checks?

At City Rental Services one of the biggest elements of our letting agency expertise comes in delivering the right advice at the right time to our professional tenants and student tenants looking for rented accommodation in Bristol.

This advice also includes making sure that our landlords are keeping on top of legal requirements – such as gas safety checks in rented properties.

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It’s a landlord’s responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances are safe and that yearly checks are carried out.

When moving into your new rented home in Bristol, one of the first things most tenants do is to read gas and electric meters, to gain accurate readings to pass onto utility providers. Many tenants take photos of their meter readings, to ensure an accurate record is kept for all future bills.

It’s also important to establish who the current providers are – we have a free handy reference guide at our Gloucester Road-based offices, listing helpline numbers for British Gas, EDF Energy, Bristol Wessex Water and Bristol City Council services.

When choosing gas and electric providers for your rented property, it’s also worth setting up new accounts with one tenant as the main account holder for each utility, to avoid one individual being responsible for all utilities provided.

You can get a quick and simple set of hints for gas safety from the Gas Safety Register website here.

By law, gas engineers must be on the Gas Safe Register, so make sure you ask to see their ID card and be safe with gas checks in your rented home.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Bristol private rented sector faces immigrant onus from Queen’s Speech

At City Rental Services we watched with interest the measure introduced around immigrants in this year’s Queen’s Speech, and the impact on the private rental sector in the city.

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According to proposed plans, residential landlords are to be forced to vet a tenant’s right to live in the UK before agreeing a Tenancy Agreement.

The new measures were heavily criticized by the National Landlords’ Association’s (NLA) Chief Executive Officer Richard Lambert, who said of local authorities:

“They must undertake robust, intelligence led, targeted enforcement, otherwise illegal immigrants who are refused housing by reputable landlords will face homelessness or be pushed straight back into arms of the criminals who deliberately exploit vulnerable people.”

It’s disappointing to see more legislation facing the private rented sector, and the burden is being placed on letting agents and landlords in Bristol to help in the battle against illegal immigrants.

Landlords and reputable letting agencies already use due diligence and carry out stringent checks when accepting new professional and student tenants, so there should be very little amendment to the measures already in place at City Rental Services.

The additional potential paperwork will prove unpopular with landlords in Bristol, but we’re on hand to help and advise, of course.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Bristol landlords – are your rental properties electrically safe?

At City Rental Services part of our remit as a leading central Bristol lettings agency is twofold – to maximize the rental return for our landlords, whilst also ensuring the best possible rental properties in Bristol for our professional and student tenants.

Part of this includes ensuring the safety of rental properties in our portfolio, particularly around utility services such as gas and electricity. This means keeping up with relevant legislation on behalf of our landlords and tenants.

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When it comes to safety and regulatory responsibilities concerning electricity, we look at NICEIC, which acts as the electrical contracting industry’s independent voluntary body for electrical installation throughout the UK.

As a landlord, it’s your responsibility, for example, under law to make sure that the electrics in your rental properties in Bristol are safe. We use PAC Engineering, who provide us with electrical and gas engineers in Bristol – you can find out more about them here.

NICEIC has the highest number of Part P-approved contractors on its register, whilst NICEIC Registered Contractors are assessed annually, to ensure that they comply with national safety standards and codes of practice.

If you’d like further information, visit www.niceic.com or call 0843 290 3476.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Are you attending this year’s Landlord Expo in Bristol?

Keeping up with industry legislation, networking with landlords and finding fantastic suppliers of trade services for our rented property portfolio in Bristol can be a time-consuming task for us here at City Rental Services.

Especially with the day-to-day requirements of our professional tenants, student tenants and landlords across the city.

Which is why the annual Landlord Expo event, held in Bristol, is such a useful day – and this year’s Expo looks like another interesting day out.

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Running from midday until 7pm on Thursday 18th April at the Exhibition & Conference Centre of UWE, this year’s event theme will be 100 Years of Private Renting, and the seminar programme alone looks fantastic.

To find out more about this year’s Landlord Expo, visit here.

It’s one of the main industry events for landlords in Bristol, and both Michaela and Sue are looking forward to attending on the day.

A great way to keep up to speed with current and upcoming legislation, as well as meeting Bristol landlords and rental organizations in the city. We hope to see you there, too!

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Do you have unwelcome guests in your Bristol rented property?

One of the most difficult problems we sometimes encounter at City Rental Services, is that of pest infestations in rented properties in Bristol – rats, mice, fleas, ants and bedbugs and other unwelcome guests can make a tenant’s life a nightmare.

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If your rented property falls foul of vermin and other unwanted visitors, what should you do about it?

Another big question is what are a tenant’s responsibilities to ensure infestations in rented accommodation are minimized? And, equally importantly, what is a landlord responsible for to reduce the risk of pest infestation?

As a general rule of thumb, domestic waste is a tenant’s responsibility, whilst larger commercial waste is within a landlord’s remit: so, general rubbish and food waste must be managed and disposed of by tenants, whilst landlords should be taking care of larger items such as mattresses, sofas and rubble.

It’s vital to remember that, as a tenant or landlord, doing nothing is not acceptableBristol City Council’s Environmental Health Department take a dim view of inaction around pest control issues in rented properties.

Many pest infestations can be linked back to a lack of due care and attention to securing food storage, disposing of food waste, and a general lack of hygiene. Open food bins and non-rodent-proof compost bins are all culprits.

If the pest infestation is small, tenant and landlord should agree to resolve the issue between themselves, often by purchasing professional treatment, or hiring in an accredited pest controller – we use this Bristol firm.

It’s also possible to now add ‘pest cover’ to some buildings insurance policies.

Here are the main types of pests encountered in rented properties in Bristol:

  • Rats

A common brown rat infestation can grow into a full colony quickly, given that females can produce litters of up to eight offspring every four weeks. Buildings should be gnaw-proofed to prevent rat entry, as well as blocking any holes in walls or doors. Look out for gnawing and damaged materials, footprints and droppings. Poison and traps are effective if treated early.

  • Mice

Mice prefer domestic environments, often nesting under floorboards, in lofts and behind skirting spaces. Their chewing causes considerable damage to rented properties, including cutting through electrical wires. All food should be kept contained securely. Rodenticides can take several weeks to work, so landlords and tenants should consider mouse bait containers as well.

  • Ants

If entering a property in search of food, ants can cause considerable damage. To eliminate an ants’ nest, crawling ant powder should be applied around it, as well as placing insecticide between paving slabs, low-level bricks and at the base of external bricks outside a rented property.

  • Fleas

One flea can lay up to 25 eggs daily, laying dormant until temperatures allow them to hatch. In a cold environment, flea eggs can lie dormant for up to nine months. Treating pets regularly is the first step to minimizing flea infestations. Vacuuming carpets, beds, floor cracks and where pets sleep is critical – as well as then placing insecticides to kill the adult fleas.

  • Bedbugs

As with fleas, bedbugs can remain dormant and then become active when new tenants move into a property. They prefer to nest in bedding and mattresses, but can be found in small furniture cracks and textiles. Treatment is usually a combination of pesticides and steam cleaning mattresses, whilst infested beds may need to be discarded completely.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.

Considerations for Bristol landlords when refurbishing rented properties

At City Rental Services, we spend a lot of time advising landlords in Bristol on how to maximize the rental values of their rented properties for professional and student tenants.

One of the best ways to maximize rental values is with effective internal decoration, contemporary fixtures and fittings, and attention to detail – a good tenant will notice the small differences between rented properties when viewing. This might include the state of the flooring or carpeting in a property.

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This week, we’re handing the CRS blog over to London-based experts in wood flooring, www.woodandbeyond.com, to provide some hints and tips:

On occasion landlords struggle with the question as to which flooring solution is most suitable for a their property. A well-fitted flooring solution can improve the interior of almost any property and make it more appealing to a bigger group of tenants. As a landlord looking to let your property, choosing a flooring solution should be based on a compromise between practicalities such as durability in the property over time and visually pleasing so your tenants are content as they enter the property each day.

Nowadays your new flooring solution can be made of various materials. Options vary from vinyl to carpet to laminate and wood. Each has its own pros and cons and you will do well to evaluate each of these options based on your type of property and more often, based on your budget.

A popular choice in residential properties is wood flooring. Equally, wood is also the toughest to choose correctly due to its variations. Hence, it is the subject of this blog post.

Types of Wood Flooring

To the naked eye all wood flooring must look alike, but nothing can be further from the truth. There are two options that fall under the definition of ‘real wood flooring’ and fitting an incorrect option in your property is a sure way to drastically shorten its service life, thereby incurring more costs. The two are solid wood and engineered wood.

Solid Wood – Each board is made from a core of solid hardwood such as common oak or exotic hardwood such as African Walnut. To meet the definition of ‘solid’, the board must be made from 100% wood. If it contains additional materials, it falls under the next category of engineered wood.

Engineered Wood – Each board is made from a top layer (called ‘wear’ or ‘lamella’ layer) of solid wood. Below this 3mm to 6mm layer you will come across several layers of synthetic materials such as Plywood, Softwood and MDF. Only the solid wear layer is visible when the boards are fitted.

Suitability In Your Property

Solid hardwood is by far the stronger of the two options and makes for a sensible choice when service life is concerned (it can exceed 100 years). Engineered hardwood is slightly more affordable and makes a sensible choice when renovating on a tight budget. It is easier to decide on the type based on the area where the floor is to be fitted.

Properties With Under Floor Heating – Under floor heating create high levels of heat that can damage natural wood due to expansion (a common feature of natural woods) and therefore makes solid hardwood an incorrect choice. Engineered wood flooring on the other hand, are suitable.

Rooms That Contain Humid and Wet Conditions – Wood and humid conditions do not go hand in hand. These conditions are likely to occur in the bathroom and kitchen area. Therefore, one option is to completely avoid fitting wood in these areas or to fit engineered wood flooring with a heavy waterproof coating.

All Other Areas – Solid aka real wood floor is the best long-term choice if heat and humid conditions are of no consequence. Besides its durability features, you are able to sand and recoat the boards when needed, thereby greatly extending its service life and looks.

Type of timber

The type of timber that is used as the core of the board varies from common to exotic kinds. Oakwood flooring is the most widely used in the UK followed by walnut flooring. Exotic species can include Teak, Cumaru and others. When comparing options, also look at the origin of the wood to ensure it was ethically sourced. Most UK merchants will source their stocks from managed forests in which timber is legally harvested from forests that are then replenished.

For more information on wood flooring, please feel free to visit www.woodandbeyond.com.

If you’d like to find out more about our central Bristol lettings agency, please feel free to get in touch here.