Tag Archives: independent letting agency in Bristol

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.

Bristol landlords – are you ready for Property Ombudsman rules?

This week at City Rental Services we’ve been considering the effect of new Property Ombudsman Regulations and their new Code of Practice for Residential Letting Agents, which came into effect on 01 October.

Advice for Bristol landlords from letting agency City Rental Services

There is a huge amount of information and direction to be found in the new Codes and Guidelines – which can be read here and this should be read by all letting agents and buy-to-let landlords in Bristol.

They will benefit from appreciating how tenants should be treated.

The sister organisation to City Rental Services, City Property Lets, has been focusing on the regulation relating to access to tenanted properties in various BS postcodes across the city.

We’re asked to ensure that all tenants grant permission before we go into a property on behalf of a landlord.

Property landlords must also be aware of the need for permission and so it would be advisable to obtain this in writing by email to let your tenants know of an imminent visit.

This way, it should make relations between you and your tenants more transparent and professional, as they know when you may be ‘popping in’ for a maintenance visit or property viewing.

Respecting tenants is vital: after all, it’s a two-way road between landlords and tenants. One party provides the property and the other the payment. So we’ll be revising our systems for keeping tenants fully informed of any visits and updating where needed.

We hope you’ve found this useful – but don’t forget to also check out the Property Ombudsman’s new guidelines here.

If you’re looking for advice on letting 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.

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.

How will Stamp Duty Tax changes affect property landlords in Bristol?

We’ve had many conversation recently here with our buy-to-let landlords in Bristol at the Gloucester Road-based offices of City Rental Services  – and the majority of them seem to be centred upon the recent changes introduced by the Government on Stamp Duty Tax.

Advice on Stamp Duty tax for Bristol property landlords from letting agency City Rental Services

Most of our property landlords in Bristol have been asking the same question – namely, how will the Stamp Duty Tax changes affect us?

The 3% surcharge tax increase on all buy-to-let properties form April 2016 will undoubtedly have an impact on the property market in Bristol – but the main issue, as always, is mainly to do with who will pay for the taxation rise.

We would suggest that although there will be rent increases – after all, it’s likely that rented property tenants will subsidise the payment of the extra 3% – it doesn’t mean the death of the buy-to-let sector in Bristol. Far from it.

There could be a slow shift over time from Generation Rent to Generation Buy, with the Government also pledging to build 400,000 new homes nationwide with plans in place to offer financial incentives to first-time-buyers.

This is in response to criticism in recent years that buy-to-let landlords have been squeezing property buyers out of the market in Bristol and the wider UK.

Time will tell if there’s a shift from the Private Rented Sector to home ownership in Bristol – the Stamp Duty Tax changes might prevent some property landlords from increasing their portfolios in 2016 and beyond, but is it enough to spark a revival in home purchasing in the city? We’re not sure.

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

How will the removal of wear and tear allowance affect Bristol property landlords?

We came across an interesting and concerning article here at City Rental Services last week, with the news that the removal of the wear and tear allowance is having a detrimental effect on Bristol property landlords, and the nationwide buy-to-let sector as a whole.

advice on wear and tear allowances for bristol landlords from City Rental Services

According to research published by the NLA, and highlighted in this article more than half of all buy-to-let landlords will be affected by the removal of the wear and tear allowance.

Bearing in mind that 24% of all property landlords in the UK let their properties fully furnished, the new system coming into effect in April 2016 will cover the replacement costs of furniture and certain specific items.

Although the NLA has ‘broadly supported’ the new system, there are still concerns with some of our Bristol property landlords that scrapping the current allowance for a tax relief system will cost landlords more money overall in replacing and maintaining the furnishings and fittings of rented properties in Bristol.

We will, of course, be monitoring the changes closely for our landlords.

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

How will the Election affect the Private Rented Sector in Bristol?

Here at City Rental Services, we’re keeping a close eye on the upcoming General Election.

impact of the Election on Bristol's private rental sector inputs from City Rental Services on Gloucester Road

Whatever the outcome of the Election, there’s no doubt that the Private Rental Sector (PRS) is one of the hot topics of the day.

Whether it’s the ongoing and often heated debate around rental levels recently particularly in the Bristol area, or the urgent need for new housing stock and the Conservative suggestions for selling off Housing Association stock, or the Labour Party’s threats to ban letting agency fees, it is abundantly clear that PRS is uppermost in the minds of professional tenants and student tenants looking for fairly-priced accommodation in various BS postcodes across Bristol.

There’s a useful article here from industry website Landlord Zone, discussing the state of the British rented housing market.

We’ll be looking at the results of the Election, and ensuring that our tenants and landlords in Bristol alike get the best possible deal and services from our independent letting agency in the heart of Bristol.

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