Bristol Landlords Guide
All your questions about letting in Bristol – answered. Don’t forget to check out our guide to being a good landlord.
1. Do I need insurance for my rental property?
It is very important that you are adequately insured for your buy to let property investment. You should always get building insurance and also public liability insurance. The public liability insurances means that if anything happens to the tenant, i.e. they slip down the stairs; you are covered should the tenant wish to claim.
2. Do I need to get smoke alarms in my rental property?
Yes, from October 2015 it is a legal requirement to ensure that you have smoke alarms fitted on every floor in the property.
HMO (housing in multiple occupation) properties are subject to interlinked smoke alarms and the rules vary per property. We would advise to follow the guidelines of Bristol City Council.
3. What paperwork do I need to have for my rental property?
Once you have acquired your buy to let property, it is always good practice to keep copies of your insurance documents.
If you have moved in a tenant, it is essential that you draw up the appropriate tenancy agreement, save copies of all safety certificates, and we always recommend that you pass on the how to rent guide issued by the government (download here).
4. What safety requirements do I need to follow?
You need ensure that the gas is safe in the property by having a gas safety certificate: you should keep this safe for your records.
As a professional letting agent, we would always recommend you get an electrical wiring safety certificate.
5. How much rent do you think I can achieve?
It depends on a lot of factors. It is always a good idea to arrange a valuation from a local letting agency; they will be able to give you a good indication of an achievable rent for your property in function of the property’s location, its condition and the current rental market.
Setting the right rental price will have a big impact on your rental success, so seek a professional opinion.
6. How can I maximise my rental potential?
We have found that over the last 10 years landlords have moved on from painting the walls in boring magnolia and are maximising their properties’ potential with unique features.
Landlords are now putting in feature walls, good quality carpets, good fixtures & fittings; all of which are setting their property at a higher level for rental achievement.
All this effort also means that their property sticks out from the crowd and is more likely to attract quality tenants.
7. What is an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)?
An EPC is will provide information on how energy efficient your property is. Factors such as double glazed windows, loft installation and energy efficiency bulbs will ensure that your property has a low impact on the environment, keeping energy and gas costs down.
8. Do I need to legally protect my tenants’ deposit?
From 2007 onwards it is now a legal requirement that any tenancy created must have a legally protected deposit. You can register your tenants’ deposit in either a custodial or an insurance based deposit protection scheme. Failure to do so will result in you being fined up to 3 times the original value of the deposit.
9. Should I have my rental property managed by a letting agent?
There are many advantages to using a qualified lettings agent. A lettings agent (or agency) will be able to correctly value your property, help you market it, provide paperwork and legal support, deal with tenants, and also guarantee you a rental income (depending on the management plan you go for).
As professional letting agents, we are finding that we’re increasingly supporting landlords with legislative change compliance. New legislation is coming in on a monthly basis and it is almost impossible to keep on top of all these changes. Some landlord breaches attract hefty fines. As letting agents, it is our responsibility to keep abreast of any changes and put systems and procedures in place for our landlords.
Being a landlord can be very stressful and hiring an agent to deal with tenants and problems on your behalf can be a massive time-saver.
10. Where will my property be marketed?
Your property will be marketed on more than 16 national online property portals covering the whole of the UK area. This includes major portals such as Right Move, Prime Location, Zoopla etc.
As well as the property portals, your property will be marketed on our website & via our high street window fronts. We also use social media to drive property views and raise awareness.
At any given time, we have access to around 300 potential applicants, who we will be able to contact on your behalf if we feel that they are a good fit for you.
11. How much notice do I need to give my tenants if I need them to vacate the property?
Legally as a landlord if you are serving tenants with notice, you have to provide them with a statutory period of two months’ notice before possession of property.
12. How do you qualify suitable tenants?
Once we have identified someone who is interested in taking on the property, we will give you a call with a breakdown of their profile. Once we have confirmed this with you, and we are both happy with the tentative profile, the tenancy applicants undergo a stringent reference procedure.
Our tenancy screening process includes employer references, landlord references and credit checks to confirm they don’t have any adverse credit history.
13. Does my property require a discretionary licence from Bristol City Council?
Over the years through our work as professional letting agents, we have seen many areas of Bristol become subject to new licence applications. These additional licences have been put into place to ensure that privately let properties meet Council quality standards.
We would always recommend contacting Bristol City Council if you are looking to invest in the Bristol area. Over the last few years Easton, Eastville, St George and other BS5 areas have become subject to this.
14. Should I let my property Furnished or Unfurnished?
Student property and HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) are best let fully furnished with all the white goods included.
Any other property which is targeted at singles, professionals or families, we would recommend going for unfurnished, with all white goods included.
We find properties that are located Bristol City Centre (BS1 areas) also benefit from being furnished as these properties are more than likely to go to professionals working in the City.