A Guide to being a Landlord in Bristol

Image Source: Unsplash

Are you considering becoming a landlord in Bristol? If so, then there are lots of options to consider, whether you’re letting a property long-term to using your property for short-term holiday lets.

Whatever you are considering, here are some of the most important things to know about how to become a successful landlord in Bristol.

Choose a Target Tenant

It all starts by deciding which type of tenant you want to target. Whether you want to let a property to students, young professionals or a family, the type of tenant you target will affect the property you choose, as well as its location in Bristol.

For example, a family might prefer a three-bedroom house in the suburbs, perhaps somewhere like Bishopston or Henleaze in the north of Bristol or Totterdown or Long Ashton south of the river. Young professionals, on the other hand, may be looking for a small apartment in a more central location like trendy Montpellier or Southville.

Make sure you carry out your research before you buy a property so you know exactly which type of property you should buy.

Be Clear About Your Budget

You need to know how much you can afford to spend on your property well before you start considering buying one.

Research mortgages early on and find out what you can realistically afford to borrow. Do your sums to work out how much you can expect to earn in rental income, and then work out your expected returns over the coming years. Don’t go in blind or you could end up spending more than you can afford.

Choose Suitable Home Insurance

When you buy a rental property, you will certainly want to get landlord home insurance in place. This is different from standard home insurance because it is targeted at landlords rather than owner-occupiers and provides extra levels of cover that you need as a landlord.

Do your research and make sure you are aware of the potential problem areas. For example, what happens to your cover if your property remains unoccupied for a month or longer?

Find Out Whether You Need a Licence

You may need a licence to rent your property in Bristol, and it depends on the type of property and its location. For example, you will need a licence to let an HMO, but you may also need one to let in certain areas of the city. You can check whether you will need one on the Bristol City Council website.

You will also need to check your knowledge of the requirements using the Landlord Development Programme. This involves taking an online test, and you will need to answer questions to test your knowledge, which must be completed within six months of receiving your property licence.

Know Your Responsibilities

One of the most important things you can do when you plan to rent a property is get up to speed on your responsibilities as a landlord. There are many things to consider when letting a property.

For example, there are regulations in place regarding fire safety. These include making sure you have smoke detectors fitted on every floor and that any furniture is fire-resistant.

As for gas safety, you will need to hire a Gas Safe registered engineer to carry out annual checkups, and you will then be required to provide certificates to your tenants. You should also hire an electrician to check all electrical equipment in the property and make sure it is safe.

You will also need to provide your tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate to show tenants how energy efficient it is. And you must join a Tenancy Deposit Scheme to protect your tenant’s deposit.

As a landlord, you will have responsibilities regarding Right to Rent laws. This means you need to ask your tenants for documents that prove they can legally rent in the UK, so make sure you know what you need to do when you find a suitable tenant.

Find Suitable Tenants

Once you are aware of all of your responsibilities and you are ready to let your property, you will need to find suitable tenants. This is crucial for the success of your investment, and you will want to ensure your property remains occupied as much as possible because the more time it is empty, the less money you will make.

This means marketing and advertising your property online and in local newspapers to make sure your target tenants are aware of your property. There are tons of property sites like RightMove out there, but you might want to think about using a letting agent with local knowledge who can help you market as well as rent out your property (like us).

Once you find a potential tenant, you will need to screen them. Interview them, ask for references from previous landlords, and carry out credit checks to make sure they are suitable. This is one of the most important steps because you don’t want to end up with nightmare tenants.

You will also need to have a tenancy agreement in place, the most common of which is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. Get your solicitor to write one up for you and make sure it covers all the most important areas.

Get Help from a Letting Agent

Finding a good experienced letting agent will make everything a lot easier, but make sure you choose your agent carefully. A good agent can help you with choosing a property, finding and screening suitable tenants, sorting out documentation and arranging viewings.

When things go wrong, they can resolve problems quickly so you do not have to worry about them, which can give you more peace of mind.

Go the Extra Mile

Finally, always try to do more as a landlord and go the extra mile. It’s not just about doing the basics: it’s about making sure your tenants are happy. After all, the happier they are, the longer they will stay.

Respond quickly to your tenants, fix any problems in days, not weeks, and simply be available so they can call you when they need to. You could even provide them with advice about the area, such as things to see and do, which is especially important with holiday lets.

Become a Landlord in Bristol

These are some of the main considerations if you are thinking about becoming a landlord in Bristol. Make sure you take your time over the process and don’t rush it. Finding a suitable property and the right tenants takes time and the rewards will be greater and the management easier if you invest the time in getting it right.

Working with an experienced local letting agent like Hopewell, can make the whole process so much easier and take a lot of the pressure off you. With a letting agent in charge, you can get on with your life, knowing that your property and your tennant are being properly looked after.

To find out more about our long term letting and short term letting services, get in touch today.