The largest city in the south-west and named the best city in Britain to live in (according to the Sunday Times), Bristol is known for its hot-air balloons, the famous Banksy, and its picturesque suspension bridge. It’s no wonder then that more and more students are flocking to Bristol every year. The city is currently home to over 40,000 full-time students, most of whom study at either the University of Bristol (UoB) or the University of the West of England (UWE).
High student numbers mean there are many student properties across the city. With many appealing student areas, it can be hard to choose the best place to rent a property. So, to make it easier, we’ve compiled a list below of the top 7 places to rent a property when you’re studying in Bristol.
In no particular order, we’re gonna start with…
Beautiful Clifton Village is one of the most sought-after locations for renting in Bristol. Not only does Clifton have stunning Georgian architecture, cute cafes and pubs, and high-end cuisine, it also has incredible views over the Avon Gorge and great bus routes to central Bristol. Its close proximity to UoB’s campus makes it a favourite with the university’s students. However, this also makes student properties in this area more expensive. For most though, paying a higher price is worth it!
Just skip across Whiteladies, and you’re in Redland, an area equally popular with UoB students. Its leafy avenues and impressive houses are only part of its appeal, with it also being conveniently located close to Whiteladies’ great array of shops and eateries.
I myself lived in Redland for two of my uni years, and I absolutely loved it! With my friends only a few roads over and UoB’s campus just a ten minute walk away, I could (sometimes) drag myself to my 9ams, or more often, pop over in my PJs to a pal’s to complain about deadlines.
Redland’s only downsides are that because of its fantastic location, it is hugely popular and can be more expensive. Make sure then that you snap up properties in this area quickly to avoid missing out!
Student property in this part of Bristol can be very expensive, but you are paying for the great location. Close to UoB’s campus, and with Cabot and Bristol’s Harbourside on your doorstep, living here means you are close to anything you could need. A bonus is being able to stroll over for a pint on King Street, or rock up to one of Bristol centre’s many nightclubs. Living here can easily dent your student loan, but you’re guaranteed a great time.
Cotham and Kingsdown
Located right next to the UoB campus, living here means you can roll out of bed into your lecture. With both modern flats and big old houses, this area has something for everyone. Only a ten-minute walk to Gloucester Road, the Triangle or the city centre, everything is incredibly accessible if you live in this area.
Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft
This area is extremely popular for students from both UoB and UWE. It’s a hugely vibrant part of Bristol, home to Banksy and the largest number of independent traders on one road in the UK! Its not as close to any of the campuses as some other areas, but this makes accommodation much more affordable.
Though not so close to Bristol’s most famous sites, Fishponds does have the benefit of its proximity to UWE’s Glenside and Frenchay campuses. The area has is own great range of amenities, and has excellent bus links to the centre. It’s also a lot more affordable than more centrally located student accommodation.
Bedminster and Southville
These areas are right near to UWE’s Bower Ashton campus, making it an easy commute for students. With great attractions like the Tobacco Factory Theatre, and a great range of restaurants and shops, these areas are also attractive to students searching for more affordable rent.
For more info on Bristol’s rental market, click here.
For some tenants, having a garden is one of the top requirements for their next tenancy. However, while having a garden can be useful and enjoyable, there are also downsides to owning a garden that many tenants will overlook.
1. Increases your space
In smaller, cramped properties, a garden can be a life-saver. It makes it easier to have friends over, as in good weather you can use the garden as an extra room. Especially in the summer, having a garden can make you feel like you have a much bigger rental property than you do. (For more tips on how to maximise small spaces, click here.)
2. Great for pets
If your landlord allows pets on the property, then having a garden is ideal. It saves you time and hassle to be able to let your dog out during the day, and would save you the worry of having to let your cat out onto a busy road.
1. Can effect your deposit
It’s crucial at the beginning of your tenancy to detail on the inventory exactly what state the garden is in when you move in. To get your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy, you’ll have to ensure the garden is well-kept. It’s likely a landlord will deduct from your deposit costs for gardening at the end of your tenancy if you haven’t managed to look after the space. This means that there is a risk you may lose money if you can’t commit to a bit of extra work.
As Homelet fund in their survey:
Of those landlords who’d ever withheld a tenant’s deposit at the end of a tenancy, 49% said it was due to the state of the garden.
The required upkeep of a garden take more time and effort than you would imagine. During the winter, the work is likely to be more minimal, but in the summer most will require at the very least for the grass to be cut, bushes cut back, and the plants weeded.
3. Issues over shared access
Before renting, you should check whether or not you are the sole tenants with access to the property’s garden. Outdoor spaces that have shared access can cause problems over who is responsible for maintenance, and also issues over noise and usage. This could lead to disputes that could effect your entire renting experience.
4. More expensive
If you’re completely set on finding a property that has a garden, it can limit your housing options and also add to the price. In major cities, outdoor space is often in short supply and high demand. This means you should be prepared to pay more and sacrifice other property preferences.
Amongst the many responsibilities of landlords is the necessity to protect your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme.
The importance of TDP schemes
The deposit must be placed in a scheme within 30 days of the landlord receiving it. These schemes ensure tenant can get their deposits back. However, this will only happen if they meet the terms of the tenancy agreement, pay the rent and bills, and don’t damage the property.
If a landlord fails to register a deposit with a scheme:
a court can order the landlord to pay compensation to the tenants of between 1 and 3 times the deposit amount.
any Section 21 notice (notice for eviction) becomes invalid.
Why landlords should always register a deposit
Failing to register a deposit in a scheme can result in hassle and cost for a landlord.
In one case, the tenants – let’s call them Sam and Kate – hadn’t paid their rent in more than three months. Their landlord – we’re gonna call him John- had tried everything, but the tenants refused to respond to emails or answer the door. John also found that he was unable to even try and evict them. Because he hadn’t registered their deposits under a deposit protection scheme, any Section 21 notice for eviction issued would be invalid.
John therefore needed to refund the full deposit to the tenants. However, Sam and Kate refused to provide their bank details. In the end, after enlisting Rentalist’s help, John was able to resolve the situation. He used postal order sent by registered post to repay their deposits, which then allowed him to go through with a Section 21 notice.
However, Sam and Kate left as soon as they received the deposits, still owing three months of rent.
In the end then, John lost money as he was unable to evict the tenants sooner due to his failure to register them with a scheme.
Meeting the statutory requirements for landlords is very important! Failing to do so can have very costly consequences.
We understand though that meeting these requirements can be confusing and time-consuming. But companies like Rentalistand its sister company Co&Co are here to help, and can guide landlords through this process.
An EPC rating is a review of the energy efficiency of a property. It provides information about the energy use and typical energy costs of a property, allowing prospective tenants to quickly see how much energy bills will cost. Its also a useful way for landlords to improve efficiency and energy costs.
An EPC is based on:
The energy is a property uses
The level of a property’s CO2 emissions
How to get an EPC rating
Accredited assessors will have to carry out a survey of your property, and produce a certificate. This certificate will then be valid for 10 years.
The EPC scale
One an assessment has been carried out, your property will be placed on a colour-coded scale ranging from A to G.
A is the most efficient, with the cheapest energy bills.
G is the least efficient.
EPC ratings and the law
You must obtain a rating for potential tenants before you look to rent out your property. Failing to do so can lead to significant fines.
A new law that came in from April 2018 made it illegal to rent out a private-sector property with an energy rating lower than E. Landlords renting out properties with a lower rating than this could have to pay a £4000 fine.
How to improve your EPC rating
There are several steps you can take to improving your property’s rating. Doing these will bring your property’s energy costs down and make it more comfortable to live in, so making it more marketable.
Swapping in single-glazing for double-glazing.
Getting loft and wall insulation.
Upgrading an old boiler.
Installing more efficient lighting.
Draught-proofing your property.
Sealing open chimneys.
Insulating your hot water cylinder.
Installing renewable energy sources like solar energy.
For more ways to make your property more marketable, click here.
Christmas might have been unseasonably warm, but you shouldn’t get complacent. Last year, the UK had snow across the country as late as April, and right now its entering a new cold snap that might last for months.
While common-sense tells you to wrap yourself in hats, coats and scarves to stave off the cold, the solution to protecting your rental property during the winter might not seem so simple.
Extreme weather makes buildings very vulnerable during the winter months, which is why below we’ve given you 7 easy ways to protect your property from the winter. Following these tips could save you a season full of hassle and expensive repairs.
1. Check your pipes
Outdoor pipes are most vulnerable, while pipes in unheated areas and in vacant houses are also at risk in the cold. Water freezing in pipes can cause them to expand and burst, causing costly property damage.
Stay ahead of the game by checking for cracks in your pipes and insulating them with cheap and easy-to-fit foam insulation.
2. Unblock gutters
Blocked gutters can cause water to build up, which could lead to damp, ceiling leaks or burst pipes. This makes it hugely important to check all gutters on your property are free of debris and dirt.
3. Check the roof
Loose parts of the roof and chimney can come off during stormy weather and cause significant damage. It’s therefore wise to check the roof for any broken and cracked parts.
4. Service your boiler
Efficient boilers reduce the risk of your property having major issues during winter. Repairing a boiler can be a huge and unexpected expense, especially when it has to be done during an emergency call-out.
By running checks before the cold kick in will let you solve any potential issues and stop them becoming major problems. Bleeding radiators throughout a property can also help heating systems work more efficiently.
Search for cracks and gaps across door and window edges, and on exterior walls. These can be fixed quickly and easily using insulation strips or sealant. By insulating better, your property will retain heat more efficiently, and so it will stay in better condition.
6. Inspect vacant properties
Properties left vacant over the winter period are at the most risk of damage. Make sure you conduct routine inspections to ensure the pipes and heating are okay. It might even be a good idea to turn of the water and drain pipes if the property will be vacant for a while.
7. Talk to your tenants
Your tenants will be the first to find any issues, and so its important they know what to do if they come across problems. Make sure they know the simple steps they can take to prevent issues, like not leaving their heating off for long periods of time.
…and you’re set!
Whether your hate the cold with a passion, or you’ve already built your sledge in anticipation of the snow you’re hoping for, damage to your property during wintertime is not what any landlord wants. By following these 7 easy steps, you can quickly and easily protect your property from the cold. This will let you maximise your rental income and minimise your repair costs.
For more ways to keep maintenance costs low, click here.
Renovating your rental property is important to make it safe and homely for your tenants. Renovation can also help you attract new tenants and make your property more competitive within the rental market.
However, whether you are renovating a newly purchased buy-to-let or updating a current rental property, the costs of renovating can be daunting.
Below then are 6 helpful ways for you to renovate your property without breaking the bank.
1. Plan it out
Firstly, its important to make a realistic plan for your renovations before you start. Taking this extra step will allow you to budget properly, and make sure nothing is forgotten. It will also allow you to book labourers and contractors in advance, saving you extra hassle later on.
2. Focus on flooring
Picking the right kind of flooring is important. Floors see a lot of wear and tear, but are also one of the most expensive parts of renovation.
Laminate flooring is a good idea where possible, as its easier to maintain than carpet and more affordable than other alternatives like hardwood. It can also be quite easy to install yourself, saving you the cost of paying for contractors.
3. Choose colours wisely
Giving the entire house a new coat of paint is a cheap and easy way to make a house look sparkling clean. However, it’s important to pick the right paint!
Lighter colours might look clean and bright, but they age more quickly and will require new coats more frequently. Instead, you should opt for darker colours that are easier to keep clean.
4. Revamp your kitchen units
If the units in your kitchen still function fine but look a bit dated, then there’s no need to replace them. Giving them a lick of paint and changing the handles can be a cheap alternative way to freshen them up.
Upcycling other furniture in the house too can be a cost-effective way to renovate. Buying a new sofa can be expensive. So instead just buy new cushions and covers, and ta-dah- good as new!
5. Mould-proof the house
Although this might seem unnecessarily costly and time-consuming at the time, it saves you a lot of money and hassle in the future. With mould, prevention is a lot easier than finding a cure! Mould is common in properties and costly to remove, with the potential it can pose a health risk. Making sure to mould-proof before the start of a tenancy therefore saves you hugely in the long run.
6. Keep the tenants in mind
Finally, its crucial to always budget your property renovation with your target tenants in mind. If the rent for your property is relatively cheap, its likely prospective tenants won’t expect high end furniture and fantastic decor, and so you should renovate to those standards.
Its also important that you don’t add too many personal touches when decorating. You won’t be living in the property, and so making the decor too personal is unnecessary and might put tenants off. Neutral tones widen the property’s appeal, making it easier to let.
Renovating a rental property often seems like an expensive and daunting task. However, by following the advice above, it’s possible to renovate your property to a high standard, while still on a budget.
For more ways to maximise your rental property’s potential, click here.
The beginning of the letting process can be overwhelming for landlords. There are so many things to be checked off in order to let out your property. This means landlords sometimes overlook parts of the process to rent their property out faster. However, one crucial step that landlords should never fail to do is tenant checks.
What are tenant checks?
Tenant checks can confirm your tenants are who they claim and it will highlight any potential issues. Conducting a credit check will ensure your tenant is able to afford the rent, and will show if tenants have failed in paying previous rent. Checks may also include a County Court Judgement search, ID verification, and bankruptcy and insolvency data. Checks will also contact previous landlords for references to check tenants are trustworthy.
Why you should do them
Spending the extra money and time up front for these checks can ensure you don’t face bills and hassle later on. Failing to do the checks can have costly consequences.
Take this particular case, where a landlord (we’re gonna call her Sue) had been looking to fill her property in a hurry. She’d agreed to rent her property to a group of tenants without carrying out any tenant checks. It wasn’t until several months later that Sue realised her mistake in doing this.
The tenancy had ended and the tenants were due to move out, but they refused to vacate the premises. Sue tried everything, but in the end, was forced to go to a solicitor to take further action. Eventually she obtained a court order for a bailiff to evict them. However, the tenants disappeared before he reached the premises!
They’d run off having failed to pay the final month’s rent and had left the property in awful condition. The windows were broken, the white goods damaged, and rubbish piled across several rooms. Sue ended up losing £15,000 and it cost her another £10,000 to redecorate in order to make the house habitable again.
If Sue had done tenant checks to start with, she could easily have found out that one of the tenants had had two County Court Judgements. This would have been flagged, and Sue could have rejected the tenant or asked for the total rent to be paid up-front.
Tenancy checks might seem like extra cost and hassle, but in the long run they save landlords huge amounts of time and money.. Companies like Rentalistcan help guide landlords through the tenant check process, making it cheap and easy to find great tenants fast!
In September 2018, the rules around HMOs and HMO licensing changed. And because of the risks involved in not having an HMO license – including massive fines- it’s crucial that landlords understand the new regulations!
So, to start…
What is an HMO?
In the past, key to a property being defined as an HMO was that it had to have three or more stories. However, with the new definition of an HMO, this no longer matters. Today, a property is a HMO if:
at least 3 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household AND
tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
However, not all HMOs need licenses. It is properties classified as ‘large HMOs’ that need a Mandatory HMO License. Large HMOs are properties where:
at least 5 tenants live there, forming more than 1 household AND
tenants share toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities.
The HMO license
For all properties that meet this criteria, landlords must apply for an HMO license by the date that the property becomes license-able. The license helps councils crack-down on rogue landlords and the renting of unsafe properties.
However, it’s not always just large HMOs that need licenses. Local authorities also have the power to impose Additional HMO Licensing on other types of HMOs too. Some properties can also even be exempt from needing an HMO license.
This means it is important for landlords to check with the council whether or not they need a license.
If a license is needed, the landlord, or an agent working on their behalf, must apply to the council, and pay the fee they have set for the process. Once granted ,the license is valid for a maximum of 5 years.
Risks of unlicensed HMOs
Failure to apply for a license for a license-able HMO makes landlords liable to a large number of sanctions.
Landlords can be prosecuted and fined up to £20,000.
Landlords may be ordered to repay up to 12 months’ rent.
There are many examples of times when landlords have failed to license their HMOs and have suffered the consequences. In Saxilby, Lincolnshire, a Landlord was fined £16,500 for operating an unlicensed HMO that had no fire doors and a substandard fire alarm. A landlord in the midlands was similarly prosecuted by his local council for having an unlicensed HMO. He hadn’t realised that because of an additional licensing designation by his local council, the property was license-able.
In summary, as a landlord it is very important to understand if your property requires an HMO license. If it does, you must take the steps to apply for a license, as if you don’t, you could face huge fines.
Ultimately though, you’re not alone if you find the whole HMO thing daunting! That’s where companies like Rentalistand it’s sister companyCo&Cocan help. They can help you submit your HMO license application by helping you understand requirements, complete paperwork and solve problems. They can therefore make the whole process much more stress and hassle free!
For more tips that could make your life as a landlord easier, click here.
Being a landlord can be a lucrative profession, and today rental properties are in high demand. However, new landlords often have no idea that though there is money to be made, there are also more costs than you would think involved in letting property.
The lettings process starts with the search for suitable tenants. Though these can be found through free online services like Gumtree or on social networks like Facebook, placing ads and responding to enquiries can be time consuming and complicated.
If you choose to go through an agency to save you this hassle, this will of course also incur extra costs. Even once you have found suitable tenants, you still have to pay for credit and reference checks to ensure they’re a good fit.
Insuring your property
As a landlord, you’ll need specialist insurance to cover your property to be able to let it out. You should consider too covering yourself for loss of rent, and for legal fees should you need to take action against your tenants.
Administrative and Legal Costs
At the beginning of the tenancy, you will have to draw up a Tenancy Agreement. You’ll also have to register with a deposit protection scheme to secure the tenants’ deposits. Its also a legal requirement for landlords to get a Gas Safety Certificate, and obtain an EPC. All these little tasks cost money- and add up.
Landlords are legally obliged to provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers.
While some basic jobs in the property may fall to the tenant, as a landlord it is your responsibility to ensure the building is in good working order all year long. You will need to complete odd jobs as well as cover the costs of any more major works. (For more information on the responsibilities of a landlord, read this post.)
End of tenancy cleaning
During the transition period between tenancies, the landlord must get their property into the best possible condition for the next tenants. You might be able to use some of the old tenant’s deposit to cover costs, but this will depend on the condition of the property.
As a landlord, you are not guaranteed to have your property always rented out. It may be empty at certain times while you are finding new tenants. It is therefore important for landlords to have enough money set aside to cover themselves during this time.
Landlords are taxed on the profits made from letting out their property. The costs of maintaining and managing the property though count as their expenses.
Ultimately then, the cost of being a landlord are much higher than many assume. But for many landlords, the greatest cost is time. Being a landlord puts huge demands on your time, especially at the beginning of a tenancy. This is why companies like Rentalist help make the lettings process so much quicker, simpler and cheaper. By acting on the landlord’s behalf to find tenants, carry out checks, draw up tenancy agreements and hand-over keys, Rentalist saves you time and money, and makes being a landlord that much easier.