Preparing your Bristol property to rent
Whether you’ve inherited a property, moved in with your partner, or purchased an investment property, becoming a landlord can feel daunting. There are a lot of things to consider, and a letting agency like ours can help you navigate some of these. But in the meantime, we’ve pulled together information on some of the things you’ll need to think about before it becomes a Bristol rental.
Firstly, are you allowed to rent the property to a tenant?
Do you own the property, or have you got a mortgage on it? If it’s a standard homebuyer’s mortgage, then you’ll need to get permission from your provider to rent it out. It’s likely that you’ll need to switch to a buy-to-let mortgage.
If the property is a leasehold, then you’ll also need to get permission from the freeholder. You should be able to get this from the building’s management company.
Whilst this might not be the most exciting section, there are a number of legal requirements to meet. To begin with, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a safe & healthy environment for their tenants. Not an exhaustive list but here are some things you’ll need to make sure you have in place:-
- Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) undertaken and re-inspected a minimum of every 5 years.
- Included electrical appliances and smaller plugin items regularly checked.
- You must have a Gas Safety survey undertaken annually by a Gas Safety engineer (assuming you’re connected to gas mains.)
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors must be installed in the property. The alarms must be checked on day 1 of each new tenancy and replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
- There are new Fire Safety regulations that affect certain property types – Fire Safety Regulations 2022.
- All properties require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to market it. Also note that the properties can’t usually be rented out if they fall within bands F and G.
- Furniture and furnishings will need to comply with Fire Safety regulations.
- Licensing – If you turn your property into a ‘house of multiple occupancy’ (HMO), there will be other licensing considerations. This is something we’ll help steer Bristol landlords on, but you can find information on the properties local council website; Bristol City Council or South Gloucestershire Council.
- Providing your tenants with a safe and healthy living environment is your responsibility. Making sure it’s hazard, damp and mould free, with basic amenities like clean water falls under Health and safety regulation; Gov.uk has more information.
Preparing the property physically
Is the property in a good condition?
Repairs or improvements that will affect the standard of living e.g. ventilation to reduce risk of damp/mould, are easier to do in an empty property. Are all the facilities, appliances, electrics, plumbing etc. working? – if there is a knack to flushing the toilet, it’s probably time to get it fixed!
Is the property presentable?
Clean and well-presented properties will be easier to let than one that feels neglected. In general make sure the property is of a good standard; fixtures and fittings in a good state, no dirt, mould or damp signs throughout the property is important. Making it more marketable, and the tenant is obliged to hand back the property in the same condition. Please note wear and tear will be expected.
Is it showing off the potential?
Every tenant will have their own taste. A well-decorated property with neutral colours is likely to have wider appeal than decorating to your own tastes. Clean, neutral, modern spec homes will usually rent as long as the valuation is right. We can help you with that!
Some other landlord considerations
- Landlord Insurance – If you have a mortgage the provider will probably require you to have building insurance in place. Even if they don’t it’s a sensible step to protect your investment. There is also contents insurance, home emergency cover and legal expenses to consider.
- Protecting deposits – we aren’t going into the tenant side in this article. However, it’s worth pointing out that you are legally obliged to protect a tenant’s deposit within a government-approved scheme.
- Your legal obligations as a landlord are ever-changing, it’s important to stay on top of these.
- HMRC – Yes a rental property is income so you’ll need to declare this via self-assessment.
There are a lot of things to consider when becoming a landlord, but it can be really rewarding. Plus there are people like ourselves that can make it easier for you.