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What you should know before renting property

Renting out your property can be a great idea if you own a home but don’t need – or want – to live in it yourself.

You can make sure that wherever you are, someone is living in your house, keeping it warm, occupied and hopefully maintained. Landlords can be accidental – such as those who bought a place intended for them to live, but then needed to move or buy-to-let, where the house is bought with letting in mind.

In either case, tenants can be short-term or long-term, and owners can exercise control over whom to rent to – from students to families to young professionals. In cities such as Bristol, which has a university alongside a wide and booming range of businesses, there can be a huge variety of people who will be only too glad to rent your place.

However, with the freedom of renting comes responsibilities.

The biggest is keeping the property safe. This means making sure all gas, electricity, and fire safety units are complying with all regulations. You’ll also have to get a health and safety check from the council and take action on any enforcement notices. Failure to do this may mean you’ll be breaking the law and putting tenants at risk.

Similarly, electrical equipment will need to have an energy performance certificate, and tenants’ deposits should be protected in a government-approved scheme so that your renters know they will get their money back when they move out (if they have kept to their side of the deal, of course).

Any repairs or updates you want to make must be done with at least 24 hours’ notice (except in emergencies), and they are all your responsibility, including the house structure, all bathroom equipment, heating, and hot water. All repairs need to be done properly, because if not, tenants have the right to take you to court or even do extra repairs themselves and claim the lost rent back.

Speaking of rent, you may have to get permission from your mortgage lender to rent your place, and you’ll also have to pay income tax on your rental income. In addition, there are rules about how often and by how much you can increase rent.

But you don’t necessarily have to sort all of this out on your own. Property management service companies such as Hamilton King can help. They might help keep accounts up to date, source competitive quotes for any necessary repairs, and inform lessees in good time about any impending work.

These companies can also help manage charges such as electricity in communal areas, insurance, cleaning, and making sure the property complies with important regulations, making renting much less stressful.

Overall, renting can be a popular way to give property owners the freedom to keep their houses or flats intact despite their absence, and can even work as a genuine means of generating income. Landlords should rest assured that if they educate themselves about regulations and comply with them – perhaps with the help of a dedicated management company – renting property out can be profitable, useful, and stress-free.


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