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Do You Need a Licence to be a Landlord in Bristol?

Sep 30th 2022

Depending on the type of property you have and its location, you may need to secure a landlord's licence. There's no need to worry because the process is pretty straightforward. Keep reading as we explain everything you need to know

So, you’ve bought the perfect property, invested in tenant-friendly renovations and consulted with Letting Agents in Bristol – you’re well on your way to becoming a landlord! The next step is to sort out the paperwork.

Depending on the type of property you have and its location, you may need to secure a landlord’s licence. There’s no need to worry because the process is pretty straightforward. Keep reading as we explain everything you need to know, including:

  • Do you need a licence to be a landlord in Bristol?
  • What are the different types of landlord’s licences in Bristol?
  • How much is a landlord’s licence in Bristol?
  • How do I apply for a landlord’s licence in Bristol?

Do you need a licence to be a landlord in Bristol?

Bristol introduced a landlord licensing scheme in 2017 to prevent rogue landlords from renting out poor quality (and sometimes dangerous) housing. While the cost of applying for a licence initially raised eyebrows, most landlords and tenants have since praised the tighter regulations.

Licences have improved the overall state of the rental market. Reputable landlords are no longer undercut by a questionable minority, and the council has more power to support landlords with anti-social tenants. Thanks to improved safety criteria, families and people in shared accommodation can also rest assured that properties are fit for purpose.

With that said, do you need a licence to be a landlord in Bristol? The answer is yes if you’re a private landlord or managing agent of:

  • A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) where five or more unrelated people live (covered by the mandatory licensing scheme and applicable across the UK)
  • An HMO where three or four unrelated people live in the wards of Central Bristol, Bedminster, Brislington West or Horfield (covered by the additional licensing scheme)
  • Other privately rented properties in the wards of Bedminster and Brislington West, including properties rented out to individuals, couples and families (covered by the selective licensing scheme)

So, what’s an HMO?

Most rental properties are an HMO, or House in Multiple Occupation. This covers accommodation where at least three tenants live (forming more than one household), with shared facilities like bathrooms and kitchens.

The regulations define a household as either a separate individual, cohabiting couple or family. For example, three friends who live together would count as three households. One couple and two individuals who live together would also count as three households.

What are the different types of landlord’s licences in Bristol?

If you want to rent out a property in Bristol, you need to know about the three types of landlord’s licenses. These are:

  • Mandatory HMO licence
  • Additional HMO licence
  • Selective licence

Mandatory HMO licence

In the UK, you need a mandatory HMO licence if five or more people live in your property, forming two or more households. This also applies to multi-storey houses and flats that share facilities.  Mandatory HMO licences must be renewed every five years, or you risk an unlimited fine.

Additional HMO licence

Bristol council introduced an additional HMO licence in 2019 to include privately rented properties where three or four unrelated people live, forming two or more households.  Landlords who don’t require a mandatory licence might have to apply for an additional HMO licence in the wards of Central Bristol, Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield.

Selective licence

From April 2022, non-HMO properties in the wards of Bedminster and Brislington West are subject to selective licensing. Landlords need a selective licence if they privately rent out houses or flats to an individual, couple or family.  Why these areas specifically? The Housing Act 2004 allows councils to enforce selective licencing in regions known for sub-standard housing. As such, tenants are protected from dangerous living conditions, poor management and unfair contracts.

 

How much is a landlord’s licence in Bristol?

You can learn more about the mandatory licence, additional licence and selective licence fees on the Bristol council website. However, here’s a quick summary.

Mandatory HMO licence fees

As of May 2022, the standard fee for a brand-new mandatory HMO licence is £1420. This is paid in two instalments: £468 for payment one and £952 for payment two.

While this might seem expensive, you only have to renew your licence every five years. The renewal fee is slightly cheaper at £1100, also paid in two instalments: £363 for payment one and £737 for payment two.

If you have more than five households living in a property, you’ll be charged £50 per extra household.

Additional HMO licence fees

As of May 2022, the standard fee for a brand-new additional HMO licence in Central Bristol is £1255. This is paid in two instalments: £414 for payment one and £841 for payment two.

Additional licence fees in Bedminster, Brislington West and Horfield are slightly more expensive at £1300, also paid in two instalments: £1000 for payment one and £300 for payment two.

Wherever you’re based, you must renew your licence every five years to avoid penalties.

Selective licence fees

As of May 2022, the standard fee for a brand-new selective licence in Bedminster and Brislington West is £799. This is paid in two instalments: £499 for payment one and £300 for payment two. You must renew your licence every five years.

How do I apply for a landlord’s licence in Bristol?

Not sure whether you need a landlord’s licence? Simply get advice from Letting Agents in Bristol or fill out the application form on the council’s website. If you’re checking online, ensure you have key information to hand, including contact, mortgage company and property details.

Are you ready to rent out your property in Bristol?

Renting out your house in Bristol doesn’t have to be complicated. Our knowledgeable team can answer all your questions, including whether you need a landlord’s licence, how much you can rent your house for and how much you can rent your flat for.

All that’s left to do is get in touch today. Call 0117 254 1133, email info@letsrentbristol.co.uk or visit us in person at 80 Mina Road, St Werburghs, Bristol BS2 9XL.

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