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Where to start as far as finding rental accommodation in Bristol?

(9 Posts)
bzz7 Mon 06-Feb-17 08:46:44

I have accepted a job in Bristol and will move there in two or three months. I'll be working at the university and would love a small, quiet apartment nearby that isn't too expensive. If there is anyone out there who would be willing to explain the basics as far as finding and dealing with rental accommodation, I'd be very grateful. I have spent most of my adult life living overseas and although I have lived in the UK for a few months a year, it has been in housing arranged by my employer.

I have tried doing simple online searches of flats to rent, but mostly end up with agency websites that seem to charge a fortune on top of rent. Also, most available places seem to disappear almost immediately and many seem to be short-term (I'm looking for something for about three years--is that even possible?). I'm wondering if all this is just a reality of living in Bristol or if there are other resources/methods that locals use?

Also, what is the situation as far as council tax? I know that everyone has to pay it. Does it come out of our pay or do we need to pay the council directly?

Thanks very much for any advice!

specialsubject Mon 06-Feb-17 09:54:59

First stop is the how to rent guide on gov.UK, which explains tenant rights and landlord obligations. Then the shelter website which goes into more detail. Do not rent from any landlord (with or without agency) that does not make it clear about meeting their obligations.

You will not get an initial rental term of three years - no sane landlord would give that due to the difficulty of evicting such a tenant in case of breach or non payment. You get an initial six months ( the effective minimum). Or maybe a year with a break at six. Once you are settled then a longer term can be negotiated, landlord mortgage and insurance permitting. For a long term, make sure the place is a buy to let, not the landlords home to which they may want to return.

Agent fees are too high for the work needed but there is referencing, right to rent and so on to do. You can rent direct from landlords but read up on the scams first. Not all direct landlords are scammers and not all agents are honest (unregulated industry and no government has noticed )

Finally, don't rent a dump expecting it to improve! Check a place over as if you were buying it. Look at the epc.

I don't know bristol but if rentals are snapped up quickly that is supply and demand. The UK population has rocketed without enough extra housing.

Council tax - you pay the council separately. Also budget for electricity, gas, water and contents insurance.

Hope this helps.

bzz7 Mon 06-Feb-17 10:05:04

Thanks a lot, specialsubject. That's very helpful. If anyone from Bristol who happens across this thread can suggest some reputable agencies or private landlords, that would be great. Thanks.

SandyGEE12 Mon 06-Feb-17 10:06:01

I rented rooms for years doing easy roommate.com, but when it came to renting a flat I used a high street estate agent. Slightly more expensive but almost got scammed trying to rent a house privately I Plymouth. Which uni are you working at? I can suggest some nice areas. How will you be getting home to work, bike or car?

bzz7 Mon 06-Feb-17 10:24:15

Thanks, Sandy. It didn't occur to me that scams might be an issue with private landlords. Yes, although I don't want to pay agency fees, I'd prefer to do that if there's a lower chance of dealing with scams.

I'll be working at the University of Bristol. I don't want to get a car, so will either bike or walk. It's going to be busy, so I'd like to be as close as possible.

Thank you very much. It all seems pretty confusing compared to other places I've lived! I don't want to blunder into a bad situation.

SandyGEE12 Mon 06-Feb-17 10:55:19

I would say Bishopston, or St Andrews is a nice family area. You can get local train or bike to the uni. Clifton is lovely, but expensive and has quite a lot of students. I used to live in St George/Whitehall area. This is a less affluent area but much cheaper. I enjoyed living here, and know quite a few family's who do. The area close to the park is nice. It's near the Bristol to Bath cycle path if you like to cycle for fun and you can get local train to Clifton. I would really recommend if you can, spend some time wandering around St George (nr the park)/Gloucester Rd (Bishopston area). Bedminster is also nice but I don't think the transport links are as good, you could probably find somewhere within cycling distance.

SandyGEE12 Mon 06-Feb-17 10:57:40

I've just seen you want to be close, so probably Whitehall/St George area too far out for you. It's only 10mins on train but a long way if you need to cycle.

catslife Mon 06-Feb-17 11:49:36

The areas close to Bristol university are unfortunately the most expensive in Bristol OP. What level of rent would you consider to be reasonable?
I hope this link isn't out of date but I think the university does help new members of staff with finding accommodation www.bristol.ac.uk/accommodation/staff.

bzz7 Mon 06-Feb-17 12:38:05

Thanks very much Sandy and Catslife. Yes, I guessed that would be the case! I would like to stay under 700 pounds per month, if possible.

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