Area Guides

Housing Alternatives to Renting in Bristol

Posted March 15, 2024
Housing Alternatives to Renting in Bristol

Bristol is a great city that mixes modern life with history and green spaces. In recent years, more people want to live here, making finding a place to rent highly competitive.

This guide will help you better understand the rental market. We will cover costs, how prices are changing, where to look, and what types of places you can find.

Renting might be tough because of high demand and prices, but there are other ways that offer affordable living or steps towards finding a home whether through shared ownership, co-living spaces or even living on water – there’s something out there fitting various budgets preferences.

How much is it to rent in Bristol?

Renting in Bristol can be expensive because it’s such a desirable place to live.

Here’s an idea of what you might pay each month:

  • Studio Apartments: £700 – £950, mostly found in the city centre.
  • 1 Bed Apartments: £800 – £1,200+, with higher prices in areas like Clifton.
  • 2 Bed Apartments: Between £1,000 and £1,500.
  • 2-3 Bedroom Houses: From £1,200 up to £2,000.

Prices will vary depending on the demand and location.

Rents have been rising because of more people wanting to live here, but not enough houses available. The increase in interest rates for landlords has also caused an increase in rents.

Some people are even moving from London to Bristol for a more relaxed lifestyle and affordability compared to London.

Where can you search for accommodation?

To find a home:

  • Start with websites like Rightmove, OpenRent or Zoopla. You can filter by property types, bedrooms and price to refine your results.
  • Check local letting agencies for exclusive listings. Follow their social media accounts to get early notifications of new properties.
  • Check Gumtree listings for private landlords.

Besides online portals and agencies, consider joining local Facebook groups or forums where private landlords might post properties directly.

Sometimes it’s about who you know rather than what you know; networking with locals or attending events related to living in the city could provide leads to accommodation that haven’t been advertised widely yet.

Always be cautious when searching and applying for accommodation to avoid potential scams.

What types of property can you find?

The homes you are likely to find:

  • City Centre Apartments: Modern or converted historic buildings.
  • Suburban Homes: Larger houses perfect for families are found outside the city centre.
  • Shared Houses (HMOs): Common among students and young workers.
  • Student Accommodation (PBSA): Near universities offering rooms or studios for students.

Choosing where to live

Some areas could be more affordable than others. Exploring neighbourhoods slightly further from city centres or popular spots could uncover properties at a lower price.

Your ideal spot depends on your lifestyle:

  • City Centre & Harbourside if you love being where things happen and relaxing in coffee shops.
  • Clifton & Redland offer beautiful parks and homes near the University.
  • Stokes Croft & Montpelier are great for creatives.
  • Southville & Bedminster are family-friendly and potentially more affordable.
  • Totterdown is a lively and creative area, known for its bright houses and tight-knit community.
  • Bishopston & St. Andrews stands out for its unique shops, cafes, and varied community on Gloucester Road.
  • Easton is a diverse area with an active street art scene and lots of good places to eat.
  • Cotham is green suburb near the city centre, it has beautiful Victorian and Georgian buildings.
  • Hotwells is located by the harbourside, it provides living by the water and quick access to parks.

Check our guide on the best places to live in Bristol for more ideas if you are not familiar with the area.

Getting ready to apply

The competition can be fierce, so having your documents (ID, references from previous landlords/employers) ready and being able to move quickly when you find something suitable will help you.

Before you apply, consider checking landlord review websites like Rate Your Landlord or Marks Out of Tenancy to see if the landlord/agency or property has been reviewed by previous tenants.

Other Ways to Live in Bristol

With rents going up and the competition getting tougher. Many people are looking for different ways to live. These options can save money and suit different lifestyles better than traditional renting. From buying a part of a house to living with others in modern spaces, here’s what you need to know about not following the usual renting path.

Short Term Lets

Short-term rentals have become more available over the past few years. They usually come fully furnished and include bills included, but at a higher monthly cost. They are mostly offered a month-by-month basis, so only ideal for the short term.

Local Authority

Bristol City Council provides HomeChoice, where you can register an account for social housing if you meet the eligibility requirements. There is also a long waiting list for the properties currently available.

Shared Ownership

Shared ownership helps those buying a home for the first time or who don’t own one yet. You buy share (usually 25% to 75%) and pay rent on the rest. Later, you can buy more shares until it’s all yours. This is good for areas in Bristol where homes are too expensive for many.

Guinness Homes has a new Shared Ownership development at the Harbourside in the city centre. McArthur’s Yard offers a range of 1 & 2 bedroom new build apartments.

Living Together Spaces

Co-living brings people together in furnished places with private bedrooms but shared areas like kitchens and lounges. They often include bills and cleaning, making life simpler. It suits young workers, digital nomads, and students wanting flexible community living.


Choosing a houseboat offers another lifestyle right on waterways, which might cost less than standard houses or flats. However, it comes with its challenges, like managing water and waste differently, but provides peaceful city living.

Looking Further Out

Searching beyond Bristol into Bath or Weston-Super-Mare could lead to cheaper rents despite longer commutes thanks to good transport links from these charming spots back into the city.

Renting A Room

For singles or budget-watchers, sharing a house by renting just one room cuts costs significantly while offering social opportunities through sites like SpareRoom or Gumtree.


Finding affordable housing in Bristol, or any city for that matter, can be very stressful. The challenges of high demand and limited supply to landlords who may not maintain their properties adequately.

Remember also that while finding the right place is important, understanding your rights as a tenant is equally crucial—especially when dealing with private landlords or letting agents—to protect yourself against unfair treatment or conditions.
Always keep an open mind regarding what “home” could look like—it might mean compromising on certain desires but discovering new priorities along the way.