This guide takes you from looking for the right property for you through to moving in and what responsibilities you and your landlord have.
Before you start looking for a property:
- What can you afford? – Think about how much rent you can afford to pay: 35% of your take-home pay is the maximum that most people can afford, this depends on what your other outgoings are.
- Are you entitled to Universal Credit or Housing Benefit? – if you are unsure whether you are entitled to receive any of these benefits, please speak to one of our advisors who will be able to give you some guidance on what you might be entitled to.
- What area do you want to live in? – Think about what area you would like to be based, near your children’s school or your place of work? The larger the areas you are prepared to look in the better your chances are of finding a suitable home.
- Have you got your documents? – You will need to confirm your identity, all landlords are now required by law to make copies of your identification as proof you have the Right to Rent in the UK. If you are unsure of what ID is acceptable please contact our Lettings Team.
Once you’ve found a property:
- Application form – You will need to complete an application form to apply for the property. Ensure you complete this correctly and return it with the application fee.
Download the application form here.
- Check what Deposit (Bond) is required – A deposit may be required at the start of your tenancy. The landlord or letting agent is required by law to protect your deposit in one of the 3 Government approved schemes within 30 days of receipt.
- How long will the tenancy be for? – Most Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements are for 6 or 12 months.
- Who will be responsible for the bills? – Before you decide to accept a property you need to be clear on what bills you are responsible for, and if any are included in the rent. On the whole the tenant will be responsible for all bills ie: Gas, Electric, Water & Council Tax
- Smoking and Pets – Check whether there are any rules about keeping pets or smoking in the property.
At the sign up for the property:
- Tenancy Agreement – Read the full tenancy agreement to ensure you understand what your rights and responsibilities are.
- Inventory – You should be provided with a copy of the Inventory to take away, be sure to check the inventory matches the contents and condition of the property. If you notice anything different you need to raise this with the landlord within the first week of the tenancy or amendments may not be made to the inventory and you may be responsible for damage or missing items.
- Contact Details – Your landlord must provide you with contact details, including a phone number you can use in case of an emergency.
Documents the landlord must provide:
- How to Rent Guide – A checklist for renting in England, either as a link or a paper copy.
- A Gas Safety Certificate – The landlord must provide you with a copy of a valid certificate at the sign up,this needs to be renewed every 12 months where there is a gas installation.
- Registered Deposit Scheme – The landlord must provide you with the prescribed information regarding which deposit scheme your deposit has been registered with. The landlord has 30 days to provide this information to you.
- The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) –The landlord must provide this to you. The EPC will show the efficiency of the property and the effects this has on your bills for the property, the more efficient the property the lower your bills will be.
Once you are a tenant you must:
- Pay the rent on time – You are at risk of losing your home if you do not pay your rent. If you are struggling to pay your rent you need to let your landlord know straight away.
- Look after the property – It is your responsibility to maintain the standard of the property. You will be putting your home at risk if you fail to keep the property to an acceptable standard. You must also seek the landlord’s permission in order to decorate the property.
- Be considerate to your neighbours – You could be evicted for Anti-Social behaviour if you cause a nuisance in the property.
- Report Repairs – If something is not working or is damaged in your property you must report this to the landlord immediately.
- Allow the landlord access where required – All landlords are required by law to carry out Gas Safety checks every 12 months, it is your responsibility to allow access for these checks to be completed. Landlords will also require access to complete repairs on the property.
At the end of the tenancy:
- Giving Notice – If you want to leave the property you are required to give the landlord 1 months’ notice. You are liable for the rent for the fixed term of the tenancy and can only give notice that is due to expire after the end of the fixed term.
- Rent – Make sure you pay your rent up to date, do not hold rent back because you think it can be taken out of the deposit.
- Clean the property – Make sure you remove all your possessions from the property and leave it clean. Take your meter readings and return your keys to the landlord.
- Deposit – Once you have vacated the property it will be inspected by the landlord. If there is no damage, the property is clean and free from any belongings the deposit will be returned to you in full. If you dispute an amount being deducted from the deposit you will need to contact the relevant deposit protection scheme – DPS.