Please see the attached "How To Rent Guide" which you should read before you sign and tenancy agreement for a rental property.
This information is frequently updated.
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How to rent
3 The checklist for
renting in England
Assured shorthold tenancies
When you enter an assured shorthold tenancy –
the most common type – you are entering into a
This gives you some important rights but also some
This guide will help you to understand what
questions to ask, what your rights are, and what
responsibilities you have. This will help you create a
positive relationship with your landlord, but we also
tell you how to get help if things go wrong.
When you rent a home, people sometimes expect
you to make a quick decision, or to sign documents
before you’ve had time to think about them.
So use this checklist and keep it safe to protect
yourself from problems at every stage.
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Who is this
This guide is for
people who are
looking for a house
or flat to rent.
Most of it will equally
apply if you are in
a shared property
but in certain cases
your rights and
The guide does not
cover lodgers or
people with licences –
nor tenants where
the property is not
their main or only
What can you afford? Think about how much rent you can afford to pay: 35% of
your take-home pay is the most that many people can afford, but this depends on
what your other outgoings are (for example, whether you have children).
If you are on housing benefit, there is no reason that it should affect your ability
to pay rent. But check with this online calculator to see if you can afford to live in
the area you want.
Decide which area you would like to live in and how you are going to look for a
rented home. The larger the area where you are prepared to look, the better the
chance of finding the right home for you.
Have your documents ready. Reputable landlords and agents will want to confirm
your identity, credit history and possibly your employment or immigration status.
Will you need a rent guarantee? Some landlords might ask someone to
guarantee your rent. If you don’t have a guarantor, ask Shelter for help.
3 Before you start
Renting from a landlord or a letting agent?
Direct from the landlord
Look for landlords who belong to
an accreditation scheme. Your local
authority can advise you about
accreditation schemes operating in
your area. The National Landlords
Association (NLA) and the Residential
Landlords Association (RLA) run
national schemes. If you’re in London,
there’s the London Rental Standard.
Watch out for scams!
Be clear who you are handing
money over to, and why.
Through a letting agent
Find out what fees (and costs) you will be
charged and when you need to pay them.
By law, a breakdown of all fees should be
clearly visible to you in the agent’s office
and on their website.
What independent complaints scheme is
the agent a member of? Do they offer client
money protection? By law, this information
should also be clearly visible to you.
Are they accredited through a professional
body like ARLA, NALS, RICS or UKALA?
This means they have the right protection
for their clients’ money, and
safeguards you if they go
bust or misuse your funds
(such as rent payments and
your deposit). Look for the
SAFEagent sign too.
3 Looking for your new home
Questions to ask
Deposit protection. If the landlord asks for a deposit,
check that it will be protected in a government
approved scheme. Some schemes hold the money, and
some insure it.
You may be able to access a bond or guarantee scheme
that will help you put the deposit together.
How long is the tenancy for? There is usually a fixed
period of 6 or 12 months. If you want more security, you
can ask for a longer fixed period (for example, 3 years).
Many landlords are happy to offer longer tenancies.
Children, smoking and pets. Check if there any rules
about them, as well as for other things such as keeping
a bike, dealing with refuse and recycling.
Check who is responsible for bills such as electricity,
gas, water and council tax. You or the landlord? Usually
the tenant pays for these.
Fixtures and fittings. Check you are happy with
them, as it is unlikely that you will be able to get them
changed once you have moved in.
Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Check these are provided and, if not, consider installing
them yourself. They could save your life.
If the building becomes unfit to live in. Check that
the tenancy agreement excuses you from paying rent
should the building become unfit to live in because of a
fire or flood.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)
HMOs are usually properties in which unrelated people
share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Large HMOs (more than 2 floors, and more than 4 people)
need to be licensed. Check your landlord has done that.
In large HMOs, landlords must by law provide working
smoke alarms, and give tenants a statement of the terms on
which they live in the property.
Check who your
They could be
subletting – renting you
a property that they are
renting from someone
else. If they are
subletting, check that
the property owner has
Find out who you
should speak to if any
repairs need doing.
the property is
Landlords should let
you know about this
you may be asked to
leave the property if
the landlord does not
pay their mortgage
Check the paperwork
Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement and read it carefully to
understand your rights and responsibilities. The landlord or agent usually provides
one but you can request to use a different version. The government has published a
model tenancy agreement that can be used.
If you have any concerns about the agreement, seek advice before you sign.
Agree an inventory (or check-in report) with your landlord and, as an extra
safeguard, make sure that you take photos. This will make things easier if there
is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy. If you are happy with the
inventory, sign it and keep a copy.
Remember to take meter readings when you move in. This will help make sure
you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.
Contact details. Make sure that you have the correct contact details for the landlord
or agent, including a telephone number you can use in case of an emergency.
Code of practice. Check that whoever is managing the property is following a
code of practice.
The landlord must provide you with:
A gas safety certificate. The landlord must provide one each year, if there is gas.
Deposit paperwork. If you have provided a deposit, the landlord must protect it
in a government approved scheme. Make sure you get the official information from
the scheme, and that you understand how to get your money back at the end of the
tenancy. Keep this information safe as you will need it later.
The Energy Performance Certificate. This will affect your energy bills and the
landlord must provide one (except in Houses in Multiple Occupation).
The landlord should provide you with:
A record of any electrical inspections. All appliances must be safe
and checks every 5 years are recommended.
3 When you’ve found a place
The tenant must... Pay the rent on time. If you don’t, you could lose your home because you have broken your tenancy agreement. If you have problems, Shelter can offer advice. Look after the property. But get your landlord’s permission before attempting repairs or decorating. It’s worth getting contents insurance to cover your possessions too, because the landlord’s insurance won’t cover your things. Be considerate to the neighbours. You could be evicted for anti-social behaviour if you aren’t. Not take in a lodger or sub-let without checking whether you need permission from your landlord.
And also you, the tenant, should Make sure you know how to operate the boiler and other appliances and know where the stop cock, fuse box and any meters are located. Regularly test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector – at least once a month. Report any need for repairs to your landlord. There will be a risk to your deposit if a minor repair turns into a major problem because you did not report it.
The landlord must... Maintain the structure and exterior of the property. Deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply. Maintain any appliances and furniture they have supplied. Carry out most repairs. If something is not working, report it to the landlord (or their agent) as soon
as you can. Arrange an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe engineer (where there are any gas appliances). Give at least 24 hours notice of visits for things like repairs – the landlord cannot walk in whenever they like. Get a licence for the property,
if it is a licensable property.
And also the landlord should Insure the building to cover the costs of any damage from flood
3Living in your rented home
The landlord should provide smoke alarms.
If not, install them yourself and test them at least every month.
If you want to stay
Should you wish to extend your tenancy after any initial fixed period, there are a number of important issues to consider. Check Shelter’s website for advice. Do you want to sign up to a new fixed term? There may be costs for this, particularly if you rent through an agent. If not, you will be on a ‘rolling periodic tenancy’. This means you carry on as before but with no fixed term – you can leave at any time by giving one months notice. Or your landlord can end the contract at two months’ notice. Your landlord might want to increase your rent. Your landlord can increase your rent by agreement, or as set out in your tenancy agreement, or by following a procedure set out in law.
If you or the landlord want to end the tenancy
There are things that both landlords and tenants must do at the end of the tenancy: Giving notice. It is a legal requirement for landlords to give you proper notice if they want you to leave. Normally, the landlord must allow any fixed period of the tenancy to have expired, and they must have given at least two months’ notice.
Your tenancy agreement should say how much notice you must give the landlord if you want to leave the property – one month’s notice is typical. Return of deposit. Try to be present when the property is inspected to check whether any of the tenancy deposit should be deducted to cover damage or cleaning costs (a ‘check-out inventory’). If you do not agree with proposed deductions contact the relevant deposit protection scheme. Rent. Make sure that your rent payments are up to date. Do not keep back rent because you think that it will be taken out of the deposit. Bills. Do not leave bills unpaid. This might have an impact on your
references and credit rating. Clear up. Remove all your possessions, clean the house,
take meter readings, return all the keys and give a
forwarding address. The landlord is entitled to
dispose of possessions left in the property
after, typically, 14 days.
3At the end of the fixed period
There are often legal protections in place for the most common problems that you may
experience during the tenancy – the following links will tell you what they are or where
to look for help:
If you are having financial problems, or are falling into rent arrears, speak to
your landlord as they may be helpful, and are likely to be more sympathetic if you
talk to them about any difficulties early on. Should you need further help contact
Citizens Advice or Shelter as soon as possible.
If the property is in an unsafe condition and your landlord won’t repair it –
contact your local authority. They have powers to make landlords deal with serious
health and safety hazards.
Unannounced visits and harassment from your landlord – contact your local
authority, or if more urgent dial 999.
If you are being forced out illegally, contact the police.
If your landlord wants you to leave the property, they must notify you in writing,
with the right amount of notice – you can only be legally removed from the property
with a court order.
If things go wrong
If you are concerned about finding
another place to live, then contact the
Housing Department of your
Depending on your circumstances, they
may have a legal duty to help you find
accommodation and, even if not, they
can provide advice.
The local authority should not wait until
you are evicted before taking action to
Disclaimer: The Department is not responsible for the content of
external links. They are the responsibility of those organisations.
Published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
© Crown copyright 2015. Product code 978-1-4098-4213-2.
When you rent a property from Robert Allen there are fees to pay.
The following note explains what and how much they are and when you will be expected to pay them.
TENANT INFORMATION SHEET
The following information is supplied for any applicant who, having viewed a property, wishes to apply to take up a tenancy of that property:
For up to two applicants - £300.00 (inc VAT)
For any additional applicants who will 18 years old or more when the tenancy starts - £50.00 (inc VAT)
If a guarantor is required - £50.00 (inc VAT)
This administration fee covers the cost of referencing all applicants and guarantors with a professional company, producing the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, securing the deposit and providing associated paperwork regarding the Deposit Protection Scheme, producing a comprehensive Inventory (including photographs), notifying utility companies with meter readings and the Council Tax department of the new tenants move in date.
Attending the check-out and notifying utility companies of relevant meter readings and informing the Council Tax department of the vacating tenant(s).
Once paid these fees are non-refundable under any circumstances, other than if the Landlord changes his/her mind about offering the tenancy to the applicant, despite the references being acceptable.
Account details for payment are – Sort code 30 93 34 Acc 55773760.
THE BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS INTO WHICH THE RENT AND DEPOSIT ARE TO BE PAID ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE LISTED ABOVE.
THE CORRECT ACCOUNT DETAILS WILL BE SUPPLIED AT THE APPROPRIATE TIME.
Other fees payable during the tenancy
Customer protection and redress services