Renting a property – guides and help

There’s a lot to think about when renting a property. Whether you’re a student, living with friends or have a large family, here’s all the info you need.    

Chris King From the Home team
minute read

I want to rent. What paperwork will I need?

If you have your paperwork ready, it means you can move quickly when you find a place you like. It will also make prospective landlords more likely to rent to you. Here’s what you’re likely to need:

  • Proof of ID – like your passport and, if necessary, immigration documents
  • references from your current landlord (if you have one), your employer or a professional person who isn’t a family member
  • bank statements. These are particularly helpful if, for whatever reason, you can’t supply references and may be requested as proof of income. Remember to hide your account number
  • a guarantor. If you’ve never rented before, you might be asked to provide details of someone who’ll pay the rent if you don’t, a parent, for example.

What checks will my landlord make?

Many landlords and letting agents will do a credit check to see if you have any outstanding debts or County Court Judgments (CCJs). Don’t worry, you’ll know if they do a check as they’ll need to get your permission first.

If you fail a credit check, there are still ways to rent the property you want. But they’ll probably involve paying a bigger deposit, offering to pay a few months’ rent upfront or having a guarantor.

What happens to my deposit?

A deposit is usually one or two months’ rent, which makes it a lot of money. But landlords have legal obligations to protect this cash by putting it in a tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it. If, when you come to claim back your deposit, you find your landlord hasn’t protected it – don’t worry. You can still claim the money back, and possibly get compensation too.

How do I protect my deposit?

It’s always a worry that rogue landlords might withhold your deposit and claim you’re responsible for damage you haven’t actually caused. To give yourself peace of mind, when you move in remember to:

  • take pictures of existing scuffs, marks and damage
  • take gas and electricity meter readings so you aren’t charged for someone else’s usage.
  • check what’s included in the rent. Are any bills covered? If not, remember that you can choose your own gas and electricity supplier, so you may well want to switch energy supplier.

Your landlord must return your deposit within 10 days of you both agreeing how much you’ll get back.

How does renting affect my home insurance?

You’re likely to have different insurance needs, depending on whether you’re a student, a flat-sharer or have a family.

Whichever way, we can help. We can guide you through the ins and outs of renting, including what you need to know about home insurance.

The key thing to remember is that the building of the property is most likely your landlord’s responsibility to insure, but you should look for contents insurance if you want to cover your own belongings against fire, theft, water damage or accidental damage.

If you’re already renting, here are some of the ways we can help you:

Get a quote in minutes and you could start saving.

This can protect you if your belongings are lost, stolen or damaged.

Are you at university? Here’s why you need contents insurance – and how to get it.

Renting a room in a shared house? Here’s how to protect your belongings.

Living in a shared student house? Here’s how to get cover for your valuables.

Less than 20% of young renters have contents cover. Here’s how it can help you.

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