Private tenants

Renting private property

Renting a property can be a big commitment for tenants.

Before you start renting you can find good advice at: GOV.UK: how to rent.

Letting agents and property management companies

If you plan to rent via a letting agent or property management company, there are some checks you can make first. The law sets out what information must be displayed in their offices and on their websites – check the information that must be displayed.

Some agents belong to a professional body such as ARLA, NAEA, RICS, NALS or UKALA. These bodies have strict codes of practice and will often have a complaints procedure you can use.

Viewing a property

You need to ask the landlord or letting agent some important questions before you view a property. Take time to check the property inside and outside as closely as possible when you do view it.

View as many properties as you can and, if you are interested in a property, visit the location at different times – during the day and on the evening – and on different days of the week.

Go to Homestamp: read this first for a free guide to renting private property and checklists to use when looking for rented accommodation.

Before you sign a contract

You should be given a copy of the property's Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) before you rent. Gas and electric bills may be higher for properties that are not energy efficient.

If you pay a deposit to your landlord or letting agent, they must protect it in an approved deposit protection scheme within 30 days. If you don't receive a letter or email confirming that your deposit is protected, you may be entitled to claim up to 3 times the amount at the end of the tenancy.

Your tenancy agreement is your legally-binding contract with your landlord. Once you sign it you are responsible for rent over the full time period of the agreement – usually 6 or 12 months.

Go to Citizens Advice: tenancy agreements or Shelter: understanding your tenancy agreement.

You can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service if you have concerns about your tenancy agreement.

Citizens Advice consumer service

: 03454 04 05 06

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Citizens Advice consumer service