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.

Check whether your landlord is accredited

The UK Landlord Accreditation Partnership (UKLAP) recognises good practice and works to improve conditions in the private rented sector. To check whether your landlord or property management company is accredited by UKLAP, go to UKLAP: accredited landlords and companies.

You could also ask whether your landlord is an accredited member of the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA). Go to NRLA: contact us.

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 GOV.UK: how to rent for a checklist 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.

For more information, go to:

Contact the Citizens Advice consumer service if you have concerns about your tenancy agreement.

Citizens Advice consumer service

: 0808 223 1133

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Citizens Advice consumer service