Starting up a new lease can be daunting. There is much to remember in relation to the legal documents and checks that take place in order for your tenancy to begin. To help you get organised and ready for property searching, Just Landlords has put together a list of important documents you may be required to present at the start of your tenancy.
It can vary from landlord to landlord, but everything they could possibly require, you should have easy access to, and having them readily available will make the whole process run smoother.
Have the relevant identification ready, as landlords will need to check you have the right to rent in the UK. The following are examples of documents that are acceptable forms of ID:
- UK passport
- UK residence cards, such as a European Economic Area (EEA) card or Swiss national passport
- Biometric Residence Permit with unlimited leave
- Passport or travel document endorsed with unlimited leave
- UK immigration status document endorsed with unlimited leave
There are other forms of identification you can provide in combination if the above are unavailable to you. For more information and a full list, check out the Right to Rent guide provided on the gov.uk website:
A guarantor may not always be required, but, if you are a student or renting for the first time, you may be asked to provide the details for one. If you are looking to share a property with others, they may require one per person. This is a guarantee for landlords that if you fail to pay the rent or cover damage costs, then they have a backup to receive the money owed to them.
A rent guarantor can be anyone between the age of 18-75. They must be a UK resident and must not have a poor credit history. As an example, this could be a parent, relative or friend. However, you can’t put forward someone who will also be living in the same property. It’s worth bearing in mind, whoever you put down must be in a position to pay your rent if any issues were to arise.
Providing a good reference will increase the likelihood of your request for tenancy being accepted. A positive reference confirming your strength of character will essentially tell a landlord that you are trustworthy and an acceptable choice of tenant.
An ideal choice for a referee could be an employer, either current or past, as they can give a professional account. You could also use a former landlord, as they would have first-hand experience with you as a tenant. If these are not an option, you could consider a supervisor from any volunteer work you have done or someone holding a senior position within the educational establishment you last attended. You will want to think carefully about whom you choose, because, if you don’t pass their checks, then you face rejection and you may not get a refund on any fees that have already been paid.
A landlord may ask for proof of your current work situation, such as job title, salary and name of employer. If you decide to use an employer as your reference, then such information would be easily verified.
Proof of Earnings
This is vital information for your prospective landlord, as they will want to know that you are financially stable. Renting to a tenant otherwise could result in frustrations later on, if they do transpire to not have a high enough income to cover all finances. Despite your belief that you can manage your money and afford to keep up with the bills, some landlords may want to determine this for themselves. They may have set standards and require you to have a minimum income depending on the cost of the property you are hoping to rent.
This proof would ideally be recent bank statements or even work payslips. The landlord will specify which they would prefer, but, more than likely, they will want them to be dated within the last three months. If you are receiving benefits, be clear and honest, and provide proof. You are only causing unnecessary problems for yourself and your landlord otherwise.
A cash deposit and two months’ rent in advance will most likely be requested, however, the number of months’ rent may vary. Be aware that, since April 2007, landlords have been legally required to place your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if you are looking at an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
We also advise that, when making any payments upfront, you ensure you know the terms and conditions. For example, if you were to change your mind about the property or you are rejected, how much of your money, if any, can you have refunded?
Have your account details ready. This will include the name of your bank, your account number and sort code.
This is, unfortunately, not something you can prepare for, as you either have a good credit rating or the damage is already done, but we are mentioning this one to raise awareness. Expect landlords to run a credit check. This will give them the most accurate idea of how you’ve handled your finances in the past and might ultimately be the difference between being accepted or rejected.
Having all of this information ready can only help your chances of being accepted for the rental of your dream home. Being prepared will present you as organised and genuine - two boxes that all landlords would love to have ticked when looking at prospective tenants. And one more tip for if you do go into a tenancy with a landlord: ensure you have correct contact details for them at all times. It can provide peace of mind to know that if there is an issue with the property, you can inform them immediately and get things sorted.