Private tenants handbook

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2. Finding somewhere to rent

Finding a home through a letting agency is the most common way to find a house, flat or room to rent. However, landlords also advertise property on a number of websites, in local newspapers and notice boards.

Letting Agents

Letting agents are private businesses used by landlords to find tenants and sometimes collect the rent and manage repairs and maintenance of the property.There is a list of local letting agentson the Council’s website.

What will a letting agent do?

Credit check

Most landlords want a credit check completed on new tenants to show that they can afford the rent.


The landlord or agent may request details of where you have lived for the past few years and contact details of your previous landlords.

Tenancy Deposit

Once the checks have been completed and the agent or landlord agrees to you renting the property it is likely that you will need to pay a tenancy deposit. This is usually equivalent to a month to two month’s rent.

Rent in advance

Rent in advance is the payment of rent at the start of the tenancy for the month ahead. If you have a poor credit record the landlord or agent may ask you to pay more than a month’s rent in advance.

Have your documents ready

When you apply to rent a property it is important you have a number of documents available as is likely that a number of checks will be completed to understand if you are likely to be a good tenant.

Right to Rent

From 1 February 2016 anyone who rents a private property in England, including lodgers and those who sublet, will be required to prove they have a right to stay in the UK and the right to rent.

Further information on these topics and more can be found here: