If you’re thinking about renting a property in the UK or becoming a landlord, you need to know which rules, regulations, and considerations to bear in mind to ensure a stress-free tenancy.
Since December 2020, the UK government has implemented several changes to protect tenant rights and provide a healthy and affordable living environment. The most significant of these happened on 24th March 2023 when they updated the useful How to Rent guide for tenants and landlords alike.
To help you simplify the rental process and understand what lies ahead, our trusted team at Cobb Farr has created our own How to Rent Guide 2023. Keep reading to discover how to find your perfect property, complete the legalities with ease, make an excellent return on your investment and enjoy your beautiful new home.
Tenant’s guide to renting in England 2023
Prepare to rent
1. Work out your requirements
Start by considering what you are looking for in a rental property. Ask yourself questions like:
- What location do you want to be in?
- Am I looking for an urban or rural property?
- Which neighbourhoods do we prefer?
- What are our non-negotiables?
- Do we need to be close to work, public transport, local amenities and so on?
2. Outline your budget
Next, think about how much you can afford and establish a clear budget. Remember that you are likely to be responsible for additional costs like utilities and council tax. Make sure you reach a figure that you can afford.
3. Research the market
Using the information you’ve gathered above, start your property search by contacting a prominent estate agent in the location where you want to live and keeping your eye on what is available. Be prepared to act fast if you find something you love.
1. Schedule viewings
Found an interesting property? Schedule your viewing so you can get a feel for the property and see whether it meets your needs.
2. Ask lots of questions
When you attend your property viewing, make sure you ask plenty of questions about things like energy efficiency, the local area, maintenance issues, and so on. This will help you make a more informed decision. If you can, take someone with you so you don’t forget anything.
3. Inspect the property carefully
Pay close attention to the overall condition of the property, checking for signs of damage, dampness, and problems with plumbing or heating.
4. Make an offer
Once you’ve fallen in love with the property, it’s time to make an offer. Tell your estate agent that you would like to move in and start the rental process.
Get the paperwork done
1. Get references
Your landlord and agent will next perform tenant referencing checks so they can see whether you can be trusted to rent their property. This usually involves credit checks, employment references and references from previous landlords. Have this information ready and you will speed up the process.
2. Read and sign your tenancy agreement
Before you move into the property, you’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement. Make sure you read through carefully, understand the terms and ask for legal advice if you’re unsure. Only when you’re completely satisfied should you sign.
3. Provide a deposit
You’ll also be asked to leave a deposit for the property. This is usually one month’s rent in advance. Since 2023, your landlord has been legally required to place this in a government-approved deposit scheme to ensure it’s protected. They must also provide full information about this deposit within 30 days including which scheme is used, the deposit amount and how any disputes will be resolved.
4. Go through a checklist for renting
Before moving in, make sure you make your way through a checklist for renting so you can ensure the rental property is in good condition and meets any legal requirements. This will help to keep you safe and prevent disputes when you move out.
Make sure your checklist includes the following:
- Does the property have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
- Have you checked the inventory? Is the property in a good condition?
- Is there a carbon monoxide alarm on the premises? (Since June 2014, this has been a legal requirement for rooms with solid fuel-burning appliances).
- Do you understand the terms of your tenancy agreement?
- Do you know which deposit protection scheme has been used?
Move into your rental property
When the legal side has been dealt with and you’re sure your landlord has met their legal responsibilities, it’s time to move in and enjoy your new home. Read our Moving House Checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Know your rights and responsibilities
When you rent a property in England, you have certain responsibilities that you must meet.
- Paying your rent on time: You must pay your rent in full as agreed in your tenancy agreement. Late or missed payments can create problems.
- Reporting maintenance issues or repairs: Your landlord or estate agent is responsible for addressing these problems in a timely manner.
- Respecting your neighbours: You must keep noise levels to a minimum, especially during the night.
We highly recommend that you consult the up-to-date version of the government’s “How to Rent Guide” to ensure you are aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
1. Give plenty of notice
If you plan to move out, ensure you provide the required notice in writing to your landlord or agent. This is usually around one month but can vary- check your tenancy agreement if you’re unsure.
2. Clean and repair the rental property
Before you move out, make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the property and will leave it in the same condition as when you moved in. Ensure any damage is repaired and check with your inventory if you are unsure.
3. Get your deposit back
When you’ve left, your landlord should return your deposit as agreed in your tenancy agreement. If you are in arrears with your rent or have damaged the property in any way, be prepared for deductions.
Landlord’s guide to renting in England 2023
Prepare your property
Before you can start renting your property, it’s vital to ensure it’s in excellent condition and ready for tenants. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Ensure the property is clean and in excellent condition
Before you place your home on the rental market, ensure that you have deep cleaned the property, fixed any problems and that any appliances are in full working order. Then make sure your property is well-presented and appealing to potential tenants.
2. Check your legal obligations
The law says that you should install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, conduct an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and comply with any other legal obligations, including safety standards and tax obligations.
3. Make sure your property is safe
You should also carry out an annual gas safety check and ensure that all electrical installations and appliances are safe and regularly maintained.
Determine the rent
If you want to attract the right tenants and ensure the optimal return on your investment, you should consider how much to charge.
Start by conducting market research, checking local properties in your area, their features, size, and condition and how much each charge for rent. If you are planning to invest in rental property in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset you can also ask our experienced team at Cobb Farr if you need further help.
Ensure you can cover all expenses associated with your property including mortgage payments, maintenance costs, landlord insurance and any relevant overheads.
Advertise your property
When you are sure your property is ready and you are clear on the rent you want to charge, it’s time to advertise your property.
For renting your property in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset contact our expert team at Cobb Farr and we can help you highlight your property’s strengths and unique selling points, take high-quality photographs, and write a compelling description. This will attract more tenants and help you rent your property faster.
Get ready for your tenant to move in
1. Create a tenancy agreement
You should provide your prospective tenant with a clear and comprehensive tenancy agreement that complies with current legislation and outlines any terms and conditions.
Make sure they understand the document and ask them to sign it when they are ready.
2. Place the deposit in a protection scheme
You must place your tenant’s deposit in a government-approved deposit protection scheme and share full information with your tenant within 30 days.
3. Carry out tenant screening
- Protect your investment and ensure you have met your legal obligations by doing the following:
- Create a tenant application that includes personal and financial information.
- Ask for references from employers and previous landlords.
- Conduct credit and background checks.
- Interview the tenant to understand their suitability.
- Check that your prospective tenant has the right to rent in the UK by asking your estate agent to carry out a Right to Rent check.
- Conduct an inventory check to document the condition of the property and share this with your tenant.
- You can find full information in the UK government’s “How to Rent 2023” PDF guide, updated on 24th March 2023.
Managing the tenancy
The best tenancies are those that are stress-free. Here are our tips on how to ensure you achieve just that.
- Agree on a reliable method of rent collection such as bank transfer or direct debit.
- Make it clear when you expect rent to be paid and ensure you include this in the tenancy agreement.
- Ensure you address any maintenance or repair requests promptly.
- Regularly inspect the property to ensure it remains in good condition.
- Ensure you are aware of any changes in the law regarding landlord obligations.
Ending the tenancy
When the tenancy comes to an end, follow these steps to ensure you remain compliant with the law.
- Provide at least six months’ notice if you wish your tenant to leave the property (See the Section 21 notice, 24th March 2023).
- Carry out a final inspection to identify excessive damage or wear and tear and document your findings.
- Return the tenant’s deposit minus any deductions.
Whether you’re a tenant looking for a brand new rental property or a landlord wanting a good return on your investment, renting a property in the UK can be an excellent experience.
With UK government legislation that is continually improved and updated, both parties should enjoy a safe, happy, and rewarding rental experience.
Follow the steps we’ve outlined in this article and read the government’s “How to Rent Guide 2023” to ensure you can find your ideal rental property or tenant while complying with the law.
Need help renting or letting in Bath, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, or Somerset? Our experienced team at Cobb Farr can help.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat.