How to Rent guide: everything you need to know before you rent

To ensure you are fully aware of your rights and responsibilities when renting, it’s a good idea to read and understand the How to Rent guide.

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Did you know that landlords in England are required to serve tenants with the How to Rent guide booklet? Failure to do so could hinder landlords from repossessing their houses with a section 21 notice.

The guide is designed to make tenants more aware of their rights and responsibilities. As a renter/tenant, it is also in your best interest to find out how to get the most out of your rental experience.

Here is everything you need to know. 


What is the How to Rent guide?

This is a guide meant for both tenants/renters and landlords in the private sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides detailed information and a checklist for each stage of the renting process. Expect to find information like:

  • Answers to commonly asked questions about renting and landlords
  • The two ways you can rent a property: from a landlord or through a letting agent
  • What you need to check when looking for a new home and whether there are any licencing requirements
  • Paperwork you need to inspect once you find a place
  • The rights and responsibilities of the renter and landlord
  • What happens when your tenancy agreement expires or if you or your landlord want to end the tenancy 
  • How you are protected from eviction if things go wrong

You should get a copy of the How to Rent guide from your landlord. However, it might be wise to access it from the website before you begin house hunting. 


The How to Rent guide: when did it start?

The How to Rent guide was first published on 10 June 2014. It has since been updated about ten times, with the latest update released on 10 December 2020. There will more than likely be further updates in the future.

Section 21 regulations for Landlords in England require landlords to provide renters with the most recent How to Rent guide at the beginning of new tenancies from October 2015. This also means that if there is an update, the landlord should provide you with a copy.

It might also be wise to read the COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities. It was first published on 28 March 2020 and the latest update was released on 24 March 2021. You can access it on the website.

The guide offers advice to landlords and tenants on their rights and responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic. It also highlights the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

What documents are required for the right to rent?

Landlords are required to check a tenant’s right to rent. This is a way for landlords to confirm that you are allowed to rent a house in England. 

You may be requested to provide the following documents:

  • A UK, EU/EEA passport or identity card
  • Travel documents indicating you have indefinite leave to remain
  • Visa where applicable
  • A document indicating your Home Office immigration status
  • A certificate of registration/naturalisation as a British citizen

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

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