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Documents Provided by the Tenant
As a tenant, your letting agent or landlord should guide you through the application process for a property. In general, there are two categories of documentation you will need. That is documentation for referencing purposes and documentation to prove your right to rent in the UK.
How your landlord or letting agent references you will be completely up to them. Most will want to see evidence of employment in the form of payslips or a letter from your employer, and some may ask for references. A lot of tenant referencing is done online; speak with your letting agent on your viewing about specific documentation they require for your application.
Right to Rent
All landlords and agents are legally required to check that tenants are allowed to rent in the UK. Most of the time this will be checking your passport and/or visa.
If you don’t have one of these then there is a list of other documents that will be acceptable, for example a birth certificate or adoption certificate, full UK driving licence and a criminal record check. Your landlord or agent will need to check this in person.
See the full list of right to rent documents if you are unsure about how to prove your right to rent.
Documents Provided by the Landlord
It is important that you are also aware of the documentation your landlord or letting agent should be giving to you before you move into your new home.
You should be provided with a gas safety certificate, EPC and electrical condition report for the property detailing the energy efficiency of the home and evidence that the gas and electrics are in safe, working order.
You will also be provided with an inventory, which lists all the items in the property and the condition of all those items, including flooring, walls and ceilings. Usually this is accompanied by the meter readings for the property. The property inventory is an important piece of documentation because it is ultimately what will determine any deductions from your security deposit, should your landlord wish to make any.
You need to check the inventory thoroughly at the beginning of your tenancy, and make the landlord or agent aware of any discrepancies, no matter how small they seem. Ideally the document should be signed once you are happy that it is an accurate representation of the condition of the property.
The landlord or agent will need to go through the property inventory, ideally with you, at the end of your tenancy. They will be looking for any damages, other than wear and tear. Having a good inventory in the first place is a good way of defending yourself against damages that weren’t caused by you.
Guide for ‘How to Rent’
Your landlord or letting agent should also provide you with a copy of the UK government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide. This document provides you with information about assured shorthold tenancies, your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and what to do at the end of your tenancy.
Prescribed Information about the Security Deposit
Lastly, you should also be provided with a document detailing how your security deposit is looked after throughout the tenancy. Usually this is in the form of ‘prescribed information’ from one of the UK’s deposit protection services.