Securing a property to rent

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If a property is particularly desirable, it will not stay in the rental market for long. If you’re looking for property together with others, you have to ensure everyone is in a position to make a quick decision in case you find the kind of property you’re looking for. This means you must be able to move to the stage where the property is taken off the market and the landlord or agent starts carrying out the reference checks.

Identification

When you’ve reached an agreement in principle, you’ll have to provide documentation to confirm your identity and right to rent. The following documents can be used:
· UK photo driving license
· National identity card
· Birth certificate
· Marriage certificate
· Evidence of residency
· EU shotgun license
The documentation you provide must have an address matching your current address and it must be dated no more than three months earlier. The documents you may be asked to provide include:
· Utility bills
· Mortgage statement
· Council tax bill
· Bank/building society statements
· Credit card statement
· Letter from employer confirming employment status
· Home service provider bill
· Guarantor references etc.

References

Most landlords will conduct a reference check to confirm your employment status and to see if you’ve had any serious issues with your past landlords. A credit check is also done to ensure you are able to pay the rent every month and that you’ve not had serious issues with credit in your past.
Agents will usually charge a non-refundable fee for the process of checking out your references. This fee can’t be refunded even if you fail the check so ensure that all the information you’ve provided is accurate and that there aren’t issues that could affect your application. If you’re afraid you may fail the test you can ask the letting agent about the criteria used. In the reference check, the letting agent may look at:
· Your financial background
· Your address history for the past three years
· Your credit history
· Whether there is an address you haven’t disclosed
· Bank details
· Financial sanctions
· Duration of employment
· Employment status (full-time or temporary)
· Income i.e. can you afford to pay the rent etc.

When a guarantor may be needed

A guarantor is a person who guarantees that they will pay your rent in case you fall behind in your payments. In case you need a guarantor you can ask a parent or some other close family member. A guarantor will be subjected to the same checks as a would-be tenant and they’ll also need to have proof that they own property in the UK. Landlords will usually require that the guarantors be permanent residents of England and Wales.

The First Payments

If you pass the reference check, you’ll be required to make the first payments before moving in. This will be the security deposit and the first month’s rent. If your tenancy agreement type is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy then the landlord has to put the security deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme. The tenancy agreement will be drafted after you’ve made the first payments. Be sure to go through the agreement carefully before signing it.

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