Pre-tenancy Checklist: Renting in England

Renting in England

It is the duty of every landlord to ensure that they comply with all the local authority and regulatory requirements that come with renting a property out, so we have put this summary together as a helpful guide.

  1. Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement: The tenancy agreement ensures all rights and responsibilities agreed beyond those prescribed by law are as clear as possible. The most common form of tenancy agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
  2. Tenant References: Referencing should be carried out for each tenant. This usually includes confirmation of the tenant’s basic information, previous or current employment details, addresses, bank statements and references from the current landlord.
  3. Rental Payment Set Up: It is recommended to collect the first month’s rent in advance alongside any deposit, and to confirm that subsequent rental payments have been set up.
  4. Professional Clean: A deep clean of the property prior to the move in of new tenants is recommended, especially areas such as the tub, toilet, stove, and refrigerator.
  5. Check-in Inventory: It is important to carry out an inventory before and after a tenancy to ensure that all items contained within the property and their condition are accounted for. It also lessens the chances of a deposit dispute further down the line.
  6. Licensing: Depending on your property’s location, you may need a landlord license from the local authorities in order to rent your property. If you’re unsure if your property falls into a licensed controlled area, contact your local council for confirmation. For more information on Landlord Licensing.
  7. Right to Rent: Is the tenant permitted to rent in this country? Under the ‘Right to rent’ legislation landlords are required to ensure their tenants are not illegal immigrants and are consequently permitted to rent in this country.  
  8. How to Rent Guide: This is required to be served to tenants in order to serve a valid Section 21 notice (a repossession notice) if required. Landlords should provide their tenants with an up-to-date document entitled “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England”, as published by the Department for Communities and Local Government, at the beginning of tenancies that start on or after October 2015 in England only. More information & guide available on
  9. Gas Safety Certificate: The certificate must be provided by a Gas Safe engineer within the past 12 months in order to be valid. You don’t need a new certificate per tenant, but you do need to renew it every 12 months.
  10. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC): EPCs assess the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of your property with potential figures it could achieve. Any house that is rented requires a valid EPC. They are valid for 10 years and then the property needs to be reassessed for a new certificate. If energy efficiency improvements are made to the property, you can apply for a new EPC to achieve a better grade.
  11. Deposit Protected: Any deposit you receive must be secured in a tenancy deposit scheme. There are three Government approved schemes – The DPS, The Dispute Service and MyDeposits.
  12. Deposit Certificate: You must give a copy of the deposit protection certificate to the tenant’s and any third parties that have contributed to the deposit, within 30 days.
  13. Deposit Prescribed Information: Provide the Prescribed Information to the tenants? This is a requirement of the tenancy deposit protection scheme. Once the deposit is secured, you must provide certain information about the deposit and where it has been secured to tenants either as part of the Tenancy Agreement or on a separate form. The scheme that you secured your deposit with will have more information on this.
  14. Smoke Alarms: Private rented sector landlords in England with single tenanted properties (e.g. NOT Houses in Multiple Occupation) are required, from 1 October 2015, to install smoke alarms on every floor, and check that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins.
  15. Carbon Monoxide Alarms: Private rented sector landlords in England with single tenanted properties (e.g. NOT Houses in Multiple Occupation) are required, from 1 October 2015, to install a carbon monoxide alarm in every room where solid fuel appliances are contained, and check that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins.
  16. Fire Resistant Furniture: All furniture a landlord provides must be fire resistant. Furniture must meet the fire resistance requirements in the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988.
  17. Electrical Checks: The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 will apply to new tenancies from 1st July 2020 and to existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. The new regulations require landlords to ensure that all electrical installations in their rental properties are inspected and tested by a qualified person every five years. 
  18. Water Systems Checked: All water systems require an assessment of the risk of contaminants such as legionnaires disease. This can be carried out by landlords themselves or any other competent person. Health and safety legislation requires that risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires’ disease are taken. The assessments must identify and assess potential sources of exposure, and steps taken to prevent/control any risk that is identified. 

This summary is provided as a general guide to what is expected when managing a rental property. It should not be relied on as legally complete or correct. It is important to ensure compliance with all local authority or regulatory requirements which could include rent regulations, maintenance standards and other obligations. You should always seek professional advice if you are unsure of your obligations.

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