What documents do I need to rent a flat in the UK?

Home $ What documents do I need to rent a flat in the UK?

In this article, we are going to explain which documents both property owners (or their property managers) and tenants, have to prepare in order to be able to rent and rent out a property in the UK. But, with a focus on landlords!

When someone wants to relocate to a new property, it is important that he/she collects all the necessary documentation to be able to inquire about an available property. 

In the UK, tenants need a list of essential documents to rent a flat. Even though the process is relatively easy and in most cases follows a standard procedure, it is crucial to have specific legal documents in place so that they and the landlord can move forward with confidence when creating the tenancy agreement. 

In this article, we’ve created a handy guide that will assist both stakeholders while navigating the rental procedure. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about documents to rent a flat in the UK.

Continue reading for tips on how to rent without unnecessary headaches.

What documents do you need to rent your property

What documents does a tenant need to Rent a Flat?

Due to the strong demand for real estate, many potential renters may be eager to move into an appealing home and act very quickly when a property becomes available. This would imply that as a tenant you must act quickly if you’re looking for a home or a flat in the UK – with the right documents at the ready! 

Before moving in, tenants must know about the tenancy agreement, the relative documentation (i.e an AST), and the landlord’s requirements that might vary from property to property. Some won’t accept smokers, others won’t accept pets, others will require a minimum duration of the tenancy agreement and so forth.

Therefore as a potential tenant rushing the procedure and agreeing to rental terms you are not aware of would be hardly advisable. Thankfully, the number of residences built for rent in the last years has increased, giving residents more options to find the perfect solution that satisfies both parties involved.

As a landlord, managing a property and having the right documents is essential and required by the law in order to rent a flat. As previously stated, tenant agreements can also widely differ, based on the location, the property type and the specific requirements.

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So, while documents can be hard to obtain, struggling a bit to get the ideal property and the ideal tenant, with terms both parties are happy with will be worth it.

Documentation Required To Rent A Flat in the UK

So specifically, what documents are required in terms of documentation to rent an apartment or home?

Landlords (or agents managing the property) will need to double-check your identity and examine your rights to lease or rent an apartment in the UK. Also, they may look into your work history and evaluate your creditworthiness.

As a tenant, you will have to present all the documentation demonstrating your right to rent a flat in the UK. This might be an immigration status document, national identity card, or passport. Other documents are also allowed please refer to the UK Government’s list for the complete and official list.

If you are relocating to the UK from overseas you must also provide a copy of the visa. The landlord or rental agency will also verify your credit history when you seek to rent an apartment. This is to determine your credit score and therefore decide whether you are eligible for that property and relative monthly rent.

Does a tenant need a UK bank account to rent a property?

Tenants need to have a payment method and a valid bank account located in the UK to rent a flat as the payments for every agreed period (month, week, quarter etc) must be performed from that account.

This cannot be any other abroad bank account. Therefore, if you’re relocating from abroad, you must have the necessary paperwork ready. In order to open a bank account in the UK tenants will need either utility bills or a signed tenancy agreement.

What documents does a landlord need from the tenant?

Here below is a list of documents the landlord will need to get from the tenant:

  • Proof of Work, whether the tenant is an employee or self-employed
  • Bank Statements to check the credit score and payment affordability
  • Tax Returns to check the employment status
  • Previous Landlord References to check the character status

Nowadays, is more and more frequent to see landlords performing tenant referencing checks on tenants. This helps the tenant to be sure he’s renting the flat to the right person.

    Tenancy Agreement

    It is vital to check out the tenancy agreement legislation. This is required while applying for rental apartments, along with the documents to rent a flat. In the UK a tenancy or rental agreement is a legal contract valid for both the tenant and the landlord.

    It lays out all the tenancy agreement legislation terms and other important policy terms. It may be recorded orally or in a written format. 

    Tenancies come in two varieties: 

    • The most frequent ones are stationary or fixed terms tenancies. The agreement is valid for a particular period
    • Less frequent ones but still valid are the frequent or periodic tenancies. The agreement runs on a weekly or monthly basis

    Break Clause in the UK during Tenancy Agreement

    Usually, a break clause is always included when the tenancy agreement is created. The break clause will be valid for both parties involved.

    A “break clausemeans that the rent or a lease contract stipulates that the same contract can be terminated early. For instance, the most traditional break clause states that both parties can always end the rental agreement by giving a one-month notice. There is no minimum period of notice that a break clause must require in order to be valid, that period will be agreed upon by the parties when creating the contract.

    How does it work if the tenant rents for the first time?

    If the tenant is an employee or is self-employed, he/she might be capable of making a larger initial payment. This is to encompass his/her rent ahead of time. his/her request may be processed faster by the landlord if he/she offers to cover the first 6 months’ rent in advance as it demonstrates that has the financial resources necessary to afford the property.

    This proposal is always welcomed by the landlords as it lessens their concerns regarding your capability to pay for the house.

    On the other hand, paying extra rent upfront gives the tenant more room for negotiation on the monthly price and other clauses of the contract. Comes without saying that, because the initial monthly payment has already been taken care of and the landlord has received a consistent sum upfront as a tenant you will start off the relationship on the right foot.

    Are you a tenant looking to rent?

    We partner with expert letting agents, Cozee. Take a look at their Zoopla listings to find your perfect property to rent.

    What checks are done before renting a property?

    The house renting process in the UK involves a couple of standard checks.

    The landlord or letting agent managing the property will start by checking tenants’ right to rent, previous employment history, and payment details, among other things. Frequently, the outcomes of the credit checks will determine the extent to which the request to rent a property is accepted or denied.

    Suitability and important documents to rent a flat

    The property manager or the landlord will ask tenants to produce papers for the rental procedure. Those are required to verify the suitability of the house or property in the UK.

    Previous Landlord Reference

    Tenants might be required to present a credit from their former landlord demonstrating their responsibility as tenants. For example, a statement about their dependability on rent collections. Also, the way they maintained the home or apartment while living in it.

    They will also need to communicate with their workplace to corroborate business information, earnings, and understanding of personality. As a tenant is good to have this data and information ready for future references and relative speed-up of the checking process.

    Employment Reference

    If the tenant is a full-time employee or a freelancer, he/she will be able to determine which documentation to provide as long as what he/she produces demonstrates his/her job history. The yearly or monthly revenue, along with obtaining references from the workplace are valid examples. This will allow the homeowner to assess the ability to pay the rent and the relative stability of the cash flow will get recognised.

    The tenant may be required to establish a business profile and submit the contact information to the appropriate people. This is if the broker or owner somehow employs an outside agency to handle the rental process.

    How or why the property manager or landowner manages their references will determine how the tenant supplies the referrals. For example, he/she must manually submit a printed version of the documentation along with the reference’s contact information.

    Character and Credibility When the tenant is an Employee

    There are a number of records a tenant can submit as proof of having a job and relative income even if he/she is an employee. This frequently consists of three to six of the latest recent paychecks received by the employer.

    The procedure of verifying revenue is becoming a lot more pleasant due to technological advances. The procedure can be streamlined on many occasions due to advancements in financial infrastructures.

    Character and Credibility When the tenant is Self-Employed

    If the tenant uses an accountancy partner, he/she may be required to provide the letting agents with their contact information. This step is required so that they can contact them for a referral.

    If the tenant works as a freelance and doesn’t use an accountant he/she may be asked to demonstrate his/her income in other ways. Usually, there will be a longer time frame request, somewhere between 1 to 3 years.

    The landlord or leasing agency will use the documentation to do an eligibility check. This check will essentially determine whether or not the tenant is capable of making rent payments every month.

    As a general rule, the tenant’s income must be thirty times more than the monthly payment. This is to complete this part of the admission procedure. It’s crucial to remember that the homeowner or property manager cannot conduct a background check without consent and that they cannot charge the tenant for such a procedure.

    Checking Credit Score and other documents to rent a flat  

    The paperwork required to rent a home and relocate includes credit checks. That is because the landlord can learn more about your credit score. The owner gets a better understanding of your potential rent-paying reliability. That is determined by several variables, including missing account defaults, payments, and unpaid debts.

    While having negative creditworthiness doesn’t always preclude a tenant from renting the house, it does not boost the chances. Since the letting agent or landlord may access all the information about the credit score electronically, he/she won’t have to do much relative to the credit check.

    How to rent a house without proof of income in the UK

    The typical workweek has been reimagined with the evolution of the characters of the internet drifter and the permanent freelancer. Even if this has created a special market for employment, it frequently makes it challenging to assess the income of such professionals. It is possible to obtain a rental apartment without having a stable source of income when someone wants to relocate to the UK.

    It will be up to the tenant to choose the appropriate location to live in today’s rental market. There are occasions when renters must meet certain requirements to rent a property. Even though providing evidence of income might be challenging in many situations. It is often a requirement for renting an apartment.

    Remember that, although the rent guarantor might be an acquaintance or member of the tenant’s immediate family, if he/she doesn’t have a stable source of income that person will be crucial in the application process to rent a property. Indeed, a person acting as a rent guarantor on a contract for a rental flat will allow others, who lack proof of income, the chance to rent. This is now a typical practice among tenants, especially when it comes to young students studying abroad.

    Furthermore, people who are truly unemployed or underemployed may find it difficult to show documentation of their income. It’s also crucial to remember that their lack of income documentation doesn’t always demonstrate a renter’s dishonesty.


    Because of the great demand for real estate, many potential tenants could be eager to move into an appealing home or an apartment when one becomes available.

    Whenever a tenant locates the correct area, he/she can pass over the documentation pretty quickly if ready in advance. The above-mentioned documents to rent a flat is all a tenant has to know to have a rental flat in the UK. In particular, it is if the landowner is eager to resolve matters fast. This might give prepared tenants an edge over other applicants who require time to gather their documents.

    No matter wherever someone intends to relocate, it is advisable to, if possible, be prepared with the paperwork. It is also required to check leasing options or rent a flat or residence in advance. 

    Are you a curious tenant that wants to know more? Take a look at our latest article on the Landlord and tenant act 1954


    Why do you need to provide personal documents as a tenant?

    You need to provide personal documents as a tenant to make sure you are a

    What documents do landlords need to give tenants UK?

    Landlords need to issue tenants with a how to rent guide at the start of their tenancy agreement and also the valid energy performance certificates, electrical safety certificates and gas safety certificates if requested

    Do landlords need a copy of your passport?

    Landlords do need a copy of your passport to prove that you have the right to rent in the UK

    Is it legal for a landlord to ask for bank statements UK?

    Yes, it is legal for landlords to ask for bank statements as it is their job to work out if you can afford the rent being asked and that you say you live where you say you do

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    andreas gerazis

    Andreas Gerazis

    Experienced landlord

    Andreas is a certified landlord with extensive knowledge about the UK property market as he has been actively investing for half a decade. Founder of the first three-in-one property management software, Lofti Proptech, Andreas has a brilliant understanding of the details surrounding what it takes to grow and run a thriving property portfolio.