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How to rent in UK

Renting a property in England takes a lot of time and is somewhat different from the process of renting housing in Ukraine. 

The main thing you need to immediately decide on is where exactly (in which city, district) you want to rent housing. If you already have a job in England, and/or your children are already attending school here, carefully study the transport links to the area in which you plan to rent housing. will help you with determining the optimal route and time to the address you need.

1. Where to look for housing:

The most popular method is to search the Internet.

On housing search sites:

With the help of sponsors or acquaintances - ask for the help of your sponsors or acquaintances, perhaps they can recommend someone who rents housing.

Offices of real estate agencies - look for offices of real estate agencies in your city. They always have up-to-date housing offers. Go to the offices of agencies and ask for options that will fit your search criteria. 

Agencies working at Moseley, Birmingham:

Remember, in England there are queues for rental housing, so if you find an option that suits you, call immediately, or rather go to the agency and say that you want to rent this housing. The next step will be to make an appointment a physical review of housing.

Never pay money without looking at housing with your own eyes. 

You can get more information about a specific area in Birmingham here.

2. Move-on Grant for Ukrainians who came to Birmingham under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

To help Ukrainians move from sponsors to independent housing, Birmingham City Council established this grant.

Depending on the composition of the family, Ukrainians can receive financial assistance in the amount of £3.000 - 4.000  (payment of money can be divided into several payments). 

Funding available:

  • If your household has 1 to 3 guests, you can get up to £3.000

  • If your household has 4 guests, you can get up to £3.500

  • If your household has 5 guests or more, you can get up to £4.000

What these funds cover (you can choose what to cover):

  • deposit fees and rent in advance

  • purchase of furniture and household items

  • electricity and water bills

In order to further motivate the agency or landlord to rent out housing for you, be sure to talk about this grant and give a link to the original source.

Apply for a Grant.

This grant is not paid if you have not yet rented a house or have not found the option you need and do not have a contract to rent it.

3. Viewing housing. Important points.

While viewing the property, carefully review everything inside and take a photo. 

Pay attention to:

  • type of heating in housing

  • type of electricity and gas meters

  • is there a water meter or not

  • is there a boiler in the house and does it work

  • see if the plumbing is working properly

  • check windows and doors

  • check if household appliances work

  • check internet speed test

  • see if there are signs of mold in the home.

If when viewing housing you understand that this is exactly what you were looking for, tell the Landlord about it immediately (this will increase your chances of renting).​

4. Reserve housing.
For the reserve of housing for you, the Landlord may ask you to make a deposit - Holding deposit.

Holding deposit is an optional payment and by law it should not exceed the rental price for one week.

Holding deposit is made only after agreeing on the terms of the rent, namely:

  • who rents property

  • the amount of rent and the frequency of payment for rent (once a month or twice a month)

  • date of settlement in housing

  • renting term

The Agency or Landlord must e-mail you a contract template with pre-agreed terms and provide details for payment of the holding deposit. No more payments should be required from you. Pay for holding deposit only to a bank account, do not give money in cash.

Holding deposit will be returned to you if Landlord does not want to rent out housing to you.

An exception may be:

  • you have provided false information about yourself

  • you are illegally in the UK and have not passed the Right to rent check

  • you yourself refused to rent this property.

Some agencies and landlords say that the deposit is not refundable if you have not passed the affordability check, that is, the solvency check, often arguing that this check costs them money. It's illegal. ​

If you are not returned a holding deposit, write to the Agency or the Landlord that it is illegal and quote paragraph 3(b) of Schedule 2 of the Tenant Fees Act 2019, say that you will complain to Property Ombudsman. 

5. Referencing. Tenant check.
Before signing the lease agreement, you will be checked according to two criteria: the right to rent housing and solvency. 

"Right to rent" is a mandatory check in England.
Through these links, you get a share code and provide it to an agency or landlord. Additionally, you may be asked for the original or a copy of your BRP. 

"Affordability check" - proves to the landlord that you are able to pay rent.

For this check, you must provide:

  • Proof of income in the UK. This can be a signed job offer (if you are not already working, but soon starting to work), a contract with your company, or payslips for the last 3 months if you are already working. The income level is estimated using the following formula: "Rental price x 12 x 2.5 = your minimum income per year BEFORE taxes."  

  • Landlord reference, that is, a review from the previous landlord, if you had one. If not, you can provide a letter from the sponsor about your cleanliness and reliability.

  • Additionally, you may be asked for bank details to check your credit history, that is, whether you are a debtor. 

These details are provided directly to the agency or landlord, or you upload them to a referencing service such as Goodlord or Homelet.  

The referencing process lasts from 2 to 8 days. Upon its completion, the agency or landlord will notify you of the decision to rent you housing. By law, a landlord has 15 days to sign a lease agreement with you or refuse you and return the holding deposit.

6. Payments under the rental agreement.

  • The rent is specified in the contract

  • Holding deposit - a pledge for the reserve of housing for you, for the period of the referencing process (verification of the right to rent and solvency). It is paid before the conclusion of the lease agreement and is limited to 1 week of the cost of rent. 

  • Security deposit - a pledge in case you damage your home or violate important terms of the contract, for example, leave earlier than specified in the contract. It is paid after signing the lease, usually before the date of settlement. By law, it is limited to 5 weeks of rental price (6 weeks if the annual rent is above £50,000). This deposit is placed on the protected account of an independent organization. It is returned to you after eviction if the terms of the contract were not violated and you did not damage the home.

  • Payments related to early termination of the lease at the request of the tenant. 

  • Payments limited to £50 (or reasonably incurred costs if higher) for the change, assignment or renewal of the lease after the conclusion of the contract.

  • Payment of utilities, communication services, television license and municipal tax (council tax), if they are specified in the contract.

  • Penalty for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key / protective device that opens access to housing, if it is stipulated by the lease agreement. 

7. Signing an agreement.

If the landlord agrees to rent out housing to you, he will send you an agreement for signing. Read it carefully before signing.

Check the agreed terms of the contract, namely:

  • lease term and date of settlement

  • the size of the deposit and the terms of its payment

  • schedule of payment of rent payments

  • who pays for utilities

  • is an apartment with furniture for rent

  • what additional payments may arise and under what conditions

  • who has the right to live in housing (all adults 18+ years old are indicated by name, children - without a name, only quantity)

  • can pets live, is it possible to smoke

  • are there any penalties for late payment and what is their amount

  • when you have to warn about the termination of the lease

  • terms of protection and return of Security Deposit.

If you are not clear or you are not satisfied with the conditions, ask them to explain and make changes. If you are dissatisfied with the lease agreement because there are unfair conditions that you have not previously been informed about, the law allows you to refuse to enter into a contract without losing holding deposit.
After verification and approval of the contract, it can be signed. This can be done both in paper and electronic form.
Important! Payment of security deposit and prepayment of rent before signing the contract are illegal.

8. Entrance to housing.

The transfer of housing keys to you usually takes place on the first day of the lease at the agency's office.

What should be done immediately after check-in:

  • Describe the property. Coordinate the inventory with your landlord and, for an additional guarantee, take photos and send them to the e-mail of the agency or landlord. This will make things easier if there is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the lease. If you are satisfied with the description, sign it and save yourself a copy.

  • Fix meter readings. Take readings of electricity, gas, water meters, preferably with a date and time. This will help make sure that you do not pay the bills of the previous tenant or consumption during the downtime of the housing between tenants. Ask the landlord or agency for contacts of utility providers and enter into contracts with them.

  • Connect the Internet.

  • Contacts. Make sure you have the correct contact details of the landlord or agency, including a phone number that you can use in case of an emergency. You have the legal right to know the name and address of your landlord.

  • Practice Code. Ask if your landlord or agency has signed a set of rules that can give you extra confidence about their behaviour and practices.  

  • Submit data to the Job Centre for Housing Benefit through the form Report a change/ Where you live and what it costs. To do this, you need to do: photos of the pages of the lease agreement with information about the landlord, the term of the contract, the number of rooms in the rented housing, rent, a page with signatures, photos of payment checks, confirmation of the address (the first bill, most often it is Counsil Tax). 

  • Create an account to pay for Counsil Tax.

  • Change the address of residence: in the bank, driver's license and car registration, car insurance (if any), the child's school, the contract for mobile services (if there is a contract).

Documents to be provided to you by the Landlord:

  • A copy of the "How to Rent: England Rental Checklist" guide in print or, if you agree, by email in PDF format. 

  • Gas safety certificate. The landlord must provide you with a copy of this certificate before you enter the home, as well as a copy of the new certificate after each annual gas safety check if there is a gas installation or appliance.

  • Deposit documents. If you have deposited a security deposit, the landlord must protect it in accordance with the government-approved scheme within 30 days and provide you with information on this. Make sure that you receive official information from the landlord and that you understand how to get your money back after the rental period expires. Save this information as you will need it later. Do not give security deposit in cash to your hands, use non-cash methods of transferring funds.

  • Energy efficiency certificate indicating the energy efficiency rating of housing (provided by the Landlord before the start of rental housing). As of April 2020, all properties leased privately must have an EPC Band E or higher energy efficiency rating before leasing (unless the current exception applies). 

9. When renting a home, you must:

  • Pay rent and utility bills in a timely manner.

  • Take care of the condition of the home. You must return the house in the same condition in which you rented, taking into account normal wear and tear. Before you start repairing or decorating, get written permission from the landlord on them.

  • Use electrical appliances correctly.
    Make sure you know how to use the boiler and other appliances and know where the shut-off valve, fuse box, and all the meters are located. Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors regularly – at least once a month.
    Notify your landlord of the need for repairs. If you think that some kind of repair is needed, you must notify the landlord about this - failure to notify about the need for repairs may be a violation of the lease agreement. In extreme circumstances, there may be a failure to return your security deposit if minor repairs turn into a serious problem because you did not report it on time. Consider insuring your property — usually a landlord has home insurance, but it doesn't cover anything that belongs to you. Consider installing a smart meter if you are responsible for paying your electricity and gas bills. Read the guide on your rights and information on how to install a smart meter. We recommend that you report this to your landlord before installing it.

  • Behave decently. Antisocial behaviour can be a legitimate reason for your landlord to evict you.

  • Do not hook up roommates. In order for a person not specified in the lease agreement to live with you, you need to obtain written permission from the landlord, unless the right to sublease is spelled out directly in your lease agreement. Most leases in the UK expressly prohibit sublease. 

10. Lendlord's obligations.

The law clearly regulates Lendord's obligations.

These include:

  • checking housing for its safety

  • preservation of the appearance of housing

  • installation of smoke sensors and carbon monoxide sensors in rooms with devices operating on solid fuel (coal or firewood) and their verification. If the housing does not have these sensors, ask the landlord to install them

  • carrying out repair work in the dwelling. In the event of any breakdown in the housing, immediately inform the Landlord or the agency

  • solving household problems in housing (with water, electricity, gas)

  • solving problems with furniture and appliances that are provided with housing

  • organization of an annual gas safety inspection by a gas safety engineer

  • organization of a 5-year electrical safety inspection by a qualified and competent person

  • obtaining permission from the tenant to access the home, for example, for repairs or inspections, in at least 24 hours, and these visits must take place at a reasonable time. A landlord or agency is not eligible to enter a home without your express permission. 

11. How to get help for housing.

If you live in England and you have a low income, you are eligible to apply for housing benefits. Depending on the cost of rented housing, housing assistance may cover full or partial rent (monthly payment).

In order to understand what kind of benefit you can receive, use the UK government-approved benefit calculator

Housing assistance depending on the age of the applicant.

  • People under retirement age (up to 66 years old) can apply for Housing Element of Universal Credit in the Universal Credit online account. 

  • People of retirement age (66 years or more) can apply for Housing Benefit through the website of the local council (City Council).

When renting housing by people who make up more than one household, each of these households applies for housing assistance separately, for its share of the rental price, which is specified in the contract. 

Change of address of residence in England.
After moving to a new home, you need to notify various services about the change of your address, namely:
• Your bank
• Your immigration account, if you have one – 
• Your BRP –

• Child Benefit Service – or by phone 0300 200 3100
• Job centre (change circumstances) or Pension Credit
• Mail forwarding for a fee from Royal Mail to send emails to your new address –
• Your GP (family doctor)

• Your child's school
• DVLA about changing the address in the driver's license Change the address on your driving licence: Apply online - GOV.UK (
• Insurance company (car insurance)


If you have any housing issues, you can contact the Spring Housing Association Home - Spring Housing by phone 0121 663 1443, or via email

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