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Renting a property from a private landlord

There are more homes available to rent privately. This gives you more choice and a quicker route into finding a home. If you are thinking about renting from a private landlord, make sure you know what's involved, your rights and responsibilities, and the rights and responsibilities of your landlord.


You may find yourself at risk of being homeless for many reasons. Do not wait until you become homeless tell us you are at risk of becoming homeless.

If you need somewhere to sleep tonight contact us on 08081 968 406 or email

Finding a suitable property

Contact us if you need advice about finding a rental property. You can also check if your prospective landlord is a member of our Private Landlord Accreditation Scheme.

Getting a reference

Most landlords will require you to provide references before agreeing to let you rent their property. A reference will include a five year housing history check which covers your rent payments, behaviour and general information about your previous tenancies. Some landlords will also request a credit check.

In certain areas of the county we operate a selective licensing scheme. See selective licensing areas for further details.

Tenancy agreement

Your landlord should provide you with a tenancy agreement when you agree to rent their property. This will include information such as :

  • details of the landlord and tenant/s,
  • details of the rental property,
  • when the tenancy begins and how long it will last for,
  • amount of rent, when it is payable and how often it is reviewed,
  • whether property is furnished or unfurnished
  • who will pay for gas, water, electric and council tax
  • any rules relating to such things as pets, decorating etc
  • the amount of deposit and when payable.

A tenancy agreement is a legal document. Make sure you read it thoroughly, understand it and are prepared to stick by its terms before you sign it.

Establishing the property's condition and an inventory of contents

The tenancy agreement should also include an inventory of all contents and their condition as well as the general condition of the decor and maintenance.  It's important that you check and agree this when you view the property. It may have an impact on how much deposit you get back when the tenancy comes to an end.

Deposit or bond

Any deposit you give to the landlord must be protected through a tenancy deposit protection scheme. You should receive proof of this within two weeks of providing the deposit. This is to ensure that, should the landlord suffer financial problems, you can still get your deposit back.

Health and safety - property access and maintenance

We've set out some basic housing management standards which we expect private landlords and agents, as responsible operators, to adhere to. This is to ensure the comfort and safety of their tenants.

Once the tenancy begins, the landlord and tenant also have certain obligations, in relation to the property's upkeep and repair. You can find more information about this on our property disrepair web page.

Ending your tenancy

Most tenancies are 'assured short-hold' tenancies and have an initial fixed term of at least six months. Once this period is up, your tenancy will become a 'periodic tenancy' or your landlord might grant you a further tenancy on a fixed-term basis.

If you wish to leave a property you should give your landlord the period of notice agreed in your tenancy agreement or risk losing your deposit.

Benefit claims - bedrooms

Find out how the number of bedrooms you have affects your benefits.

Problems with your landlord

The landlord must fulfil their legal obligation to provide you with a safe and secure place to live. If you're in dispute over some aspect of your tenancy, they would be committing an offence if they harass or illegally evict you.

If you're having trouble, we may be able to advise or put you in touch with other agencies who can help. Please contact us with the details. All reports will be treated in confidence.

More information and support

Contact us for further help and information.