Required documents to rent a flat in the UK

18 Nov 2021 - Category: Blog /
rent uk

Everybody knows that looking for accommodation or a place to stay in the UK can be a difficult task. After Brexit, it has become tricky for immigrants to rent a flat in the UK.

Still, there are many places in the UK that would be great places for you to settle down. Cities like London, Manchester, Leeds, Cambridge, Plymouth and Edinburgh all require a similar process to rent a flat, and thankfully it’s easy if you are prepared.

So you may have a lot of questions: What documents do I need to rent in the UK? What kind of references do I need? Are there any special forms I need to fill out before making an application?

Whether you are looking to rent a house or a flat, below we’ve highlighted a few topics to help you learn about how to rent in the UK:

  • Passport and Personal Data
  • Employment Contract
  • Bank Account
  • Credit References
  • Standard References
  • Additional Documents and other items
  • Send money to the UK with Small World

Passport and Personal Data

You will need to provide paperwork that confirms your identity and the address you currently reside in. For most people the easiest way to provide this information is by showing your passport and visa (the latter only if applicable). If you are moving to the UK from overseas, a copy of your visa will be accepted.

You will have to provide further information if other people will be living in the flat such as personal data and copies of passports.

You may be asked questions like, “How long have you been living in the country?” or “What do you do for a living?”

If you come from overseas to rent a flat in the UK you have to prove you have the right to rent in the UK. On the UK Government’s Official Website you will be able to view a checklist of the paperwork you need to prove you have a right to rent. Most likely the documents will be a passport, a national identity card or some form of immigration status document.

Employment Contract and Documents

You will also need documents to show your income and employment status. So it is important to start looking for jobs in the UK before you make the move.

Like in many other places, it is difficult to rent a flat in the UK without having an employment contract that guarantees that you are able to pay for the rent. In addition, they will usually require that your salary should be at least twice the rent.

  • Employed

If you’re an employee the most common document you will be required to submit is your most recent payslips from work. You can also provide your contract of employment or an official letter from your workplace that contains the relevant information such as the length and terms of your employment.

  • Self-employed

If you’re self-employed you will often have to show proof of earnings over a longer time period (1-3 years). The documents that are suitable are bank statements, trading records or tax returns. These documents will enable the landlord to run an affordability check and assess whether your annual salary is sufficient to pay the monthly rent.

Bank Account

It is not a good idea to pay the rent in cash, as you may understand, so it is important that you have a bank account. If you want to rent a flat in the UK you will need to have a UK-based bank account (it cannot be a foreign one). So if you’re coming from overseas you will need to bring the process of setting up a bank account in the UK before you make your move.

You will have to make the monthly payments from that account. You will also be required to have enough funds to cover the expected initial payment, which normally means the first month and a deposit of one or two months in advance.

You will need to provide a security deposit - a sum of money that will be returned to you at the end of your tenacy if the flat is left undamaged and you uphold all your tenacy obligations. In addition, don't forget about the commission of any letting agency involved.

It could be the case that you have just arrived in the UK and you may have only opened your bank account recently. This shouldn't be a problem. However, you may still be asked to show the banking transactions of your foreign account.

Credit References

The landlord or letting agency may also want to run a credit check to assess your credit score before you sign the agreement. This credit score will allow them to see how reliable you are from a financial standpoint. Your credit score is calculated through a combination of financial factors including missed payments, defaults on accounts and unpaid loans.

Even if your credit score is not so great you may still be able to rent the property. However, you may have to pay more rent upfront or have a guarantor co-sign your rental agreement.

Standard References

Alongside credit references you may also have to compile some standard letters of recommendation from employers, former landlords and other notable official figures in your life.

It doesn't have to be a very serious or formal letter of recommendation written by someone arguing that you are the best person in the world, but some kind of standard reference is often needed.

Normally, people get their references from their former employers but a recommendation from your last landlord is also good. References that provide an insight in your character are not always necessary but they make you seem like a more trustworthy and reliable individual to any potential landlord or letting agency.

Additional Documents and other items

Consider the above as the usual requirements, but there can still be a lot more depending on the owner or the agency. Sometimes for example, you will have to allow them to check your criminal record.

All in all, there are a number of documents you need. It is a good idea to put together a folder of all the documents you may need and keep them together when you’re looking for a flat to rent. Alongside your bank and employment documents, you will also may also need to obtain references and further personal data. The easiest way to succeed is to be organised.

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