Most tenancies will be based on the tenant having to pay:

  • 1 month’s rent in advance
  • 1 month’s tenant deposit

Sometimes a landlord may request a 5 weeks tenancy deposit. You may be able to apply for a deposit replacement scheme if you prefer not to pay the whole deposit.

Once you’ve selected a property, you will first need to place an equivalent of 1 weeks’ rent of holding deposit to show you are serious about progressing with it.

A holding deposit is a payment to reserve a property. This is usually an amount equal to 1 week’s rent. By paying this, you are showing that you are serious in progressing with a tenancy on a property and agree with the terms and conditions.

Once you’ve paid this, you have 15 days to enter into a tenancy agreement. This is called the deadline for agreement. Once you enter into a tenancy agreement, you will need to pay the remainder of the deposit so that it forms a tenancy deposit.

If the landlord decides not to rent to you, you will get your holding deposit back within 7 days.

The agent can keep your deposit if you:

  • Decide not to rent the property
  • Fail to agree a tenancy by the deadline
  • Mislead the landlord or agent
  • Fail referencing
  • Fail a right to rent immigration check

Misleading Statements

The landlord can keep your money if you mislead them on information which can affect whether the tenancy is to be offered to you or not. An example of this is, if you said your income was a lot higher than it actually is.

Letting agents expect you to prove your identity, show that you are reliable and that you can afford the rent. In order to show that you are the right tenant for a property, the following are the minimum requirements of passing referencing:

  • Passport
  • Recent 3 month’s bank statements
  • Recent 3 month’s pay slips
  • Pass a credit check
  • Pass right to rent immigration check
  • Your combined income before tax will need to be 2.5x the rental amount.

Agents can ask for references from an employer or previous landlord.

You may be able to provider a guarantor if you fail credit checks, if you can’t prove your income or don’t have sufficient income. This is at the discretion of the agent. More on this below.

Starting new employment?

It may be that you are coming from abroad to start a new job and need accommodation ready for when you arrive. You may well even be relocating towns. You could even be getting your first job. To prove you will be able to afford the rent, you will need to provide your employment contract.


You will need to provide your recent accounts (SA302). Your accountant will be able to provide you with this.

Credit checks

Many tenants worry about passing credit checks however the majority do fine. It is unlikely that you have a CCJ on your name if you’ve not attended a court hearing before, although it may well be possible. If you fail a credit check, and the landlord is accepting, you may be able to provide a guarantor to help you work around this, or pay rent upfront.


A guarantor agrees to pay for rent or damages if the tenant fails to pay. You may need a guarantor if you:

  • Fail a credit check
  • Claim benefits
  • Can’t prove your income
  • Are a student

Usually people ask a parent, a family member or a friend can be their guarantor. The guarantor would then sign a guarantors agreement which is a legally binding contract. Their income would need to be 3X the rental amount. Or, if they are a homeowner or have a substantial amount of saving then this can be kept into consideration and is the discretion of the agent.

If you are unable to find a suitable guarantor, for a small fee, you may be able to apply for a company who is willing to be your guarantor. You can get more details of this by visiting

You have the right to rent if any of the following apply:

  • You’re a British or EEA citizen
  • You have indefinite leave to remain or settled status
  • You have permission to be in the UK, for example, on a work or student visa
  • You have refugee status or humanitarian protection
  • The Home Office has granted you a time limited right to rent

If your permission to be in the UK has a time limit, your landlord or agent will do further checks around the time your limit expires. Your eligibility will be assessed again, and you will be required to show evidence.

Passports and residence documents

You can show a passport or residence document to pass the check. If you’re not an EU national, your passport or documents must confirm your permission to be in the UK.

If you don’t have a passport, you have to provide 2 alternative documents instead. For example, a UK birth certificate and driving licence. Find a full list of acceptable documents on GOV.UK: Right to rent user guide. Copies of these documents will be taken by the landlord or agent.

The landlord or agent can either:

You need to give them your Home Office reference number.

If the Home Office doesn’t respond within 2 working days, the landlord can go ahead and rent to you.

The landlord or agent can’t legally offer you a tenancy if you fail a right to rent check. Try and get immigration advice urgently if you’re told you don’t have permission to live in the UK.

Pay upfront:

The agent or landlord may consider your tenancy if you pay rent upfront. It is always a good idea to speak with your agent or landlord and have a dialogue to see if they can make exception or provide a work around. By paying up front you can demonstrate that don’t have any financial difficulties. This usually works well for tenants coming from abroad that need to sort out accommodation first before they can secure a job. This also works well for students who are unable to secure a guarantor.

Rent Guarantee:

Providing you pass a credit check; the agent may be able to apply for rental insurance to cover any risk of you not paying. This is at the agent or landlord discretion and is usually done is special circumstance where the agent or landlords feel you are a genuine tenant who will maintain the property and keep up with your rental payments. This is only to used as a last resort. You can get more details by speaking to your agent.