Expert Advice from a letting agent: How to rent a property

You're ready to move out, but what comes next?
You’re ready to move out, but what comes next?


You’re just about to take the first big step to independence and will shortly be embarking into the big wide world of property rental. You’ve got the Trainspotting poster and the Ikea snake-shaped draught excluder, but just HOW do you go about renting a property?

Here are seven top tips from a friendly letting agent:

  1. Proof of Identity

One of the first things we’ll need is proof of identity.  Yes, we know you told us who you are and you look like the person on your Facebook profile, but it’s industry standard to ask for official identification so remember to bring along your passport or driving licence.  If you can also bring a photocopy of the relevant ID to give to the agent that would be helpful as he or she will need a copy for their files once they have viewed the original.  If you don’t have either of these, bring your original birth certificate together with a copy.


If you are a foreign national, you will need to provide proof that you are legally allowed to live in the UK.  Your letting agent will be able to advise whether your passport or national identity document will suffice.


  1. Proof of Income or a Guarantor

Before you can rent a property we need to know that you can pay for it, so you will need to provide the letting agent with payslips for the last few months. We’re not prying – we’re on your side! There’s nothing worse than finding a beautiful flat, paying your deposit and moving in, then realising you can’t afford the rent. Check with your own agent how far back they want you to go with your payslips.  If you are just about to start a job, ask your employer to write you a letter confirming your monthly salary and take that with you instead.


If you don’t work you will need to provide confirmation from a guarantor that they will pay the rent if you are unable to or fall behind.  They will also need to supply proof of income so make sure you choose your guarantor wisely!


  1. Bank Statements

We know you’ve already provided us with the proof that you earn enough money, but this is another way for us to check that you really can pay the rent every month. Don’t worry, we’re not questioning the late night fast food expeditions or judging your Amazon purchases. Showing us your bank statements means we can make sure you’re not left in an awkward financial situation a few months down the line.


  1. References

If you have rented a property before, then a reference from the previous landlord(s) will be asked for.  This is just to ensure that you will look after the property and you haven’t left a trail of destruction behind you. If you don’t have a reference, speak to your letting agent as they may suggest an alternative.


  1. Be Precise

You need to be precise and tell us exactly what it is that you are looking for. We’re here to help and want you to find the perfect home, but unfortunately we can’t read minds (yet)!  What type of property, how many bedrooms, which area and do you want a garden or not are all things that you need to specify.  We’d rather have too much information than too little as otherwise, we risk wasting everyone’s time setting up viewing appointments at properties which just aren’t suitable.


  1. Be punctual!

If we make viewing appointments for you then please be punctual. If you’re going to be late just pick up the phone and let us know; those extra ten minutes could mean another cup of coffee in the office! The same goes for us too and, unless it’s something outwith our control, we’ll always be on time.


  1. Honestly – be honest

We ask that you always be honest with us when showing you potential properties. We appreciate that you might be trying to be polite, but we’re thick-skinned and won’t take it personally.  If it’s not for you, please explain why so that we can fine-tune our search and find you the property of your dreams.


If you get all the above right, then not only will you be a model client for a letting agent but you will be well on your way to finding your dream property!