How to rent

This guide is for people who are looking for a house or flat to rent.


How to rent: the checklist for renting in England

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The versions of the ‘How to rent’, ‘How to let’ and ‘How to rent a safe home’ guides published here are dated May 2019 and are the most current versions available. See information on GOV.UK for:

The ‘How to’ guides will be updated shortly.

This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities. It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:

  • what to look out for before renting
  • living in a rented home
  • what happens at the end of a tenancy
  • what to do if things go wrong

This is the most up to date version of the Guide. It incorporates all changes detailed in the update history below (although dated May). Note: we have not corrected the date in order to avoid creating a new version.

Published 10 June 2014
Last updated 7 August 2019 + show all updates
  1. 3 June 2019: Corrected to reflect the rebranding of National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) to Safeagent, and to update links to the GOV.UK client money protection scheme webpage. 29 July 2019: The ‘Before you start’ section was updated to clarify Shelter’s advisory role. The sentence ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for help’ was amended to ‘If you don’t have a guarantor, you can ask Shelter for advice’.

  2. Guide updated following the Tenant Fees Act 2019.

  3. On 6 July 2018 the title of the guide was amended to 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England'.

  4. Added updated guide.

  5. Removed reference to the 'London Rental Standard' in the renting 'Direct from the landlord' section.

  6. Updated the How to Rent guide.

  7. Updated with the latest edition of this guide

  8. Added updated guide.

  9. Added information about Acrobat Reader download

  10. First published.