Documents required before renting

Our Private Sector Housing team has put together guidance for private tenants and landlords in Wolverhampton. If you have any questions, contact us.

Landlords must provide their tenants with

Landlords do need to remember that if the above aren’t done then they can’t rely on a Section 21 notice if they want to evict a tenant.

It is good practice to provide

  • A written tenancy agreement, and an agreed inventory (including pictures)

Even if a tenant has signed up to a written contract, the clauses in it do still need to be fair, which means that a tenant may not be bound if they are unfair.

This doesn’t mean that a clause is legally unfair because it’s not liked. 

Here’s some detailed guidance about when a clause might be seen to be unfair

Tenancy Deposits

Deposits paid to landlords should be registered in 1 of 3 schemes:

Registration has to happen within 30 days, and you should tell the tenant which scheme it is in as well as to provide information about the scheme itself.

If a landlord doesn’t register a deposit an offence occurs which can see the tenant being awarded three times the value of the deposit in compensation.

Claims on deposits for damage or arrears or any other reason can be made through the schemes.

For more advice on tenancy deposits please click here. 

Paying rent

The tenancy agreement should say how much rent is payable, when it is due and how it should be paid. Rent is often charged in advance, unless stated in the tenancy agreement.

This is the point at which the ‘contract’ starts.

Remember that handing over of money as rent creates a contract. Although a contract should be written down if that hasn’t happened a contract has still begun money has changed hands.

Payment in arrears or advance?

The tenancy agreement should say how much rent is payable, when it is due and how it should be paid.
Rent is often charged in advance, but if that is not stated in the tenancy agreement, the tenant can assume it is in arrears (paid at the end).

Cash payments should always come with a receipt from the landlord or their agent.

It is good practice for all tenants and licensees to have a rent book as a record of rent paid. The rent book, or similar document, must contain the name and address of the landlord, the rent payable and state the type of tenancy granted.

It’s up to the landlord to say how and where they want the rent to be paid, but where a landlord refuses to accept rent the tenant should always hold on to that money in case it is suggested that there are arrears.

It makes sense for a tenant to let the landlord know that the money is available, and this can be done by writing to their address. It is against the law for a landlord not to give an address for correspondence.

Changes to tenant fees

Since the Tenant Fees Act came in there are rules about what new tenants can be charged for, and that includes properties online.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has been changed so that letting agent transparency will apply to online property portals as well such as Rightmove and Zoopla.

If you hear of any laws being broken we’d like to hear from you:

  • Deposits can only be up to the net value of 5 weeks’ of the dwelling concerned
  • Holding deposits can be no more than 1 week’s rent
  • The amount that can be charged for a change to a tenancy agreement is capped at £50 unless the landlord demonstrates that greater costs were involved. This only applies for changes asked for by the tenant
  • Fees can still be charged for the early termination of the tenancy but only if it was requested by the tenant
  • Fines for late rent payments or lost keys, etc the cost of these must be evidenced by a Landlord

View GOV.UK's information on the Tenant Fees Acts here.

We are unable to offer legal advice in these matters and any information on these pages does not constitute legal advice. For up to date information and guidance please visit GOV.UK.