Private renting and home ownership

Help and advice about renting a private property.

Take a look at the housing 'how to' guides 

New Guidance From Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Private sector landlords are required from 1 October 2022 to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a fixed combustion appliance (excluding gas hobs). Landlords are also required to ensure that smoke or carbon monoxide alarms are repaired or replaced once if alarms are found to be faulty.

Before viewing a property

Type of accommodation

Find out:

  • the type of property

  • how many bedrooms it has - are they single or double?

  • how many living rooms it has

  • whether it is furnished or unfurnished

  • whether it is self-contained

  • whether it is shared - and if so what facilities and rooms are shared

Rent and extras

Find out:

  • what the rent is, if you're sharing, if it's charged per room or person

  • if the landlord accepts housing benefit/universal credit - if you will receive help with your housing costs

  • if the rent includes bills

  • if the landlord provides any extras such as laundry or a cleaner

Deposit, advance rent and tenancy

Find out:

  • if you need to pay a deposit and if so how much

  • if you need to pay a month's rent in advance

  • if you'll have a written agreement

A written agreement will set out the terms of the tenancy including:

  • the date the tenancy begins

  • the length of the tenancy

  • the amount of rent payable and when it is due

  • the length of notice you and your landlord need to give if the tenancy is terminated

Viewing a property checklist

  • check the exterior of the property - are the gutters or any pipes leaking?

  • check inside - do the lights work? Do taps produce water?

  • security - do windows and doors open easily and close securely. Are there adequate locks on the doors? Do you have keys for the window locks?

  • are there enough electric sockets?

  • are smoke alarms fitted? And are they connected to the mains, or will you have to replace the batteries?

  • ask to view a copy of the property certificates. These include the energy performance certificate (EPC) and gas and electrical safety certificates. The better rating the EPC gives the property, the lower your utility bills are likely to be. This could save you hundreds of pounds a year.  See energy performance certificate information from Which?

  • if you're moving into shared accommodation, check whether the property should have a house in multiple occupation' (HMO) licence. This usually applies to a property that is three or more storeys and occupied by five or more people who are not in the same family. If it is a licensed HMO, the property should have more safeguards for the tenants, such as fire doors

Use a letting agent

Leaflets on letting agents in the South Kesteven area:

Letting agencies in Grantham

Letting agencies in Stamford

Letting agencies in Bourne and The Deepings

What they can charge you for:

  • a tenancy agreement 

  • an inventory

  • credit checks and references

  • negotiating with the landlord on your behalf

  • renewal of tenancies

What they can't charge you for:

  • taking your details and housing requirements

  • giving you the addresses and details of available properties

Holding fees

If you pay a 'holding fee' to a landlord or agent to have first call on a property, they're under no obligation to reserve it for you - or return the fee.

You can only guarantee a property is yours once you and the landlord have signed a contract and you've paid the rent.

Problems, help and advice

Are you on a low income and need help with paying for your rent?

You may qualify for housing benefit or Universal Credit. To see if you can get this help, which will depend on your personal and financial circumstances, you would need to have an assessment done by the housing benefit/Universal Credit department.

Do you need help with the deposit and rent in advance?

You may be able to receive help if you are homeless or potentially homeless through our rent deposit loan scheme. 

Have you paid a deposit to a landlord?

You need to make sure that your money is protected. Click on the link below for more information about this.

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