The average monthly rent in the UK now exceeds £1,100 pcm and continues to skyrocket due to scarcity of stock when demand is soaring. Because there is so much competition for every newly available rental property, it's necessary to be well organised and ready when the perfect rental property becomes available. Here
are our top tips for securing your dream rental property in such a competitive marketplace.

Consider expanding your search location

Many tenants are looking for proximity to work, good transport links, close amenities or other factors that could apply to more than one location.  If possible, try to keep an open mind about the location you choose as widening this area could help you find a new rental home more quickly, and it could also be cheaper than the initial place you had considered. Why not use a map search and pinpoint other locations within a certain distance or travel time to see if any other areas are worthy of consideration? 

Start your rental search early

Most rental tenancies require a two-month notice period, so often, properties will come onto the market two months before they are available for occupation.  Usually, the availability date appears on any rental advert but always ask the landlord or letting agent as the likelihood is they will want as short a void period between tenancies as possible. If you wait too long, you risk missing out on the perfect rental opportunity.  Also, if you are moving from one rental property to another, you will want to be able to do your move-out and move-in on the same day without having to look for temporary accommodation or a friend’s couch to borrow! 

Register with all of the letting agents in your chosen location

When looking for a rental property, cultivating a solid connection with the local letting agents might give you a significant advantage over other applicants. Keep in mind that it is in the best interest of the agent to select a responsible tenant to occupy the rental property, so try to get to know the local letting agents by keeping in regular contact, popping into the office if possible and asking them to get in touch with you before a property is posted on any property websites, social media platforms, or property portals.

Take timely action

Be ready to book a viewing appointment quickly, as rental stock does not hang around for many days (or even hours) in the current market.  When you view a property you like, don’t hesitate to speak to the landlord or the letting agent as soon as possible, or you could quickly
be pipped to the post. Many landlords or agents will have the offer paperwork with them at the viewing, so be prepared to register your interest formally as soon as possible. The usual practice is to secure a rental property with a holding deposit equivalent to 1 week’s rent. 


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This can hold the property for you for two weeks whilst references, checks and tenancy administration is carried out.  

Be ready with your documentation

There are several documents you need to have prepared for the landlord or the letting agent for them to verify your identity, confirm your job status and credit score, and determine whether or not you are legally allowed to rent a property in the United Kingdom. It is certainly worth having this information ready, before you start viewing the property:

List A (Group 1)
Any one of the documents from the list below is on its own

  • UK passport
  • Registration certificate or document certifying permanent residence of EEA/Swiss national
  • UK Home Office issued EEA family permit or Swiss national card
  • UK Home Office issued Biometric residence permit for EEA or Swiss national with unlimited stay
  • Passport or travel document endorsed with unlimited leave
  • UK immigration status endorsed with unlimited leave
  • A certificate of naturalisation or registration as a British citizen

List A (Group 2) 
Any two of the below are to be shown in combination

  • UK Birth Certificate or adoption certificate
  • Full or provisional UK driving license
  • A letter from HM prison service
  • A letter from a UK Government Department or Local Authority
  • A letter from the National Offender Management Service
  • Evidence of current or previous service in the UK Armed Forces
  • A letter from a police force is confirming that certain documents have been reported or stolen
  • A letter from a private rented sector access scheme
  • A letter from a UK further or higher education institution
  • A letter of attestation from a UK passport holder working in an acceptable profession
  • Benefits paperwork
  • Criminal record check

List B
Documents which show a time-limited right to rent

  • A valid passport endorsed with a time-limited period
  • UK Home Office issued Biometric residence card permit for EEA
    or Swiss national
  • UK Home Office issued non-EEA national residence card with a
    time-limited stay
  • UK immigration status document with a time-limited endorsement from the Home Office

Regarding referees or guarantors, make sure you have discussed these with your employer or family/friends before viewing the property so that they can confirm they are happy to act in this capacity and are ready for reference or guarantor requests when they come through. If you work somewhere that closes over specific periods (such as school holidays), and you are hoping to move home during these times, ensure that you have organised someone to be able to provide your references on the correct headed paper or email address in the timescale you require.


Have a flexible attitude toward the contract

If you want to increase your chances of getting the property, try to be
as flexible as possible with the terms you wish. Usually, you will be
asked to list any words you require and whether or not these are
“deal breakers”.

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A willingness to adjust to the landlord's preferences can help to get your offer accepted, as often there is more than one offer on the table. For instance, if the property is not clean to the standard you require, 


consider taking it in that condition and paying for a professional clean at the outset of the tenancy rather than at the end. You will be obliged to return the property in the same state of cleanliness as when you moved in, so if it is not clear at the outset, you can return it in that same condition. Be mindful that you must have proof in the form of a professional inventory and schedule of condition - if this is not offered to you, ensure you document the property yourself (use dated photos, ruler to measure scuffs, black glove to show dust etc.) and provide this to the landlord or letting agent and gain confirmation of receipt.  

Think about signing a more extended tenancy agreement

Changing one tenant to another is always costly for any landlord, so it
is usually more desirable to secure a tenant for 12 or more months.
Of course, there will sometimes be landlords only looking for short-term lets, and this information should be available on the property details, but if it says “long-term", you're not likely to be chosen if you only want six months. Remember that you can always ask to negotiate a "break clause" in your tenancy agreement, but if this is required, you should mention it on your offer form.