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By following some basic guidelines and rules, both you and your tenants will know where you stand, which means disputes and rent arrears are far less likely. There are obligations on both sides which need to be met.

Vetting your Tenants

Ensuring your tenants are suitable from the outset could save a lot of hassle later. The most reliable way of reducing the risk of rent arrears is to carry out a credit check. Another good idea is to ask for references from any previous landlords, employers and so on.

The Tenancy Agreement

For your own protection make sure the tenancy agreement is in writing, not simply word of mouth. This is a legally binding contract that covers the rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and tenant. It should include important factors such as the amount of rent payable, how long the agreement is for, the inventory, and details of what the property can and cannot be used for.

Renewing the Contract

Make sure you know when a contract is about to run out and send a letter of extension to the tenant. If you plan to increase the rent you need to notify the tenant in good time so that they can decide whether to renew the agreement.

The Deposit

If you are letting the property on an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common type) you will need to put your tenant’s deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it. If there is a dispute over how much of the deposit is returned at the end of the tenancy, it will be held in the TDP scheme until the issue is sorted out.


When your tenant checks out you’ll want to be there in person to see everything is in order. If you have an inventory report, ensure the contents and their condition matches up with the current state of the property. Complete any paperwork, make sure you get a forwarding address and collect the keys. If the rent and bills are up to date and the property undamaged, you can then return the deposit.
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