Step by step guide to renting 

Before you start looking for the right property, first consider what your priorities are – location, number of bedrooms, size of lounge etc and match them against your available budget.  Using a rent affordability calculator will help you to do this.

You can then start looking for the right property that meets your criteria. You can register online with us for property updates or find the office that covers the area. Setting up an online account is a great way to ensure that as soon as any property comes up that matches your criteria you are immediately notified.

Once you have found a property that you are interested in get in touch with the office to arrange a suitable time for you to view the property.

Our staff are fully trained in helping you find the perfect home so the more information you can give them to explain exactly what you are looking for and what is on your wish list will assist them in helping you to find ‘home’.

If you would like to rent a property that you have seen you should then notify the agent quickly that you would like to rent it out. From a finance perspective make sure that you consider how much the deposit is and any agent fees that may apply.

At this stage you will normally be asked to pay a holding deposit or something similar. The referencing process then begins and as a minimum will include:

References from your current landlord and employer

Credit checks

Providing identification of who you are

In some circumstances you may be asked to provide a guarantor. The same reference checks are then carried out for your guarantor as were done for you.

We will then inform you if your application has been successful.

A tenancy agreement is then drawn up which details all of the legal and contractual obligations that both you and your landlord must adhere to. It is important that you are familiar with the agreement before you sign it so make sure that you ask for a draft agreement when your application is accepted.

The security deposit and the first rental payment is then taken. It is a legal requirement that the tenancy deposit is registered with a Government approved deposit scheme after it has been paid. Northwood have produced a Tenant guide to tenancy deposit protection which explains in simple terms what is required.

Before you can move in you must pay the balance of any monies owed such as the first months’ rent, the deposit and any outstanding fees.

Before you move in Northwood (or the Landlord) will have had an inventory prepared. This document describes the condition of the property and anything left behind by the landlord. The inventory is used when you leave the property to ensure that the condition that you leave it in can be fairly assessed against any deposit deductions that may come up.

Insurance – your landlord is responsible for insuring the building and their possessions but you may want to take out your own contents insurance. You can get specialist Tenant insurance from Northwood Insurance Services.

Both you and your landlord have responsibilities while you are living in the property

As the tenant you are expected to:

  • Pay the rent on time
  • Pay the council tax
  • Pay all the utility bills and the TV licence unless otherwise agreed
  • Do general household and garden maintenance
  • Dispose of all rubbish
  • Clean the windows
  • Carry out basic maintenance* such as replacing light bulbs
  • Keep the property secure at all times
  • Advise of any repairs or maintenance needed as soon as it arises
  • Ventilate property
  • Not create unnecessary noise for neighbours


* We have produced a Maintenance guide containing the details of who is responsible for some of the common maintenance issues that may arise during a tenancy.


In return you should be able to expect to:

  • Live in the property undisturbed.
  • Be given 24 hours’ notice if access to the property is required
  • Have the landlord maintain the property to a good state of repair (unless you are responsible for the damage)
  • Have all gas, electricity and water supplies  in working order
  • Have access to all operating instructions for any appliances and equipment
  • Be charged a fair market rate

The period of notice that both you and your landlord must provide will be set out in your tenancy agreement. You should tell us as soon as you have decided to move out and we will advise on the next steps and associated timelines. For further details on the different types of tenancies that exist, refer to our Tenant handbook.

At the end of the tenancy we will arrange a check-out appointment. You will need to:

  • Have paid all of the rent due
  • Make sure all of your belongings have been removed from the property
  • Hand back all keys
  • Make sure that the property is clean (to a professional standard) and that all contents are left intact
  • Take a note of the meter readings
  • Redirect mail & cancel all media services
  • Cancel your standing order (we can’t do this for you)
  • Furniture must be left in the same place as stated on the inventory
  • Replace light bulbs that are not working
  • Ensure the garden has been tended to and left in the same condition as stated on your inventory and move in photographs·       Put the rubbish bins out

At the checkout, the property and its contents will be assessed and compared to the initial inventory and subsequent inspection reports.  The results will be reported back to both the landlord and you. The expectation is that the property is left in the same condition in which it was let to you – allowing for Fair wear and tear.


Within 10 working days of the tenancy ending, any deductions from the tenancy deposit should be agreed. The formalities of how and when the deposit is returned will depend on the provider that protects the deposit. You can refer to the Tenant guide to tenancy deposit protection for more information.

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