In this article:
- 1 Government Websites And Tools
- 2 Housing / Legal Advice Services
- 3 The Tenant’s Voice Guides On Renting:
- 4 Tenant Organizations Across The UK:
- 5 Landlord Accreditation Schemes And Regulatory Bodies
- 6 Letting Agent Accreditation Schemes And Regulatory Bodies
- 7 Letting Agent Redress Schemes
- 8 Deposit Protection Schemes
- 9 Renting Advice Websites And Housing Law Blogs
- 10 Renting And Property Forums
- 11 Renting Tools And Services
Renting for a longer period of time will undoubtedly present you with challenges and problems you haven’t faced before.
If you’re looking for more help, OR you don’t know if the information you’ve read is credible, the following collection of websites is just the thing you need. This page is an index of the best renting related websites, tools and organizations to help you solve a problem and lead a better life on rent.
We’re going to continue updating and improving this page, so you can bookmark it for later use, when you need it. Also, please suggest any great renting websites and tools we have missed. We’re counting on you for your contributions.
Government Websites And Tools
The Government Website
The government website offers a huge amount of information about your rights and responsibilities when renting, working and living in the UK. If you’re new to renting, or new to the UK (or both), this is the best starting point you can ask for.
The Official Legislation
The online online portal is where the government publishes old and new legislation. If you’re looking for a law that relates to your problem or want to find a specific one, this is the place to be. It’s helpful when you are in dispute with the landlord or the letting agent. Step one is knowing your rights and your landlord’s responsibilities, step two is proving them.
HM Land Registry
The official land registry can provide you information about a property even if you don’t own it. You can purchase a copy of the register, using just the postcode of your property and get information such as the owner’s name, the floor plan and whether there is a mortgage.
This will come in handy when you need to find or verify your landlord’s identity.
How to Rent (Government)
The Government’s guide “How to Rent” is a legal requirement included in the Deregulation Act 2015. Landlords have to serve you with a copy of this guide (could be in digital PDF format as well), at the start of each Assured Shorthold tenancy, so you can get to know your tenant rights and responsibilities.
For tenancies starting after October 1st 2015, the landlord cannot use a Section 21 “no fault” eviction notice if this guide was not provided to you.
This tool helps you find your local council with just your postcode. You will need the council for a great deal of task. One of the most important ones is paying your council tax, which is your responsibility when renting privately.
The council can also help you when your landlord ignores their responsibilities, for example by not repairing a known problem that causes you inconvenience. The Environmental Health Department makes sure living conditions are maintained in rented accommodation and helps citizens resolve problems with their rented properties.
Each time the landlord is not acting as they should, you may seek the help of the Environmental Health Department at your local council.
Contact Local MPs and Councilors – Write To Them
When neither your landlord, or your council will listen, your last option remains in the politicians that govern you. Write to them is a great website, ran by the mySociety charity, that helps citizens connect with their MPs, councilors, assembly members and lords.
Note: This is not a government website, but is placed here for consistency and organization purposes.
Housing / Legal Advice Services
Shelter is the oldest housing and homelessness charity in the UK. Formed 1966 the organization has been helping people find a place to call home ever since.
Shelter runs a free housing advice helpline where you can call and get help with your renting problems every day of the year. If you have an issue with your home, call Shelter at 0808 800 4444.
To find advice locally, in person, you can use the Shelter Advice Finder, to get in touch with a local bureau of Shelter, Citizen Advice or other humanitarian organizations.
Finally, you can use the Shelter website, where you find a plethora of knowledge and information about renting, tenant and landlord rights, responsibilities and what to do at when at risk of homelessness.
Citizen Advice is the largest network of public, housing and consumer advice providers. Government established and funded 1939 and has helped citizens with problems of ANY KIND ever since.
They run the biggest consumer advice service, including:
3,500 physical locations – Find the nearest one to you at their website, or using the Shelter Advice Finder.
Citizen Advice consumer helpline – call 03454 04 05 06 to get consumer advice – Mon – Fri – 9am – 5pm
Citizen Advice online – Where you will find the biggest database of consumer advice on: housing, debt and money, healthcare, work, law and rights, tax, and everything in between.
Housing Executive NI
Housing Executive NI is the strategic housing authority in Northern Ireland. They offer a wide range of services for private and social renters, including online advice, accommodation and a phone helpline – 03448 920 900.
If you’re renting in Northern Ireland, this is where you go to solve problems with your rented property, or find accommodation.
Law Centers Network
The Law Centers Network offers local help to communities. You can visit a local Law Center from the list and you can receive free legal help and representation on matters regarding social welfare, housing, employment and public and communal issues.
Each local Law Center is operated and managed by local people of your community, which ensures that you get relevant help and advice to your problems.
Lawworks is a unique charity that connects individuals looking for legal advice and help with lawyers and specialists that have agreed to work on cases for free. This pro-bono means of operations ensures that people have their needs serviced by working (and competitive) legal professional for free.
Legal advice is available for all kinds of situations and issues, of which housing is only a fraction. However, when you’re looking for a solicitor to help you out, but you can’t afford it, Lawworks is one of the first places to check.
Advice4Renters, previously Brent Private Tenants Rights Group, is an organisation entirely focused to provide advice and help for private tenants in London.
The organisation can help you out with legal information and advice regarding renting. Their Legal Aid advice service a free scheme, where anyone can get help with their housing problems, however, it is limited to a fixed number of cases each year, as it operates under Government funding.
If you can’t get free help, Advice4Renters offers low-cost paid legal services, the fees for which will be spent on charity and campaign work.
The Tenant’s Voice Guides On Renting:
The following guides are produced by The Tenants’ Voice and cover popular topics where tenants and landlord often dispute. The guides are reviewed by our own lettings expert – Kristjan Byfield.
The guides will explain the laws at work for the given topic. You will learn your rights, responsibilities and get actionable advice on how to resolve each problem.
Additionally, you will find template letters to help you ease your official communication with your landlord or letting agent.
Get Your Heating Or Boiler Repaired In 4 Steps
Heating and hot water are essential utilities to every home. Many tenants experience problems with their installations, especially during the cold seasons.
It’s your landlord’s responsibility to repair and maintain your heating system and boiler. All rented properties must meet sufficient room temperatures and provide hot water at all times.
Download this guide and get your heating installation and boiler in check.
Moving in? – Get Your Deposit Protected
If you ever rented, you undoubtedly have dealt with tenancy deposits. Surprisingly, not all tenants and not even all landlords know the rules about tenancy deposit protection.
Your landlord is responsible for protecting your deposit with a government-authorised scheme. They have to complete a very strict procedure and meet the legal deadline. Otherwise, you may be eligible for a compensation.
Moving out? – Get Your Deposit Back
Because of the complexity of the topic, we also made a separate guide on how to deal with deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy and get your money back.
Many tenants experience a very stressful time the end of the tenancy. One contributing factor is that often landlord are hard on the tenant regarding the check-out condition of the property and try to claim large sums of the their deposits.
To make sure your property is ready for the check-out inventory, you should download this guide and follow the steps.
Tenant Organizations Across The UK:
Generation Rent is the leading campaign organiser to secure professionally managed, secure, decent and affordable privately rented homes.
Generation Rent works to change the laws, policies and attitude of the private rented industry to help private tenants live a better life on rent. Furthermore, it helps communities to setup local action groups that will lead the fight in their area.
If you feel the industry is unfair for private renters, visit Generation Rent and see how you can take action !
Private Tenant Local Groups
Tenant groups offer help and support for all their members. By joining your local tenant organisation, you will get access to a lot of information regarding renting and relationships between landlords and tenants. You can attend meetings and events, where you can network with other tenants and get to know like-minded people.
This will make you part of something bigger and allow you to effectively campaign and act to change the legislation and policies that hurt tenants and make renting better for everybody.
Here are some local tenants groups that we know of:
- Brent Private Tenants Rights Group
- Camden Federation of Private Tenants
- Blackpool Private Tenants Forum
- Organisation of Private Tenants (Scarborough)
- Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group
- Greater Manchester Private Tenants Group
- Hackney Private Tenants Group
- Islington Private Tenants
- Lambeth Renters
- Lewisham Private Tenants
- Tower Hamlets Renters
- Waltham Forest Renters
Landlord Accreditation Schemes And Regulatory Bodies
The following associations and organisations provide landlords with training and accreditation. They serve to professionalise private landlords and offer them support and guidance. It’s recommended that you always choose a landlord who has credentials of one of the following associations.
Landlord associations enforce a professional code of conduct, which rules that member landlords should act ethically and uphold all their legal responsibilities. Additionally, they offer a complaint route available for tenants and information about renting.
You can contact the association you’re landlord is a member of, and validate whether your landlord follows the rules in the given situation. As the accreditation schemes are voluntary for landlord there is no way for an association to enforce the law upon the landlord, but they can assist you in solving problems and negotiating.
The biggest landlord associations and accreditation schemes are:
- National Landlords Association
- Residential Landlord Association Accreditation Scheme
- National Code
- London Landlord Accreditation Scheme
- Accreditation Network Uk
Letting Agent Accreditation Schemes And Regulatory Bodies
Similar to landlord associations, letting agents also have accreditation schemes and associations. They offer training, support and tools to become real professionals in the letting industry. It’s always recommended to deal with letting agents who have some form of accreditation by a large national scheme. In doing so, you can at least make sure the letting agent will KNOW the laws and a decent security they will also follow them.
The biggest letting agents associations and accreditation schemes are:
- Association Of Residential Letting Agents
- Uk Association Of Letting Agents
- National Approved Letting Scheme
- Safe Agents
Letting Agent Redress Schemes
In addition to voluntary accreditation schemes, letting agents are also required by law to participate in a government-authorised redress schemes. There are only three schemes available in England, so it’s easy to check whether your letting agent is following the rules…
From 1st October 2014, the government introduced a new legislation, requiring letting agents to sign up to a redress scheme. Not complying with this rule is a criminal offence and the local council can fine the letting agent up to £5000.
Tenants can use the redress scheme to complain against the letting agent and request help in resolving a dispute. Things that you can complain about include:
- Unfair, undisclosed or vague letting fees;
- Misleading property marketing and unclear descriptions;
- Not respecting tenant rights or breaking the law;
The three government-authorised letting agent redress schemes are:
Deposit Protection Schemes
When you enter in an Assured Shorthold tenant, which is the standard type of tenancy in the private sector, you will most likely have to pay a deposit between 4 – 6 weeks worth of rent. To combat the huge disparity between the power of landlords and tenants when the tenancy ends and the deposit is to be split, the government introduced a new legislation on 6th April 2007.
According to the newly updated Housing Act 2004, private landlords are required to protect their tenants’ deposit in a government-authorised scheme, which will hold the money for the duration of the tenancy and when it ends, assist landlords to fairly discount money from the tenant’s deposit AND assist tenants in getting back their deposit.
The procedure to protect the deposit is strict and the landlord needs to meet a set deadline before they fail the legal requirements irreversibly. Deposit protection has further implications in addition to the deposit money alone.
Landlords who fail the procedure cannot use valid Section 21 eviction notices and are liable for compensation following court action.
The three government-authorised deposit protection schemes are:
Renting Advice Websites And Housing Law Blogs
The Tenants’ Voice
At The Tenants’ Voice, we offer a great amount of information our Help and Advice section. More than 150 articles will help you learn your rights, your responsibilities and the laws that govern your rented property.
Furthermore, we publish weekly articles that cover popular questions or interesting insight into the rented industry.
Landlord Law Blog
The Landlord Law Blog is ran by Tessa Shepperson, one of the most renowned landlord and tenant law specialists. She frequently discusses laws and regulations and deconstructs their significance for different situations.
If you’re looking to understand how landlord and tenant law works and learn the intricate details of landlord and tenant relations, Landlord Law Blog is one of the best places to visit.
The Landlord / Property Investment Project
Property Investment Project is a blog maintained by “The Landlord” as he calls himself. The Landlord discusses his journey into property investment and being a landlord on a daily basis. As DIY landlord, he often publishes valuable information for landlords on how to manage a property, what responsibilities they need to take care of and generally how to do a good job as a landlord.
In the process, The Landlord shares valuable first-hand information into the rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords.
Property Industry Eye
Just as the name suggests, Property Industry Eye is the watchdog of the lettings industry. If you’re looking for news about the private renting sector, interesting opinions of lettings professional and the newest information on legislation changes regarding renting, “the EYE” as it’s commonly referred is a resource you don’t want to skip.
Renting And Property Forums
If you rent long enough, you’ll eventually end up in a situation where no textbook tells you how to handle. In this case, you will need specific advice for your unique need. Of course, you can go and book an appointment with a solicitor, or phone Shelter, or Citizen Advice, but the Internet offers a great way to get access to information on specific questions – forums.
The forums below, big and small, offer a great opportunity for tailored advice. Just always remember to take information as is, and to pursue more credible help before taking actions that can potentially backfire and cause more problems than it solves.
- The Tenants Voice Forum
- Landlord Forum Project
- Money Saving Expert Forum (renting)
- Property Tribes
- Landlord Zone
Renting Tools And Services
Rentonomy is an absolutely fabulous website. The company makes great efforts to research London’s renting industry and provide insightful information for tenants. If you’re planning to live in London, this website will help you drill down in the thousands of options you have and pick the right area, rent budget, and the finite details of your next property.
Rentonomy also runs a property search engine, although not a match for portals like Rightmove in that category.
Letting Fees Uk
Letting Fees UK is a project created by Generation Rent to compare letting fees for more than 900 letting agents across London. The goal of the project is to highlight inconsistencies in the industry and provide a broader picture into what kind of fees are being charged to tenants by various letting agents.
You can use the website to research a letting agent with no or low fees who serves an area you’d like to rent. By approaching renting from this angle, you ensure that your expenditure on lettings fees is brought down to a minimum.
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