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The Government has a comprehensive guide on How to rent in England and there is more information on the Private Renting page on the GOV.UK website.

A letter to landlords and letting agent representative organisations from the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government provides further information regarding the legal status of Hong Kong BN(O) status holders, which may help you when renting a property.

Shelter provides advice on finding a home with a private landlord, paying rent and other costs, rental agreements, problems during a tenancy and what to do when you leave.

Local and national letting agencies advertise properties to rent online. You can also register your interest with them and they can email you when a property becomes available in your preferred area. There are a number of property search websites that advertise homes for rent from multiple letting agencies and landlords, or rooms in shared houses. You can easily search for the exact area you want and arrange viewings on websites.

If it is hard for you to look for a property online, you could visit local estate agents. It is also worth asking friends and family, and checking local noticeboards and newspapers.

  • The rental market in the UK can be fast-moving and it may take some time to find a home for rent;
  • Make sure that you view the property you want to rent before you pay a deposit or rent in advance. Be careful with the information you share, to reduce your chances of falling victim to scams or fraud;
  • Do not rent a property directly from an existing tenant (‘sublet’) – the tenant may not have the landlord’s permission to rent to you. If a tenant is just showing you the property on behalf of the landlord they should give you the landlord’s details.

Most letting agencies will want to do a credit check against your name, and ask you for references from a previous landlord, and from your employer to prove that you have enough income to pay for the rented property. These might be difficult to provide if you are moving to the UK for the first time. The letting agencies or landlords may then ask you to pay your rent 6 months, or sometimes even 12 months, upfront. Your deposit should always be put in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme by your landlord or letting agent if you are renting your home on an assured shorthold tenancy.

Please note this is a basic overview, and your experience may be different from somebody else’s, depending on what your budget is, where you prefer to live, whether you secured an employment or not, and whether you are renting via a letting agent or directly from the landlord. It might be a good idea to visit an area before deciding to rent there long-term and try to speak to some people who already reside there.