Renting is on the rise in London. By 2025, around 60% of the population will rent their home, which means it’s well on its way to becoming a city of renters. Fortunately, with an increase in build-to-rent homes, anyone living in the capital will have plenty of choice when it comes to finding somewhere to live. 

But you will need to be familiar with the renting process and everything required from you before moving in if you’re to find a snazzy place in the capital.  

So, if you happen to find yourself asking, “what documents do I need to rent a flat?”, you’ve come to the right place. As a leading London property developer, we're experts in the ins and outs of the UK lettings process.

We’ve put this guide together detailing everything you need to know about the documents required to rent a flat. Read on, and become an expert, so you can move into your next place without any hassle.  



What do you need to rent a flat in London?

Whether you’re renting in London or anywhere else in the UK, you will be required to provide certain documentation. This is to make sure you are who you say you are and to determine your suitability for renting a flat. We’ve listed the documents needed below.  

Documents for tenant referencing

The majority of landlords require you to undergo tenant referencing. That means you will need to provide specific documents that show if you’re suitable to rent a flat. These documents include: 

Employee reference

If you’re employed full time, you will need to provide a reference from your current employer. This is to confirm that you are employed by the organisation and that everything matches up with the information you initially provided.  

Therefore, you will need to speak to your employer to see if they’ll provide a reference. Other details included in the reference relate to your income and provide insight about your character and what type of person you are.  

Landlord reference

Along with your employer reference, you may also need to provide a letter of recommendation from your previous landlord. Again, this is to confirm your character and confirm how long you lived in their property and whether you kept it in good condition during the tenancy.  

Both your landlord and employee reference have a significant bearing on whether you will be able to move into the property. The character reference is important, as your new landlord will want to let someone who will look after the property.  

Employment and income status

The employee reference is important, but you will also need to provide documents providing your employment status and income. These are required to prove that you can afford the rent on the property. 

Full-time employment

Full-time employees will be required to provide payslips from their current employer. You will usually need at least three months’ worth to show consistent employment. Sometimes you may be required to show six months’.  


Being self-employed can be somewhat trickier, as you won’t have employer payslips. Therefore, you will need to provide your earnings over a longer period of time as well as a tax return showing your income. You may need to show three years’ worth of tax returns, though it will be down to the landlord.  

Right to rent

Right to Rent is a legal requirement in the UK, with all landlords needing to check a tenant’s right to live in the UK. You will need to provide paperwork confirming your identity and current address.  

These can come in the form of a passport, driving licence or a utility bill. If you’re moving to the UK from abroad, you’ll need to show a copy of your visa that states your eligibility to live and work in the UK.  

Other acceptable documents include a national identity card, immigration status document or other paperwork accepted by the government’s Right to Rent scheme. Without proving your right to rent, you won’t be able to move into the property unfortunately.  

Credit checks

A credit check will be required as part of the moving-in process and the documents needed to rent a flat. This is so the landlord can gain insight into your credit history to get an idea of how reliable you may be with rent payments.  

You don’t need to do anything for a credit check, as all the documents relating to your credit score can be obtained digitally by the letting agent or landlord. It’s calculated by several factors, such as missed payments, unpaid loans and defaults on accounts.  

A good credit score increases your chances of renting the property, though a bad one doesn’t mean you can’t move in. It will be at the discretion of the landlord, and they may ask for a guarantor on your behalf.  

What is a guarantor?

Some renters require a guarantor because they don’t meet the necessary requirements to move into a rented home. A guarantor guarantees the rent should the tenant fail to make any payments.  

Guarantors must also provide documents to prove they can cover the rent if need be. These documents include proof of income, proof identity, current address and relationship with the tenant.  

The documents needed to rent a flat

Renting a new home is an exciting time and something to look forward to. But it’s important that you have all the necessary documents required. Doing so will speed up the renting process and get you moving into your new humble abode in no time.  

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Mark Flint


Mark is a regular contributor to the Essential Living blog and shares all the latest news and sourcing the very best content for our customers.