What Do I Have To Serve On A Tenant When They Move Into A Property?

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  • What Do I Have To Serve On A Tenant When They Move Into A Property?

Did you know how many documents you have to be serve on a tenant. These must be served before they move in.

There are now so many documents that you must serve on the tenant before they move in. These documents give them information regarding deposits and how to rent a property. We recently attended at court and were informed by the court. That they must have all the information that the Government now need when dealing with a Possession Order. We often get asked by landlords for advice. We find many tenants do not understand the process. The idea of providing these documents is to give them an understanding of the law.

The documents that you need to now provide for a tenant moving in or as follows: –

How to Rent Guide

There is a How to Rent Guide that is now provided by the Government. You need to supply this to tenants before they move in. You also need to do this when a tenant goes onto a month-to-month basis. Without this being served and acknowledged by the tenants you cannot evict them. The new Rent Guide is updated on various occasions and the current one was done on the 1st June 2019. It is thus important that you have the right documents. For instance, it is almost a check list for tenants of what they should do and has the following:-

Assured Shorthold Tenancies

It details in the document what an assured short hold tenancy is. Outlines what the important rights are for tenants. Any questions that they need to ask at such a tenancy agreement. Advises them to read their documents through and the contracts carefully and not to make a quick decision. It gives them a checklist of what they must go through. It gives them the full details of their full rights. The guide is for people dealing on assured short hold tenancies.

It tells the tenant how to deal with either a landlord or letting agent and what questions are asked such as follows:-

  1. Firstly, is the landlord/letting agent trying to charge you a fee. Fees are now banned.
  2. It states how long a tenancy can be either between six or seven years.
  3. Outlines whether you think that you can afford it. It suggests that 35% of your take home pay is the most that people should be able to afford.
  4. It asks whether you are entitled to housing benefit or universal credit. Giving an online calculator on how to check this out and whether you can make a claim.
  5. It asks whether you would like to live in a certain area.
  6. How you are going to look for your home.
  7. It asks if you have your documents ready including immigration status. As you must have the right to rent again please see our previous article on this.
  8. It asks in more detail what the right to rent. Giving a link for people to check on whether they have the right documents.
  9. It asks whether there is a Rent Guarantee. We obviously ask for guarantors for all of our tenants, but the document outlines what payments should be.
  10. It then details the way how to rent a property.
  11. Lastly, when you are dealing directly with a landlord and asks whether they are accredited. It may be a local authority. They may be a member of the National Landlords Association. They may be part of residential landlord Association. Outlining what typical sources of scams there are and gives links to various associations.

How to let through a letting agent. Details of what is now included within the fee ban. Specifically on this it outlines the following:-

  1. A Deposit cap is to check whether the tenancy is less than £50,000. It can only be five weeks deposit.
  2. Deposit protection. It outlines where the deposit is. It gives details of how to claim your deposit back.
  3. Length of tenancy. It states whether the tenancy is 6 month or 12-month agreements.
  4. Bills – it outlines various areas and confirmation of whether you can be charged bills
  5. It outlines details regarding fixtures and fittings and whether you have been given an inventory.
  6. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – it outlines that these are now required obviously by law.
  7. Fitness for human habitation. This is a new bill, please see our article here on this.
  8. Housing in Multiple Occupation. A licence would have to be served on a tenant. Nobody can take the property without a licence being served.

It then outlines the paperwork that you would normally be served with documentation: –

  1. Tenancy agreement
  2. Inventory – it outlines a brief description of what an inventory is such as photographs and description of the property.
  3. Meter readings
  4. Contact details
  5. Copy of this guide
  6. Gas safety
  7. Deposit safety work
  8. EPC
  9. Protection from Eviction

It now states that if the tenancy was started or renewed after the 1st October 2015. Your landlord cannot serve you with a Section 21 Notice unless they have provided you with these documents.

Living in your rented home

The guide gives details of what the tenants must do such as the following:-

  1. Pay the rent on time
  2. Pay the bills
  3. Look after the property
  4. Be considerate to neighbours
  5. Not to take on lodgers
  6. It outlines what a landlord must do such as:-
  7. Maintain the structure of the building
  8. Ensure the property is free from serious hazards
  9. Fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with all appliances using solid fuels
  10. Deal with any problems with water, gas and electricity
  11. Maintaining the appliances and furniture they supply
  12. Carry out any repairs reported
  13. Arrange an annual gas safety
  14. Give at least 24 hours’ notice for a visit
  15. Get a licence for the property
  16. Ensuring that the property has a correct minimum requirement EPC
  17. Lastly, noting that the landlord should insure the property

The guide also explains at the end of the tenancy what the tenants need to do. It is a checklist as follows: –

  1. Firstly, whether they wished to go onto a fixed term or rolling contract
  2. Secondly, whether the landlord wants to increase the price and if so what the landlord has to do
  3. Thirdly, how to give a legal notice
  4. How to deal with the return deposit
  5. To make sure that all of their rent is up to date.
  6. To make sure their bills are all paid
  7. Lastly, to make sure that the property is clean and all their items have been removed

It lists out a complaint’s procedure. How to deal with financial problems. What if the property is unsafe? How to report to local authorities. What the tenant can and can’t be charged on their deposit. It has various agencies for them to gain free advice.

The document is now very extensive.

The second document you need to serve on the tenant is the assured shorthold tenancy.

An Assured shorthold tenancy outlines the terms of the agreement between the parties such as the landlord and tenant. It gives the full address of the property, the term and how much the rent and deposit is. Laying out what the landlord can and cannot do in relation to his obligations such as repairs etc. Outlining how the deposit will be held together. What the landlord can deduct in respect of deposits. How to deal with this.

Our tenancy agreement has a substantial number of clauses contained within it. These are both for landlords and tenants to deal with every eventuality. It is a document that has been approved by Trading standards and our solicitors.

The assured shorthold tenancy is the most important document as it deals with everything between the parties.

Deposit Protection

What do I need to serve when it comes to the deposit?

There is a prescribed information relating to the tenants deposits.

This is one of the most important documents that you can give to a tenant. Each individual scheme has their own way of dealing with this. But all of them have the same conditions as to what should be supplied. We often find that when we take other properties over from letting agents that they don’t do this correctly.

The Prescribed information has the names of the tenant on the document. Also it has the landlord’s name. It has the details of exactly what the scheme is for. Where it is protected.

However, the one item that many letting agents do not add is the terms and conditions of each individual scheme itself. These often run into 19 to 20 pages. The prescribed information must be signed and acknowledged by the tenant. This must be done within 30 days of the tenant moving in. A tenant not signing it means they have not acknowledged it. They must acknowledge the document within 30 days. In the event the landlord does not they may have difficulty in regaining possession.

Gas Safety

The law in this area has changed dramatically. When a tenant moves in you must supply a copy of the gas safety. This must be acknowledged by the tenant. The gas safety now must serve within 30 days of being carried out. It can be within 30 days of the date of the renewal date. There was a recent court case that stated if a gas safety is not carried out you cannot serve a notice to quit on the tenant. It is important that landlords understand that this requirement is critical. Therefore, you could be at danger if you have not done this.

Energy performance certificate

An Energy performance certificate must be served on the tenant. The EPC must be a minimum of D or E. It cannot be F or G. If it is an F or G the landlord must make improvements. The maximum they must pay out is £3,000.00. But they must show that they have done their best to improve the rating.

EICR Report

These are now compulsory. All landlords must have an EICR. You may wish to also consider a PAT test. This is a portable appliance test. These must be carried out every 5 years.

HMO licences

These are known as HMOs and are houses in multiple occupation. Every city has its own licencing. They are all very different. The tenant must have any licence scheme.

A recent court case stated if a landlord did not have a licence, they cannot rent their property out. If it was rented by the tenants. Then the landlords can be requested to return the money. In this case the landlord had to repay in full.

Brighton and Hove Council have specific licencing areas throughout the City. They now have a policy for three beds and above where planning and licences are required. It is important that you check or ask us for any advice.

Landlords need to be aware of their responsibilities. It is important as getting it wrong is catastrophic. It is now a minefield of paperwork.

Your tenant goes onto a month-to-month contract. Landlords do not understand they now have to serve the documents again. Yes, as soon as the tenants go onto a month to month you must re-serve the documents.  If not, then again you cannot serve Notice to Quit on the tenant. We will be doing a separate article on this so please don’t hesitate to read this.

Lastly, we have previously written an article going into more detail on HMO’s please click here to read.


It is so important that landlords understand their responsibilities and the legality of letting property as we have recently taken over a property that a landlord had not done any of the correct paper work.

They had not carried out an energy performance certificate. When we carried this out it was found to be an F. You cannot rent a property at this level. The landlord therefore had to carry out improvements immediately to bring the grading up and this cost quite a substantial amount of money. It was then reserved on the tenant.

The deposit wasn’t registered.

Unfortunately, the deposit wasn’t registered. However, the landlord against our advice prior to serving the notice hadn’t bothered to register it. In this instance the landlord was in breach of the deposit regulations he was liable to a fine/compensation. What the landlord didn’t appreciate is that when the tenancy goes on a rolling basis and every anniversary thereafter he has carried out a technical breach. Ie that he should have reserved all the documentation to confirm it is on a rolling contract every 6 months.

He had not done so. The matter was referred to a solicitors who subsequently tried to make a claim for £16,500 against the landlord. We took the property over from the landlord and negotiated this down to a fine of £3,500. Unfortunately, the fine was still payable and given to the tenant and the release of the full deposit because you cannot rent the property without registering the deposit itself.


Also the landlord had also not carried out an EICR. An EICR was immediately carried out and remedial works done and served on the tenant but the tenant could also have him fined for this.

It is so important that landlords understand what their legal requirements are. Now and on going as more laws come in all the time. Finally, why not contact us for a free 30 minute consultation and a review of your paperwork to make sure you are legally compliant?

Do you have a property you want a valuation on? Why not contact us in this regard to discuss this. Please contact us on 01273 724000.

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
16:42 21 Feb 24
Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
11:18 24 Jan 24
Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
Georgie Prebble
Georgie Prebble
20:36 05 Jan 24
Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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