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Setting rent

Landlords are entitled to receive rent in full and on time. Your tenancy agreement sets out how and when tenants must pay rent and rates. 

This information is for private landlords.

Landlords are entitled to receive rent in full and on time. Your tenancy agreement sets out how and when tenants must pay rent and rates.  

Make sure your tenants are clear on these arrangements to avoid problems. 

Deciding how much rent to charge

You're free to set rent at the level you choose, unless your property is: 

When deciding how much rent to charge, you should consider: 

  • costs such as your mortgage, rates and insurance 
  • the overall condition of the property and furnishings 
  • features such as a garden or parking space 
  • average rent for similar local properties 

Some tenants will rely on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help with rent and might not be able to afford a higher rent.  

You can choose whether to take a tenancy deposit. You cannot ask for more than one month's rent as a deposit.

If you take a deposit, you must: 

  • give your tenant a receipt (if the deposit is paid in cash)
  • protect the deposit in a deposit protection scheme 

Rent in advance

You can ask tenants to pay rent in advance as well as a deposit. Generally, landlords ask for one months’ rent in advance. 

Talk to your tenants about they plan to pay rent, including any shortfall between benefits and the full rent amount.  

Remember that Universal Credit and Housing Benefit are paid in arrears. Make it clear to your tenants that they will need to pay rent in advance until benefits payments begin.  

Getting rent payments right

Talk to your tenants about how rent should be paid. You should consider: 

  • whether rent will be paid in cash or by bank transfer 
  • whether benefit payments will go the tenant or landlord 
  • how any shortfall between benefits and rent will be made up 
  • how you will record payments and any arrears 

If your tenants pay rent in cash, you must give them a receipt when they make the payment.  

Keep in mind that benefit payments may be paid at different intervals, either every four weeks or monthly.  

Tenants struggling to make up a rent shortfall can apply for Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

Remember that excessive fees for late or non-payment of rent could be considered unfair.  

Responsibility for rates

Find out more about rates liability to get payments right from the beginning. 

Be clear from the start of the tenancy who is responsible for paying rates. The law says that, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise, rent includes an amount for rates. 

In rented properties, either the landlord or tenant may have to pay rates.

Rates liability depends on:  

  • what your tenancy agreement says and 
  • what the law says  

Land & Property Services (LPS) is the agency responsible for collecting rates. If rates are not paid, LPS will investigate and pursue the person liable for rates, even after the tenancy has ended. 

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