Tenants handbook

We want all our residents in Redbridge to have access to the information they need to rent safely and fairly. If you need this information in a different language or in audio, please use our accessibility tool located in the top right hand side of this website. For more information see our accessibility tool help page.


Before you begin renting a property

Before you start your search for a new rental property we would advise you to consider certain things to help you make the right decision based on your individual circumstances.

  • Will you be renting from a landlord or a letting agent?
  • How long do you want the tenancy for? You can ask for a tenancy to be any length between six months and seven years. 
  • What can you afford? Think about how much rent you can afford to pay: 35% of your take-home pay is the most that many people can afford, but this depends on what your other outgoings are (for example, whether you have children).
  • If you are entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you may get help with all or part of your rent. If you are renting from a private landlord your entitlement will be based on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
  • Which area you would like to live in and how you are going to look for a rented home? The larger the area where you are prepared to look, the better the chance of finding the right home for you.
  • Do you have your documents ready? Landlords and agents will want to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and possibly employment documents.
  • Do you have the right to rent property in the UK? Landlords must check that all people aged over 18 living in their property as their only or main home have the right to rent. They will need to make copies of your documents and return your original documents.
  • Will you need a rent guarantee? Some landlords might ask someone to guarantee your rent.


How to rent a property

Renting through a letting agent

You should find out what fees (and costs) you will be charged and when you need to pay them. By law, a breakdown of all fees should be clearly visible to you in the agent’s office and on their website. If this is not the case then please send an email to tradingstandards&licensing@redbridge.gov.uk to investigate, as they may be breaking the law.

Check whether they are a member of a Redress Scheme (someone you can complain to and ask for compensation from if they treat you unfairly). You can check the 2 Redress schemes:

If they are not a member of either of these schemes, please send an email to tradingstandards&licensing@redbridge.gov.uk to investigate, as they may be breaking the law.

The most professional agents are often accredited through a professional body like ARLA Propertymark, RICSSAFEagent or UKALA. These signs will be proudly displayed on their website and shopfront.

We recommend that you only use a letting agent that is accredited and a member of the redress scheme. If your agent isn’t a member of these schemes, you are more likely to experience a difficult and stressful tenancy.

Renting directly with a landlord

Look for landlords who belong to a landlord accreditation scheme.

Redbridge works with the London Landlord Accreditation Scheme but landlords can be accredited through other national schemes such as: National Landlord Association (NLA), The Residential Landlord Association and The Guild of Residential Landlords. If your landlord is not accredited, make sure you know their full name and address (such as a photo of a driving licence) before sending them a holding deposit.


Under the Tenant Fees Act, some fees that may have previously been charged to tenants are now banned. This applies to tenancy agreements that were signed on 1 June 2019 or later.

What fees can tenants be charged?

  • none – except a maximum of £50 to vary an existing tenancy
  • if your agency charges you more, please send an email to tradingstandards&licensing@redbridge.gov.uk to investigate, as they may be breaking the law. If they are breaking the law, you will be able to claim those fees back
  • the maximum holding deposit you can be charged is 1 weeks rent
  • the maximum security/damages deposit you can be charged is 5 weeks, for rents up to £50,000 per annum
  • if your agency charges you more, please email tradingstandards&licensing@redbridge.gov.uk to investigate, as they may be breaking the law. If they are breaking the law, you will be able to claim the charges back

If you rent out a property through an assured shorthold tenancy, your landlord must place your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme. These government-backed schemes ensure tenants will get their deposit back if they:

  • meet the terms of your tenancy agreement
  • don’t damage the property
  • pay the rent and bills

Your landlord must put your deposit in a scheme within 30 days of getting it. There are 3 deposit schemes available to your landlord:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • MyDeposits
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Letting and property management agents in the private rented sector who hold client money are now required by law to belong to a government-approved Client Money Protection scheme by 1 April 2019. These include:

Assured Short-hold Tenancies (AST) are the most common form of tenancy. A tenancy can be an AST if all of the following apply:

  • the property you rent is private
  • your tenancy started on or after 15 January 1989
  • the property is your main accommodation
  • your landlord doesn’t live in the property

Tenancy agreement

Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement and read it carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities. The landlord or agent usually provides one but you can request to use a different version. The government has published a model tenancy agreement that can be used. If you have any concerns about the agreement, seek advice before you sign.


Agree an inventory (or check in report) with your landlord before you move in and, as an extra safeguard, make sure that you take photos. This will make things easier if there is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy. If you are happy with the inventory, sign it and keep a copy.

Meter readings

Remember to take meter readings when you move. This will help make sure you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.

Contact details

Make sure that you have the correct contact details for the landlord or agent, including a telephone number you can use in case of an emergency. You are legally entitled to know the name and address of your landlord.

Code of practice

Check whether whoever is managing the property is following a code of practice.


Your rights and responsibilities

If you are a tenant in a private rented property, you have certain rights and responsibilities. Tenants have the right to:

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
  • you should give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs when requested. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access
  • pay the rent on time, pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord. If you don’t, you could lose your home because you have broken your tenancy agreement
  • pay bills that you are responsible for on time, such as Council Tax, gas, electricity and water bills. If you pay the gas or electricity bills, you can choose your own energy supplier
  • look after the property in a tenant like manner. Get your landlord’s permission before attempting repairs or decorating. It’s worth getting contents insurance to cover your possessions too, because the landlord’s insurance won’t cover your things
  • be considerate to the neighbours. You could be evicted for anti-social behaviour if you aren’t
  • not take in a lodger or sub-let without checking whether you need permission from your landlord
  • build and maintain a good relationship with your landlord

You should also:

  • make sure you know how to operate the boiler and other appliances and know where the stopcock, fuse box and any meters are located
  • regularly test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month
  • report any need for repairs to your landlord. There will be a risk to your deposit if a minor repair turns into a major problem because you did not report it to the landlord
  • correct presentation of waste is very important, ensure that waste is presented on the boundary of your property by 7am on the day of collection if you live in a house. Do not obstruct the pavement with dustbins or waste sacks. This is an offence under the Highways Act and you may receive a £400 fine
  • if you live in a block of flats, please ensure no bulky waste or rubbish bags are placed outside of the communal bin area as this is an offence under the Highways Act and you may receive a £400 fine
  • register to vote


Tenant Accreditation Course

Tenants can register for the Tenant Accreditation Course run by Redbridge Council. The course is free and will give you vital information on all aspects of being a good tenant and help you understand your rights and responsibilities.

The Accreditation Course is currently not available. Email prslicensing@redbridge.gov.uk and we will let you know when the course is available again.  


Your landlord's responsibilities

A landlord has a responsibility to keep rented properties safe and free from hazards to the health and safety of occupiers. Under the Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018, landlords have a legal duty to ensure that the rented property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy. The Act only applies to new tenancies entered into after 20 March 2019 and to all existing tenancies after 20 March 2020.

  • a copy of the how to rent guide
  • a gas safety certificate. The landlord must provide one at the start of the tenancy and within 28 days of each annual gas safety check, if there is a gas installation
  • deposit paperwork. If you have provided a deposit, the landlord must protect it in a government approved scheme within 30 days and provide you with prescribed information about it. Make sure you get the official information from your landlord and that you understand how to get your money back at the end of the tenancy. Keep this information safe as you will need it later
  • a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate. This will affect your energy bills and the landlord must provide one (except for Houses in Multiple Occupation). Properties let on tenancies entered into after 1 April 2018 must have an EPC rating of at least ‘E’ (unless a valid exemption applies)
  • if your tenancy started or was renewed after 1 October 2015 your landlord cannot evict you with a Section 21 notice (no fault eviction) if they have not provided you with these documents. You can still be evicted with a Section 8 notice if you break the terms of your tenancy

The landlord should also provide you with:

  • a record of any electrical inspections. All appliances must be safe and checks every 5 years are recommended
  • evidence that smoke alarms and any carbon monoxide alarms are in working order at the start of the tenancy. Tenants should then regularly check they are working

Landlord licensing in Redbridge

Most rented properties in Redbridge require the landlord to obtain a licence.

Civil penalties

Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 the council can now issue a civil penalty of up to £30,000 to a landlord for an unlicensed property and other offences as an alternative to prosecution. If you think the property you are renting is unlicensed you can report it.

Banning Orders

The Housing and Planning Act 2016 gives Local Authorities the power to apply to the first-tier tribunal for banning orders for persons who have been found guilty of banning order offences.

Rent repayment orders

A Rent Repayment Order occurs when a tribunal orders a landlord or agent to repay rent to tenant(s) because they have broken the law. This is usually between 6 months and 1 year of rent. For example, if you paid £1000/month in rent, you could get a RRO for £6,000 - £12,000.

What can I get a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) for?

You could be entitled to a RRO if:

  • your landlord or letting agent has failed to get a valid property licence
  • your landlord or letting agent has a property licence, but there are too many people living in the property
  • your landlord or letting agent has obtained a property licence now, but they should have got the licence earlier
  • your landlord has been prosecuted by the council
  • your landlord has had a civil penalty issued against them by the council
  • the council has served an Improvement Notice on your landlord and they haven’t carried out the repair works
  • you have been unlawfully evicted

What to do if you believe you are entitled to a Rent Repayment Order?

You can contact Justice for Tenants on 020 3476 6648 or email

info@justicefortenants.org to get more advice or representation.

Redbridge Council is participating in the Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker. You can check if your landlord or managing agent has been recorded on this database.



If your landlord is responsible for a repair, contact them directly, we have template letters available in our tenant information web pages so you can report a problem to your landlord or managing agent.

If you have an urgent repair and your landlord is not responding or refusing to do the work, contact housing.standards@redbridge.gov.uk or complete a report it form. 

If you smell gas contact 0800 111 999.

Tenant repair responsibilities

  • carrying out minor repairs such as replacing light bulbs or clearing a blocked sink
  • repairing any damage caused by you or a visitor to the property

Landlord repair responsibilities

  • carrying out repairs to the structure and exterior such as roof, walls, floors and windows
  • the upkeep of the outside of the building including gutters, pipes and drains
  • carrying out repairs to the plumbing and sanitary conveniences such as baths, toilets, sinks and basins
  • maintenance of the heating and hot water systems
  • carrying out repairs of installations such as electrical wiring, gas piping, fixed heaters and water heaters
  • the installations within and associated with the dwelling for food safety

We advise you to try to resolve any issues with disrepair with your landlord in the first instance. The council has a duty to take enforcement action to address category 1 hazards. We also have powers to address significant category 2 hazards. If you are unable to resolve the problem by contacting your landlord, you can contact us by sending an email to housing.standards@redbridge.gov.uk or by completing a report it form.

If you consider your property not fit for human habitation you should contact the council. Our housing enforcement officers may undertake an inspection under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) assessment and must take action if they consider that serious health and safety hazards exist in the property.


Rent, eviction, landlord or noise issues

There are legal protections for some of the most common problems you might experience during your tenancy.

You can apply to a tribunal to decide on certain rent disputes in England if:

  • you have an assured or assured shorthold tenancy
  • your rent has been increased following a Section 13 Notice – the letter from your landlord will state the increased amount and give you information on applying to the tribunal
  • you should consider what the market rent is in your area before applying and comparing this to yours. You can do this by looking at the rent similar properties in your area are marketed at and at any tribunal records for similar properties in your area
  • you must apply before the new rent is due to start

Your landlord can evict you if you fall behind with your rent - you could lose your home. You can get advice if you’re in rent arrears or having difficulty in paying your rent from:

  • Money Advice Service
  • Shelter
  • Citizens Advice

If you are being forced out illegally, contact the police and the council. If your landlord wants you to leave the property, they must notify you in writing, with the right amount of notice – you can only be legally removed from the property with a court order.

If you are experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour or noise nuisance you can report it to the Community Protection team.

Contact the council or police if you are being harassed or plagued by unannounced visits from your landlord, or if more urgent dial 999.


Just moved into Redbridge?

If you have just moved into the borough we provide a whole range of information to help you understand about services and facilities available in the borough. You may need to sort your bins, Council Tax, employment and benefits with us and find your local services.

Find out full information on waste and recycling on our pages.

Domestic waste disposal and recycling

We carry out weekly collections for domestic waste and recycling. We collect household rubbish and recycling once a week on the same day. Bank holiday collections vary. You can check your collection day and order recycling boxes.

If you live in a flat speak to your managing agent about installing communal recycling bins.

Garden waste

The council also offer a seasonal Garden Waste service. You can also take your garden waste for free to any refuse and recycling centre.

Bulky waste collection

The council offers a bulky waste collection service. This is to help you dispose of large householders items that are no longer wanted or needed, but that we are not able to take away as part of your everyday rubbish collection.

If you are 18 or over and either own or rent a property in Redbridge you must register to pay Council Tax.

Work Redbridge provides information and advice to Redbridge residents to support them in finding work, training and volunteering opportunities or to explore self-employment.

For comprehensive information about available financial help please visit our benefits pages.

If you need help to pay your rent you will need to claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. Which benefit you claim will depend on your circumstances.

Most working age tenants making a new claim for help with their rent will need to claim Universal Credit. This is a new benefit for people of working age who are out of work or are working and on a low income. It is assessed and paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If you are already receiving Housing Benefit and are moving to another address within the same borough, you may be able to continue claiming Housing Benefit.

If you need help to pay your Council Tax, you may be able to claim Council Tax reduction. This is a means tested reduction and how much we pay depends on your circumstances and the circumstances of other adults who live with you. You will need to use our online calculator to find out how much you are entitled to and to apply for Council Tax reduction.

GP appointments

To find a GP practice to enrol with, visit the NHS Choices website You have the legal right to choose a GP practice that best suits your needs. Try comparing GP practices according to facilities, services, access and performance before you decide. Ask friends, relatives and others you trust for their thoughts and recommendations.

Urgent GP appointments

To help more people who need to be seen urgently by a local doctor; same day appointments are available every weekday evening between 6.30pm and 10pm and 8am to 8pm on weekends. The appointments are available to everyone registered with a GP in Redbridge. You can call the service directly on 020 3770 1888 between 2pm and 9pm on weekdays and between 9am and 6pm on Saturdays and Sundays all year round for an appointment.

NHS 111 can also book you into a GP hub if you need an urgent appointment. The three GP hubs which offer urgent appointments are at Southdene Surgery in South Woodford, Newbury Group Practice in Newbury Park and Fullwell Cross Medical Centre in Barkingside.

Appointments must be booked in advance. You can’t ‘walk in’ or turn up without an appointment on the day. The GPs can see and update your records in the appointment so it is no different to seeing a doctor at your usual practice.


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