1. Renting privately
If you live in a private rented property, are expected to pay a weekly or monthly rent and the landlord does not live in the property with you, it is likely that you have what is called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, sometimes referred to as an AST. You don't legally have to be given a tenancy agreement but it is best to get one when you move into a property so both you and your landlord confirm the arrangement you have made to rent the property.
You are likely to be asked to pay money to the landlord or letting agent for the tenancy to start. This could be a deposit and rent in advance. You may also have to pay agency fees and have a credit check completed. If you are on a low income and/or have a poor credit rating you may also have to provide a guarantor who will also need to be credit checked before the landlord is willing to offer you an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.
Please see our Property Agent Rating Scheme to identify which letting agents you can trust to look after your interests.