Due to the very high demand for social housing and the low turnover of properties, another option available is to look for property to rent in the private sector.
Looking for a private property will:
- Allow you to secure accommodation sooner
- Increase your chance of accessing a good quality home
- Provide you with an alternative choice in terms of where you want to live and the type of property you want to live in
Private landlords reserve the right to choose the types of tenants for their properties, whether or not these tenants have a housing need. This is because private landlords do not have to let their properties in the same way as social housing providers, who must by law, ensure the majority of their vacancies are let to those in the greatest housing need.
You can approach estate agents and local letting agencies for details about private landlords or you can look in your local newspaper or property paper. There are also a number of websites where you can search for properties to rent;
If you are looking to rent a room in a shared house you can look at SpareRoom http://www.spareroom.co.uk
You should be aware that letting agencies may charge you for finding a property and other services like drawing up a tenancy agreement.
If you take on a privatley rented property you should make sure that you study your tenancy agreement to check what your obligations are and what your landlords obligations are, including for any property repairs and maintenance.
Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance is available to help with the cost or rent but it may not cover the full rent. Your entitlement to Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance is dependant on your financial circumstances. You can use the Governments Local Housing Allowance calculator to check what rate of Local Housing Allowance you might be entitled to at https://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/search.aspx
If you are under 35 years of age and entitled to Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance you will only be entitled to the shared room rate. This means you will only be entitled to an amount that would cover a room in a shared house.
The majority of private landlords will ask you to pay a deposit before giving you the tenancy. If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness your local Councils Housing Options Team may be able to assist you with a deposit through a Deposit Guarantee Scheme, to see if this is the case contact your local Council.
If you are a private landlord and would like help with finding tenants please contact your local Council to see how we can assist you.