Given the small number of Council or Housing Association homes available, if you have to leave your home, you will almost certainly have to consider renting in the private rented sector.
The following tips may be helpful:
- websites like www.rightmove.co.uk, www.zoopla.co.uk and www.openrent.co.uk can be useful to quickly search what is on the market
- however, we would recommend you go into letting agents in person as applicants are more often successful in getting homes this way
- if a letting agent doesn’t have any properties when you call in, don’t be discouraged. The private lettings market moves quickly and they may well have suitable homes available in a couple of weeks. Be persistent and keep going back
- ask your family and friends if they know of anyone letting a property that would be suitable for you. A surprising number of people find tenancies through their own contacts. Especially if you live alone and are looking for a room in a house, word of mouth can be a very good way to find someone who has a room you can move into
- properties and flat/house shares can often be found by searching websites such as www.spareroom.co.uk and www.gumtree.com. You can also look at adverts in local papers or shop windows. However, proceed with caution as there are scams. If you are in any doubt, contact the Housing Solutions team
The Rent and Deposit Scheme
Under the Tenant Fees Act 2019, landlords and letting agents are no longer allowed to charge administration fees before you move into a property.
However, you will often still need to pay your first month’s rent in advance and a deposit to cover the landlord against damages. If you do not have sufficient funds to pay these charges yourself, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council may be able to help through the Rent and Deposit Scheme.
The Rent and Deposit Scheme is one of the ways in which the Council helps people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. We pay the landlord or letting agent the monies they require for you to move in. You then repay the money to us on an interest-free basis, at a rate that is affordable to you.
It is very important to consider where you can afford to live. If you are in receipt of either Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, you need to look at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
This is the maximum amount of money the DWP will pay towards your rent. The LHA rate varies from borough to borough.
If your rent is higher than the LHA rate, you will have to pay the rest of your rent from any other benefits you receive.