If you are looking to rent a property, you may want to consider private rented accommodation. If you rent privately you can still remain on waiting lists for social housing.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Whenever you pay a deposit on a property to a private landlord or letting agent, in England or Wales it must be protected by a government accredited Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).
The TDS protects deposits and provides a fair system for settling arguments regarding the return of a deposit at the end of a tenancy. If at the end of your tenancy your landlord does not return your deposit you should contact the scheme where your deposit is held for help. Your landlord should tell you within 14 days of you paying your deposit which tenancy deposit scheme it is being held in.
GOV.UK holds details of the scheme.
Accommodation agencies / Lettings agents
Many of the privately rented properties are let through lettings agents. If you have the money available and the necessary references, then this is a quick and easy option for you. Some lettings agencies charge an acceptance fee, ask if they do and if so, how much. Letting agents cannot charge you a fee just for being on their books.
Trafford’s Housing Options Service, in combination with the Trafford Bond Scheme (TBS), actively encourages landlords to let property to people who claim Housing Benefit. Many people are successfully re-housed this way.
Lettings agents advertise in local telephone directories such as Thompson Local and Yellow Pages; along with landlords they also place adverts in local papers such as the Manchester Evening News and the Metro.
Some websites to search for private rented accommodation are:
More information is on this leaflet as well as details of local lettings agents.
Notice Boards and shared accommodation
Notice boards are often used to advertise properties including shared accommodation. Although they tend not to be through letting agencies, you will be able to talk directly to the landlord to arrange a viewing. Shared accommodation is a good way to get re-housed particularly if you are on your own, do not have you own furniture and white goods and you have a tight budget.
If you are moving into a new property which is unfurnished or part-furnished and need help securing furniture or white goods at low or affordable prices, the organisations on this leaflet may be able to support you.
The cost of private rented accommodation
The cost of privately rented accommodation varies greatly from area to area, and for the size and quality of the property that you may wish to rent. You will need to work out exactly how much you can afford to pay in rental, rather than choosing the area and the property first.
How much you can afford is relatively simple if you are working and not dependant on benefits, however if you are on benefits than you should check you entitlement before signing a tenancy agreement.
Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance
If you receive income support or are on a low income you can make a claim for Housing Benefit to help you meet the cost of your rent. Applications can be made online or by calling 0161 912 2220 for a form. It is important to remember that Housing Benefit will only meet the local average rent. You can get further information on eligibility and applying by visiting our Advice and Benefits page. Further information on the Local Housing Allowance rates is also available.
Landlords will normally require one month’s rent in advance and one month’s rent as a deposit. Landlords who are not using agencies may be willing to negotiate this amount. Trafford Housing Trust runs a deposit scheme, this service has been set up to help people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness access the private rented sector in Trafford. If you qualify, Trafford Housing Trust will provide a paper bond, our Rent and Bond Scheme, to your landlord instead of a cash deposit. You must be accepted onto the scheme before finding a property.
If you need employment and somewhere to live, it may be worth considering getting a job which comes with accommodation. The catering trade for example is a trade that often provides accommodation in pubs and hotels. Do consider this option carefully because if you lose your job you will also lose your home. Your local job centre will be able to provide you with further information.
Many landlords require references, therefore if you have previously rented accommodation you should request a reference from your landlord. If you have not rented before you will need to get a character reference from your employer or a person of good standing in the community who knows you well, for example doctor, councillor or teacher.
Interested in becoming a private landlord?
If you want to be a private landlord there are some things you need to know about, such as how to find the right property, what your legal responsibilities will be, how to handle tenants, and be a good landlord.
Which? have produced a step-by-step guide, which covers everything required to become a good landlord.