Privately renting

Looking for a property to rent and guidance for tenants and landlords

One of the most common ways to secure accommodation is through private renting. Finding affordable privately rented accommodation can be difficult, particularly for households receiving housing-related benefits and without a guarantor. There are many ways to look for privately rented properties including the local press, shop noticeboards and by word of mouth. Some useful website addresses are also listed below:

Due to the very high demand, accommodation is usually let very quickly. It is therefore important to be actively looking on a regular basis.

Lettings Agents
There are numerous lettings agents in the Borough, most of which advertise their vacancies through Rightmove or Zoopla. If you are on a low income, lettings agents may require a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a close friend or family member who is willing to agree to be legally responsible for any costs incurred throughout your tenancy.

References
Before renting a property to you, many landlords will require a reference. If you have rented before you could ask your previous landlord or lettings agent. The reference will contain information around how you conducted your former tenancy, such as whether you paid your rent on time and how well you looked after the property. If you have a positive tenancy history, it may benefit you to obtain a reference from your landlord to take to future viewings. This may improve your chances of being offered a property.

Rental costs
Before offering you a tenancy, most landlords will ask for fees to secure the property. This most commonly consists of a security deposit and rent in advance, both of which are often in the region of one month’s rent.

Tenant Fees Act 2019
The Tenant Fees Act was introduced in June 2019 and places restrictions on the fees that landlords and lettings agents can charge to new and existing tenants. If you identify a property to rent and are advised of charges over and above the holding deposit, security deposit and rent in advance, please contact our housing team for advice on 023 8068 8000.

Deposit Protection Scheme
When you pay your landlord a security deposit for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, the landlord must, by law, secure your deposit in a government backed Tenancy Deposit (TDP) scheme. You will be notified by the TDP that your deposit has been secured.

At the end of the tenancy, both parties must agree the sum that is to be returned to you. Your landlord may claim on the deposit for issues such as:

  • rent arrears
  • damage to the property
  • cleaning costs
  • missing items

If you do not agree with the sum suggested by your landlord, your deposit will remain in the TDP until the dispute is resolved.

If you require any further guidance in terms of seeking and securing accommodation in the private rented sector, please contact us. Our team of Housing Case Management Officers can provide advice and assistance to help you look for suitable vacancies.

Tenant responsibilities
As a tenant you have rights and responsibilities which will be detailed in your tenancy agreement. The most important responsibilities are to pay your rent and to look after the property.

If you are struggling to pay the rent it is important that you act promptly. Rent arrears can grow very quickly and if you have unpaid debts it may affect your chances of securing housing in the future.

Landlord responsibilities
Your landlord will also have responsibilities as set out in the tenancy agreement. These responsibilities will include protecting your tenancy deposit, maintaining your home to a reasonable standard, adhering to rules regarding rent and rent increases and following eviction proceedings lawfully.

Most landlords are responsible and provide a much needed service, however if you feel your landlord has acted inappropriately, please contact us for further guidance.

Contact our housing team