Finding private rented accommodation

If you are looking for somewhere to live, you should consider private rented accommodation. It could be a practical and flexible solution to your housing problems.

Private rented accommodation can include:

  • lodgings
  • renting your own flat or house
  • shared accommodation

Your landlord will be a private individual or company and you will have either a tenancy or licence agreement. They tend to offer properties on six monthly tenancies initially, which can be renewed if they are happy with the way you have managed your tenancy.

The advantages of renting from a private landlord include:

  • more choice about the area and the type of property you want to live in
  • finding a home quickly instead of waiting on the council's housing register
  • not having to be in a 'priority group' - you just have to be able to pay the rent and keep to the terms of the tenancy agreement
  • being able to move in immediately
  • being able to find a house or a ground floor property with a garden

There are a number of ways you can search for privately rented properties:

  • letting agencies
  • local newspapers
  • word of mouth
  • shop windows and notice boards
  • online property websites and estate agents web pages

Other sites such as Gumtree, Zoopla, Rightmove, Open Rent, Spare Room

Letting friends and family know you are looking through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. You should say what size property you need and how much rent you can afford.

Before moving into private rented accommodation

Once you have found a property to rent, you will usually be asked to pay a deposit (up to a maximum of five weeks rent) and rent in advance. Agents must not charge fees on new or renewed tenancy agreements.

The terms of the tenancy

Before moving into private rented accommodation you should make sure that you understand the terms of the tenancy. Your agreement should set out the following:

  • the length of the tenancy
  • the amount of rent due and when it should be paid
  • whether you will be able to leave before the tenancy has ended
  • if the property is furnished and what furniture will be provided
  • your responsibilities with regards to internal decoration (your landlord will be responsible for structural and external repairs)
  • whether you are able to keep pets at the property
  • whether you are able to have lodgers or sublet

Many landlords use standard tenancy agreements where these terms are already set out.

If you are not clear about the information in your agreement, ask your landlord or letting agent to confirm.

Contact details

If you need some advice about privately renting email the Private Rent team

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