Finding your own property
Access to social housing is very restricted and you would be wise to look for private accommodation. We have a number of suggestions and options which will help you find your own home
- Shared flats or houses - you have your own room, but share the other rooms with other people. The rent will depend on the number of people (tenants)living there.
- Bedsits - single rooms in large houses
- Lodgings - a room in someone's home
- Self-contained houses, flats or studios - you will have your own kitchen and bathroom facilities. This accommodation is the most expensive and the hardest to find on a low income.
Viewing the new property
Take time to view the new property. Check the outside and inside as closely as possible.
The property checklist will help to identify potential problems before you move in.
Use this checklist to confirm that the landlord is keeping the accommodation to legal standards of health and safety.
When you agree to move into a new place where you are paying rent you should receive a tenancy agreement, where you and the landlord agree your rights and responsibilities. The agreement protects you and the landlord, and once signed it is a legally binding contract.
The agreement should contain:
- the type of agreement - check the type of tenancy, usually they are short-term assured tenancies running for six to 12 months
- the landlord's name and contact details and your name (tenant’s)
- the property's address
- rules on rent and date of when it should be paid and rent review arrangements
- who is to pay gas, electric, water and Council Tax bills
- amount of deposit and conditions for withholding for damages
- how repairs will be organised
- the date your tenancy ends or comes up for renewal
At the start of your tenancy
Before starting your new tenancy make sure you:
- get a written tenancy agreement from your landlord, licence holder or managing agent
- read and understand its terms and conditions. If you feel confused by what you read you can get help from the Stratford Advice Arcade and Citizens Advice Bureau.
- check that the property is licensed. Visit the Property Licensing Register, select 'licences' and search for the property address.
- inspect the property very thoroughly and write to the licence holder or landlord to tell them of any damage or faults. Take pictures of any faults.
- have the correct contact details for your landlord, licence holder or managing agent and that they have yours.
During your tenancy
During your tenancy you should:
- pay your rent on time
- do not be a nuisance to neighbours, such as making noise
- report any anti-social behaviour from neighbours to the police and to the landlord, licence holder or managing agent.
As a tenant you are responsible for the behaviour and actions of your friends, family and guests in your home.
Looking after your home
- Report in writing all necessary and urgent repairs to the landlord, licence holder or managing agent and keep a copy.
- If you want to do repairs, you should first agree the work with the landlord, licence holder or managing agent.
- Keep the property clean.
- Get your landlord, licence holder or managing agent's written permission to decorate any rooms or any other alterations to the fabric of the property.
- Report any pest problems to your landlord, licence holder or managing agent and follow it up it in writing.
- Report any damage you do to the property promptly to your landlord, licence holder or managing agent.
- Keep your garden or yard in a tidy condition and rubbish free.
Health and safety
Speak to your landlord, licence holder or managing agent about any safety issues and follow it up in writing as soon as possible.
Your landlord, licence holder or managing agent must make sure that all gas appliances are well maintained and that an annual safety check is carried out by a recognised engineer who is on the Gas Safe Register.
Check the smoke detector on a weekly basis, if it is not working, tell your landlord, licence holder or managing agent immediately. Follow this up in writing and keep a copy.
Landlord/managing agent/licence holder’s responsibilities
Your landlord is responsible for repairs to:
- the structure and exterior of the property
- baths, sinks, basins, toilets and other bathroom fittings
- heating and hot water installations
Responsibility for other repairs depends on what the landlord/managing agent or licence holder has agreed with you.
Your deposit and getting it back
Most landlords will ask you for a deposit before they give you the keys to your new home. It protects the landlord from any loss should you not pay your rent or damage the property.
You need to consider the amount of deposit required when thinking about taking up a lease.
If you are an assured shorthold tenant, your landlord, licence holder or managing agent cannot evict you without a court order. To do so is a criminal offence.
As long as you have a legal right to live there, a landlord, licence holder or managing agent, or someone acting for them cannot drive you out of your home or stop you using part of it by:
- issuing threats
- withholding services such as gas or electricity
- or any other sort of interference.
We can prosecute landlords, licence holders or managing agents for harassment offences and illegal evictions. If you are experiencing harassment or being threatened with an illegal eviction, you can email Private Housing Technical Support
or phone us on 020 3373 1950.
Help and advice
If you are having a problem with your landlord or you would like to report an unlicensed property or a home in disrepair, you can email Private Housing Technical Support
or phone us on 0203 373 1950.