Private housing and renting
If you can't buy your own home, renting privately might be your best option.
How to rent
You can use a letting agent to help you find private rented accommodation. Letting agents will usually charge a fee, which they must display on their premises and website. Visit the Shelter website for useful advice and information before handing over any money.
It may be cheaper to find accommodation yourself online or in the local paper. You can get free internet access at your local library.
Renting affordable housing
If you're eligible to rent a house from a housing association the following affordable rent products are available:
- Social rent housing is let at guideline target rents which are determined through the national rent regime.
- Affordable rent housing requires a rent of no more than 80 per cent of the local market rent (including service charges where applicable).
- Intermediate rent housing is let at a cost above social rent, but below market levels.
Costs of moving into a new home
Rent in advance
If you're renting a home from a social or private landlord, or even just a room in a home, you're likely to have to pay some rent in advance. How much you need will depend on a number of factors, but it's a good idea to make sure you've enough money to pay one month's rent upfront. In some circumstances, help may be available, but most people (including those on benefits) will be expected to save towards these costs.
Some agents will also charge fees for other services, for example credit checks, inventories and tenancy agreements. Before handing over any money or entering into an agreement, it worth shopping around for these services, as fees can vary.
Other costs (either for the first time or if you're moving accommodation) can include:
- White goods (fridges, washing machines, cookers and freezers)
- Beds and bedding
- Tables and chairs
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Other furnishings
- Electrical goods
You won't necessarily need all of these items in order to move in but unless you've the basics (or the money to buy them) some landlords, including social landlords, may be reluctant to offer you a tenancy. We recommend you start a savings account as soon as possible to give yourself some money to be able to buy the essentials. You can do this by using the Plymouth Credit Union or using a savings account of your choice.
Help with rent
If you're on a low income you may be entitled to the following benefits to help towards your rent:
- Local Housing Allowance
- Council Tax Support
- Council Tax Support Exceptional Hardship Fund
- Housing Benefit
- Discretionary Housing Payments
We may be able to help you into private rented accommodation with a deposit guarantee (a written agreement in place of a cash deposit, valid for twelve months). You'll be offered this if you've no other means of securing a deposit and you'll be expected to save towards your own cash deposit to replace the deposit guarantee after twelve months.
If you're eligible for this scheme you'll need to have 10 per cent of the deposit available on the day you sign the tenancy agreement, plus a further £3 to open a Credit Union account (if you've not already opened one).
You need to ask us if we can help you with a deposit guarantee before you sign any agreements or hand over any money. We can't help if you've already begun your tenancy.
For more information please email CommunityConnections@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 668000.