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Getting private rented accommodation
For people seeking accommodation to rent in Stratford-on-Avon District, it is advisable that they look to secure accommodation in the private rented sector.
Social Housing is provided through Housing Associations in the District. This includes accommodation that was formerly owned by the Council. The availability of this type of accommodation, social housing, is low and the demand is high. To be considered for a housing association property in the District, you will need to apply through Home Choice Plus.
What is private rented accommodation?
This type of accommodation will be provided by a private landlord. Sometimes they may rent direct to you and other times, they may rent their property through a letting, estate or management agent. The landlord may rent you the whole of the property or they may just rent to you a room in a shared property, as a lodging or House in Multiple Occupation (an HMO). A tenancy agreement or licence agreement will be given to you giving you specific rights to the accommodation. In return, you will be required to pay rent either weekly or monthly and meet certain tenant responsibilities. The landlord will have specific landlord responsibilities as well.
What is the difference between a tenancy and a licence?
There are different types of tenancies and agreements that you could enter into. It is important for you to understand the differences as they will often affect the way that your landlord has to end your tenancy.
It is important to understand that you may have a special tenancy if the accommodation that you have is provided as part of your work. This is referred to as tied accommodation.
Where do I find private rented accommodation to rent?
You should try the following methods to identify private rented accommodation:-
- Visit the letting/ property/ estate agents shops outlets (normally in town/ village centres)
- Search for properties to rent through an internet search
- Look in the local newspapers for example;
- Stratford Herald and Midweek
- Redditch and Alcester Chronicle
- Leamington Observer
- Banbury Guardian
- Evesham Journal
- Coventry Telegraph
- Rugby Advertiser
- Solihull News
- Shop windows and word of mouth
- Placing an advert yourself
What matters should I consider when looking to secure a private rented tenancy?
There is a wide range of advice available that you should consider before you secure private rented accommodation.
I have a low income and I am in housing need. What help does the Council provide if I am having difficulty meeting the cost of a deposit and/or rent in advance?
The Rent Express Scheme is provided through the Housing Advice Team to help certain people meet the cost of deposits and /or rent in advance. There are specific criteria to be met before any assistance is given.
I have paid my deposit to a landlord/ agent. Do they have to protect this?
It is a legal requirement for landlords who receive deposits from tenants to safeguard the deposits and this is known as deposit protection.
Are letting agents/ property management agents required to be professional?
From 1st October 2014, all individuals, bodies and organisations undertaking letting agency or property management work are required to register with a government approved Property Redress Scheme.
Depending on the type of accommodation that you secure and the detail of your tenancy or licence agreement, you may have the responsibility to set up utility accounts for water, electricity and gas.
Severn Trent Water is the main water supplier for the whole of the district and to notify them that you have moved to a new address you should call them on:-
Severn Trent Water:- 03457 500 500
Or, visit their website.
For gas, if you do not know who the supplier is, you will need to contact the Meter Point Administration Service on 0870 608 1524 or you can visit the UK power website to establish who your gas or electricity supplier is.
How can I pay rent if I receive benefits or I'm on a low income?
Where you are liable to pay council tax for the accommodation, you will need to register with the Council Tax department.
If you are on a low income or in receipt of benefits, you may be entitled to assistance through the council tax reduction scheme.
What key items should I receive when I commence a private rented tenancy?
When taking on a private rented tenancy, you will need to receive the following:-
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Tenancy agreement
- Confirmation of how any deposits paid have been protected
- Rent book/ payment system
- Gas safety certificate
- Electrical safety certificate (not always)
- Smoke alarms
- Carbon monoxide alarms (not always)
Home safety is a priority with your tenancy. Warwickshire County Council provides advice on home safety matters for you to consider before you move in to a tenancy and through it.
If you are on a low income and need to acquire items of furniture for your tenancy there is a range of services and organisations where you may receive some assistance.