The private rented sector is often the quickest route to finding rehousing within the Burnley area.
Where can I find private rented accommodation?
Check the ‘Accommodation to Rent’ section of local newspapers. Contact accommodation agencies or estate agents who let and manage properties on behalf of landlords. You can find their details in local newspapers, the Yellow Pages or Thomson Local.
Going to view a property
Always take someone with you if possible. This is for your own personal safety, and also they may be able to spot problems with the property whilst you are busy talking to the landlord.
Questions you may want to ask the landlord
- What is the weekly / monthly rent?
- What is included in the rent?
- Does any money need to be paid in advance and if so, what for?
- How much notice do you need to give or be given by the landlord?
- Are there any repairs that need doing?
- Are you allowed pets?
- Has the landlord added any security features to the property?
- Are there any problems with the neighbours?
- What is the area like for crime and vandalism?
- Is the landlord accredited?
What is an Accredited landlord?
The Council run the Landlord Accreditation Scheme which has been established to raise the standard of housing in the private sector. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and acknowledge good standards in the private rented sector and support landlords who want to raise standards by offering advice, benefits and resources.
Before you move in
You may need to pay a deposit or rent in advance. Before you sign a tenancy agreement read it through and check with your landlord if there is anything you don’t understand. If you are still not happy then get some advice before signing. Make sure you get a list of contents and their condition from the landlord. Remember to keep all your paperwork about your tenancy in a safe place.
What can the landlord charge you for?
The landlord can ask you to pay a deposit in case you cause damage to the property or don’t pay the rent. Since the 6th April 2007, landlords must ensure your deposit is protected under a tenancy deposit protection scheme. You will usually pay an amount equal to 4 weeks rent. At the end of your tenancy, the landlord must give you back your deposit unless you have caused damage or are behind with the rent.
When you pay a deposit make sure you keep a receipt
The landlord can also ask you to pay a month’s rent in advance before you move in even if you are relying on Housing Benefit. If you are entitled to Housing Benefit you should be able to claim some or all of this money back from them.
What can Accommodation Agencies charge you for?
Accommodation Agencies can make a charge for:
- Finding you a new home for you but only if you sign a tenancy agreement
- Preparing a list of contents
- Drawing up a tenancy agreement
Accommodation agencies are not allowed to charge you for:
- Registering with them or ‘going on the books’
- Anything at all until you accept a property that they have found for you.
If in doubt about money you are being asked to pay, seek independent advice.
How do I pay for private rented if I’m in receipt of benefits or on a low income
If you are on a low income or in receipt of benefits you may be able to claim Local Housing Allowance to pay for your rent. However, Local Housing Allowance may not cover all of your rent and you may have to make up the difference yourself. If you don’t do this, you will get into arrears and lose your home.
What can I do if i’m struggling to meet the rent as the Local Housing Allowance is not high enough
The amount of Local Housing Allowance is determined regionally. If you are unable to afford your rent due to your award being lower than you thought or that you have had a change of circumstances which means you are now struggling to find the full rent, please contact Housing Benefits direct to discuss your circumstances. In some circumstances, you could apply for, and be awarded extra housing benefit for a limited time by applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment. This is a limited amount of money administered by Housing Benefits which people can apply for if they believe themselves to be in need of such assistance.
Landlords have to follow set procedures to be able to evict a tenant. In some circumstances landlords would have to give grounds as to why they want to evict a tenant, and these are detailed in the law. However, in many situations they don’t have to give grounds to seek possession of their property back. Notice to leave a property also depends on the type of tenancy you hold.
A tenant cannot be evicted without a possession order from the courts, which the landlord has to apply for.