Renting from a private landlord
Finding a home that you can afford to rent doesn’t have to mean finding a council or housing association property. There are many other properties in Somerset which are available to rent from a private landlord. A private landlord is someone who owns one or more properties that they rent out to tenants. The Government have produced this helpful guide: How to rent – the checklist for renting in England
Why do I need to consider private rented property?
The demand for social housing far outweighs the supply in Somerset. If you need to find a new home quickly, the private rented sector may be your best option. Private rented homes tend to be ready to move into straight away. There are more private rented homes in Somerset than social rented homes and the number of private homes available to rent at any one time is much greater. Therefore, if you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, the Council will expect you to look for accommodation in the private rented sector as well as through Homefinder Somerset.
It is important that you action the steps in your Personal Housing Plan, and this may include looking for private rented accommodation. Failure to co-operate with this may limit the assistance that we are able to offer.
The benefits of renting privately
There are many advantages to renting privately:
- There are no waiting lists, so you’ll be able to move in quickly
- You can choose where you live, and you can move to a different area if you want
- There are many different types of property available, from one-bedroom or studio flats to houses big enough for large families
- The properties will usually be well decorated and carpeted
- The properties often come with some white goods i.e. fridge, freezer, cooker and washing machine or other furnishings
- Letting agencies can no longer charge fees for references, admin or checks
- If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to benefits which will cover some or all of your rent
Work out what you can afford
You need to budget for:
- your monthly rent
- upfront costs of private renting like a deposit and rent in advance
- any furniture or essential household items you might need
You might find it easier to rent outside popular areas. You can get help paying for your housing if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. This is called your housing payment. How much you get depends on your local housing allowance rate. You should also check how many bedrooms you can claim for.
Where to find a property
You can find properties to rent by:
- searching for local letting agencies online. Talk to them directly about your needs.
- checking websites, such as:
- checking local newspapers
- social media buy and sell local pages (e.g. Facebook Marketplace)
- speaking to friends and family
- notice boards in supermarkets, community centres or cafes
View the property
Once you find a suitable property, you’ll need to go and have a look at it.
It’s a good idea to take a list of things to check so you don’t forget about anything when you’re there.
How we can help
We can help you find a home with a private landlord if you’re homeless or threatened with homelessness.
- give you advice on how to look for a property
- talk to a potential landlord on your behalf
- help you prepare for your appointment with the landlord to give you a better chance of getting a property
- help you find furniture
- In some cases, we can offer financial assistance to help you afford the deposit / rent in advance
If you want to be considered for financial help, you’ll need to be referred by your housing case officer. They will check to see if you qualify for this help.
If you are homeless now or at risk of homelessness within the next 56 days, you can contact us via our online form.