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Housing Options

 

Private landlords offer a wide range of accommodation, often in areas that councils and housing associations cannot. They tend to offer properties on six monthly tenancies, which can be renewed if they are happy with the way you have managed your tenancy. You don't have the same security of tenure, but the shorter tenancies and higher mobility can work for people who need to move frequently. Rents can be higher than in social housing so if you need help with your rent, check out the Local Housing Allowance before you commit to a tenancy. If you need help with the finances to secure a property please refer yourself using our on line form here or call 02380 285234 Option 3.

Given the limited number and availability of social housing, generally it is possible to find a private rented property more quickly than getting a property through New Forest Homesearch.

The private rented sector provides you with more choice in selecting the type, size and location of property you would like.

Considering the private sector as an option may well be your best way of finding a suitable home.

The following websites can be useful when looking for private renting opportunities:

 

If you’re worried about not being able to afford a private tenancy, the website below can be used to find out which additional benefits and tax credits you may be eligible for:

Entitled To

Benefit entitlements are based on the amount of Local Housing Allowance that you are entitled to. Local Housing Allowance is calculated according to the number of bedrooms that you need and you may find the following information helpful as a guide to work out your bedroom entitlement.

You are entitled to one bedroom for:

  • every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • any other child

 

There are, however extra rules if you are:

  • aged 25 or over, single and do not live with any dependants
  • aged under 25, single and do not live with any dependants
  • a couple and do not live with any dependants
  • a care leaver aged under 22
  • severely disabled

 

If you can't afford to buy a flat or house, you may be able to get financial help to buy a home. There are two types of 'HomeBuy' schemes to help people buy newly built homes:

  • Equity Loan - these are open to both first time buyers and home movers on new build homes worth up to £600,000
  • Shared Ownership - these are provided through Housing Associations. You buy a share of your home (between 25% and 75% of the home's value) and pay rent on the remaining share. You will need to take out a mortgage to pay for your share of the home's purchase price

 

HomeBuy schemes are a first step to fully owning your home. When you can afford it, you can pay more money, for example through savings or your mortgage, to own your home outright. You can find out more information on affordable home ownership schemes in the South East at Help to buy

If you are already a social housing tenant, you may be able to do an exchange with another social housing tenant. You can move home by swapping your home with that of another tenant in the UK. Due to the demand for social housing, existing tenants often find this is the easiest way to move.

You advertise your home to other tenants who are looking for a move. If you find someone with whom you want to swap homes, your landlord will carry out some checks to make sure the properties are suitable for swapping and that there have been no problems with the tenancies. If everyone is ok, you arrange a date for a move and off you go.

There are several websites to help you search and find an exchange such as:

 

 

If you are renting a property and it is in a poor state of repair, you can contact your local authority for advice. If you live in the New Forest District, please contact the Private Sector Team at privatesectorhousing@nfdc.gov.uk.

If you live in a different area, please contact the local authority who you pay your council tax to.

The landlord is responsible for damp caused by any structural defects, lack of damp proofing or inadequate heating systems. Tell the landlord if damp is affecting your health. Damp caused by condensation due to ineffective use of heating and ventilation is your responsibility as the tenant.

If there are problems with disrepair, then you should contact your landlord first to give them the opportunity to put it right.

  • write to your landlord explaining the problem. There's a sample reminder letter on the Shelter website;
  • wait two weeks or longer after you first report the problem. If nothing is done, then contact your landlord again;
  • wait another two weeks, if you have not heard back from your landlord;
  • send a final letter or email to your landlord giving them 48 hours, to respond; and
  • keep copies of all correspondence.

 

Collect evidence about the problem, such as:

  • photographs;
  • copies of any letters sent to or received from the landlord;
  • receipts, reports or bills from professionals who’ve looked at the problem; or
  • a note from a doctor if the problem is affecting someone’s health

If you do not receive a response after 48 hours, then report the repair problem with your landlord to us and we will investigate.

If you or a member of your household require adaptations to be made to your property you may be eligible for a disabled facilities grant. Further information can be found here

For advice on money issues information can be found on our website

The National Debtline could provide you with free, confidential and independent debt advice here

The Money Advice Service website also provides you with links to local services that may be able to assist you moneyadviceservice link

A National Charity known as Step Change may also be able to assist with free debt advice stepchange

If you are homeless because you have lost your home, or you are at risk of homelessness because you have been asked to leave your accommodation, you should contact us for free advice and assistance as soon as possible. Acting early gives us more time to help you.

Please refer yourself using our on line form here or call 02380 285234 Option 3.