Renting privately

Finding privately rented accommodation

If you are looking for accommodation in Elmbridge, you may want to consider renting from a private landlord and being a private tenant.  Renting privately gives you some choice as to where you would like to live.

Look for a place to rent

There are various ways to find a place to rent, whether you are looking to rent a house or flat or a room in a shared house. The most common ways include:

  • online searches of property websites 

  • visiting local letting and estate agents 

  • “to let” adverts in shop windows, newspapers and notice boards 

  • word of mouth from relatives, friends or work colleagues

If you are a single person who is at risk of homeless, Elmbridge Rentstart might be able to help you to find a place to rent.

Budgeting for privately rented accommodation

When looking for accommodation you need to decide on the size of the property you require and what you can afford.

If you are in receipt of benefits or on a low income, you may be able to get some financial help through Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, to help pay some or all of your rent.  When you rent from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much Housing Benefit you might get.  

Once you find a property

If you find a place to rent you will normally have to pay a deposit to the landlord or letting agent.  This can be the equivalent of 6 weeks’ rent although this can vary.  In addition, the landlord will normally request that you pay the first month’s rent in advance.

If you find a property through a lettings agent or estate agent you may be charged administration fees for their services.  Before you pay any money out, find out exactly what the fees are and that you are sure that you have the funds to cover these costs.

If you agree to rent a property from a private landlord, you will normally receive a written tenancy agreement outlining the terms and conditions of your tenancy.  You should ask for a copy of the tenancy agreement and read it carefully and if you are unsure about it, you should get further advice before you sign it.

Further information

The Government has produced a number of online guides to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities

•  How to Rent
•  Private renting
•  Private renting – tenancy agreements
•  Tenancy deposit protection

More information and online guidance is available from Shelter and Citizens Advice.

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