Finding privately rented accommodation

To secure private sector accommodation look through local newspapers as these carry details of properties that are available for letting. Free copies of local newspapers are available for you to read at local libraries and properties are advertised on the internet.

Homes for rent are sometimes advertised in shop windows or on notice boards, and you could put an ‘accommodation wanted’ card up on one of these yourself. You could also consider using social media to look for house/flat share opportunities.

Useful accommodation websites include:

These websites allow you to enter the area, type of property and amount of rent you can afford – then search for a home using these criteria. If you do not have access to the internet at home, you can go to your local library or use the internet facilities available in the Town Hall in St Annes. You could also ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they have a spare room or accommodation available. You can claim housing benefit to cover rent and a room can be let without it effecting tax or benefits for the household depending on the income received from the rent. If you can find accommodation with friends or relatives we can advise them on rent and any impact this may have on tax or benefits.

 

Help with housing costs

If you are not currently in employment or are on a low income, you may be entitled to financial assistance from the council to help you to pay your rent in the form of housing benefit. If you are in receipt of Universal Credit, help towards your housing costs will be included in your regular payments.

If you are currently a Fylde resident and currently in receipt of housing benefit you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) in order to help you move.

You may be able to start a savings plan and access a safe and affordable loan from a credit union. This will enable you to apply for rent in advance money or a bond. The application process is very simple and a decision can be made quickly.

Alternatively if you have been receiving income support or job seekers allowance for 26 weeks or more you may be able to lend money from the social fund for rent in advance

 

Bond guarantee scheme

Face to Face YMCA rent bond guarantee scheme

The Rent Bond Guarantee scheme is a certificate which is agreed by the Landlord and Face to Face YMCA covering the first period of a shorthold tenancy agreement normally 6 months. It includes an inventory taken of the accommodation at the beginning and end of the tenancy.

If at the end of a tenancy, anything is left damaged, deficient or broken in relation to fixtures or the property, it is then paid for from the Rent Bond Guarantee. Face to Face YMCA will reimburse the Landlord up to the agreed value of the Rent Bond Guarantee. The bond is provided for a period of 6 months to coincide with the period of the tenancy.

The Rent Bond Guarantee replaces the ‘up front’ cash payment for a Bond which is normally asked for by the Landlord. The Rent Bond Guarantee does not cover any rent repayments, arrears or rent in advance, nor does it cover any service charges or utility charges.

It is important to remember that Face to Face YMCA see a large number of people every week. It is extremely important that you show commitment to working with them to help you find a property, therefore it is essential that you visit the office at least once a week to see if there are any suitable properties for you.

Face to Face YMCA operate a drop in at their office which is based at75 St Albans Rd, St Annes, FY8 1TB. Tel. 01253 720270.

The office is only open during the mornings between 9.30am and 12 noon. Face to Face do operate a drop in so it is better if you turn up early to avoid waiting a long time.

 

Social housing

You can apply for social housing via My Home Choice if you meet certain eligibility criteria. Once registered you can bid for any advertised vacancy for which you are eligible that would meet your household’s housing need. The wider areas and property types you are prepared to consider the higher your chances of successfully bidding and being offered a property.

It is important that you do not rely on My Home Choice to accommodate you.

 

Remaining in your property

Landlords can evict an assured shorthold tenant after giving two months’ notice (usually referred to as a section 21 notice) and getting a court order. Most privately rented tenants are assured shorthold tenants. Do not leave your accommodation unless you have found alternative accommodation or are required by law to leave. Remember, only a bailiff can evict you and they need an order from the court. If a landlord wants to begin action evict you, they must follow certain procedures.

If you are lodging with friends/family, resident landlord or in tied accommodation then your rights of occupation may be limited.

 

Accessing support

If you are aged 18 or over and sometimes feel unable to cope with issues such as finance, health and fitness, mobility and transport, relationships and family, employment or housing or if you are anxious, stressed, feel isolated or simply overwhelmed the Lancashire Wellbeing Service is here to help you. For further information or to seek confidential support please contact 03450 138208 (local call rate).