Homes to rent: frequently asked questionsAll the important information you need on securing one of our homes
What types of homes do you have to rent?
We have lots of different homes to rent, including flats, apartments, houses and bungalows. We also offer communal living if you’re over 55 and supported living if you need a little extra care to regain or keep your independence.
Can you let a property directly to me?
Unfortunately not, in most cases. Every home we let has to be advertised so that everybody has an equal chance to apply it and goes through the same process to assess suitability.
This means that empty homes are allocated fairly. Where there is an exceptional case, for example when somebody is at serious risk, we may carry out a ‘managed letting’. This is where we will allocate a property directly, but it is rare.
Cases like these normally involve other support agencies.
Do I have to be working to rent a home with you?
If you are not currently in employment then, in the majority of cases, you can still apply for available properties. There may be a small number of properties that specifically ask for applicants in employment. If this is the case then it will be made clear in the advert.
I am homeless. How can you help me?
You should contact your local authority as soon as possible as they can give priority to homeless applicants.
We will allocate our homes on housing need basis, which means that if you are homeless you will generally receive a higher priority than someone who is already housed.
Can I apply for properties if I have medical needs?
Of course. If you have medical needs, you are welcome to apply for a home but we will need to ensure the home is either suitable for your needs or can be adapted so you can live there safely.
We have some homes which are already adapted and so will allocate these homes to people who most need them. It is important to say that these are limited and demand for them is quite high.
I’ve not had a tenancy before, can I still apply?
Yes, of course. With all applications we will ask for references, and carry out income and expenditure checks to make sure you will be able to afford your rent and bills and can sustain your tenancy.
Is there a bond or deposit to pay?
No, we don’t ask for a bond or deposit for any of our homes.
You will be asked to pay some rent in advance at the start of your tenancy, usually equal to four weeks rent. But if you are unable to pay this we will still consider your application and may make arrangements for you to pay the initial payment in instalments.
Do I have to be a particular age to apply?
Some of our homes do have age restrictions and these will always be made clear in the property advert.
Am I allowed to have pets?
Pets are allowed in a number of our homes. Generally, if the property has a communal entrance then pets are not usually allowed. This is in consideration for your neighbours who live within the same block.
How many bedrooms can I apply for?
If you have applied through the local authority then you will have been told what size of home you are able to apply for. Usually the number of bedrooms you are allowed are allocated using the following criteria:
One bedroom is allowed each for:
- A couple
- A person aged 16 and over
- Two children of the same sex
- Two children under 10
- Any other child
- A carer, who has a home elsewhere and who provides regular overnight care to someone in the household
Occasionally we may allow applicants to under occupy a property by one bedroom as long as they can show they can afford to pay the rent.
Will there be a car parking space?
It will say in the property advert if there is parking available. Sometimes this may be private off-road parking on a driveway, a communal car park or on the street.
What happens when I apply for a home?
We will usually contact you first to make sure you are still interested in the property and discuss any individual circumstances you might have. After that, we will send you an application form and an income and expenditure form to fill in.
Once we have received that from you, we will carry out any checks we need to and contact referees. If more than one person has expressed an interest in the same house, we will assess carefully each individual needs.
If successful, you will be invited to view the property and it is then your choice if you wish to accept the offer or not. If you choose to go ahead, we will book an appointment as soon as possible to sign the relevant documents and hand over your keys.
Will you carry out checks as part of my application?
You will need to provide proof of identification, address and income. We carry out affordability checks to ensure you would be able to afford the rent and household costs in your new home.
We will also carry out reference checks and seek further information in support of your application. This could be from various sources, usually identified by you in your application, such as an employer, previous landlords, support services, GP.
Can I view the property before I apply?
There is nothing to stop you visiting the area and taking a look, however, we will generally not advertise a specific property address, just the street.
We would ask that you wait for our lettings team to arrange a visit inside a property and don’t try to arrange it yourself.
When will you let me know about my application?
We will keep you up to date throughout the process. We promise to respond to queries within 10 working days, although in most cases, we will get back to you within hours (unless it’s a weekend).
Make sure we always have your up-to-date contact details.
How will I know if my application is successful?
We will let you know once you have been accepted, usually as soon as we can contact you. If you have been unsuccessful we will also let you know why.
I have been applying for properties for ages, why have I not been successful?
If you have applied through a local authority waiting list (Choice Based Lettings) then your position very much depends on who and how many other people have applied for the same property.
We receive a shortlist from the local authority in priority order and we have to contact those applicants in that order. We cannot skip applicants without reason or change the shortlist in any way. Rightmove is slightly different in that we assess housing need in-house and the local authority are not involved.
You can strengthen your application by putting as much detail in there as you can, in particular the reasons why you need to move home. The more detail the quicker we can make a decision on your housing need.
You may also wish to think carefully about the areas you are willing to move to and the type of property you would be happy to live in. By widening your search it may provide more opportunity to secure your new home.
Is there a minimum rental period?
We offer monthly tenancies and request four weeks’ notice if you are looking to move home.
Does the property come with furnishings?
Properties generally come empty and you will need to provide carpets, white goods (such as fridges and washing machines) and furnishings. Occasionally where a previous tenant has left floor coverings or curtains/blinds and we deem them to be in good condition we may leave them for the next tenant.
Such items will be gifted to the new tenant and they would be responsible for replacement when that time comes. Wet areas such as bathrooms and kitchens will always come with floor coverings supplied by us.
Will the home need decorating?
If the property requires re-decorating we will usually give you a helping hand with decorating vouchers. The vouchers can be used to buy a variety of decorating products from a participating high street store.
Am I responsible for the gardening?
If you have a private garden then you will be responsible for keeping it nice and tidy. If the grounds are communal then we will organise for a gardener to regularly tend to that area. Where this is the case you will normally have a small service charge to pay on top of your rent to cover the costs.
What are service charges?
Service charges are for services provided to you, such as landscaping, cleaning communal areas, utilities (gas, electricity, water and telephone) fire safety equipment, lift maintenance or communal window cleaning. Charges will change over time but we don’t make a profit on them and will only charge you what it costs us to supply the service.
Is the service charge paid by Housing Benefit?
If you receive financial assistance with your rent, some service charges can be eligible for housing benefit (HBE). But there are other service charges that are ineligible for housing benefit (HBI), which means you have have to pay for them.
If you receive housing benefit, the service charges will have been assessed in line with housing benefit regulations.
Are service charges paid for by Universal Credit?
If you are in receipt of Universal Credit (which includes a housing cost element) there are again rules over what is and isn’t an eligible service charge.
If you have a query with any of your service charges eligibility, you should first of all speak to your local authority or Department of Work & Pensions (DWP).