Created On:21 Apr 2015
Thank you for completing the Housing Option wizard.
your action plan
Below are details of your personalised action plan created on: 21 Apr
This outlines the details of the housing options which, based upon the answers you have given, are considered to offer you the most realistic prospects of being rehoused. You are strongly advised to follow the advice given.
• Herts Choice Homes • Page 1
Renting a home from the private sector gives you a wide choice on where you live and the type of home you live in. It can be a good option if you are unable to get a council or housing association home and if buying a home is too expensive.
your action plan
Private rented accommodation can vary widely in terms of quality and the standard of the homes will be reflected in the amount of rent charged.
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to housing benefit, to help you to pay the rent.
Sharing a flat or house will usually be a more affordable option.
There are many lettings agencies that can help you find a home to rent, but you can also look in newsagents and supermarket windows where there are often notice boards advertising homes to rent. Your local newspapers are also likely to contain adverts for rented accommodation.
Watford Borough Council operates a Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme.
The Scheme offers a written guarantee to a landlord in the form of a bond equivalent to one month deposit and applicants are also encouraged to look for their own properties with written guidelines on acceptable conditions. Being in employment is not a requirement for renting through this scheme as the rent payable may be covered by Housing
Benefit. There is also no need for an ‘up front’ deposit as the council may guarantee this for qualifying people (but will recharge you if it is called upon by the landlord).
Some letting agencies just find tenants for properties (these are often known as accommodation agencies). Others manage properties on behalf of landlords and the tenant may never have any direct contact with the landlord. It is common for estate agents to have a lettings department. You will usually need to register with a letting agency before they offer you any accommodation. They cannot charge you to register with them.
You can also register with more than one agency at a time.
You should not have to pay any fees until the agency has found a place for you. It is a criminal offence for agencies to charge you just to register or to supply addresses and details of accommodation.
• Herts Choice Homes • Page 2
It is best to use an agency which is a member of a trade body as this means they will have a complaints procedure and money protection arrangements. The main trade bodies are:
Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA)
National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
your action plan
If the agency is not a member of a trade body, find out whether it takes part in the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). This scheme includes a complaints procedure that you can use and means it is a member of The Property Ombudsman Scheme.
You can also look out for agencies that have the Safe Agent registered mark. This means that your money will be protected through a client money protection scheme.
For a leaflet setting out your rights in relation to lettings agencies and details of what they can and cannot charge you for, go to http:// tinyurl.com/adviceguide To find out more about your rights as a private tenant and the law related to this type of accommodation, follow the link http:// tinyurl.com/shelterorg to open Shelter’s booklet, or follow the link http://tinyurl.com/c8l2uyg for the CAB’s guide.
• Herts Choice Homes • Page 3
Social housing is generally provided by councils and not-for-profit organisations such as