Private rented accommodation

A private rented property could be any type of residential property such as a house or a flat. The property is owned by an individual or private company who then allows someone to live in it for a monthly rent payment.

In Poole and the surrounding area, there is a good supply of private rented properties in most areas, however properties range significantly in rent charges. It is important to make sure you know how much you can afford before starting your enquiries. It is often easier, quicker and more convenient to secure a private rented property.

Benefits of private renting

The benefits of private renting include:

  • properties are usually available immediately
  • having greater choice over where you live
  • available furnished, unfurnished or even part furnished
  • it can be easy to end the tenancy if you decide to move

Finding somewhere to rent

Landlords often advertise properties available to rent in local newspapers or newsagents windows. Letting agents and estate agents often let and manage properties for private landlords. An agency will normally charge for the service they provide and you should consider keeping money aside to pay for this.

If where you live now is not suitable for you or your family then you may be able to get assistance with paying the deposit. If you would like further information on this scheme and details of available properties, you will need a housing options interview.

To request an interview, please complete a request a housing needs assessment.

Before you start renting

You should read guidance on how to rent on GOV.UK. Landlords must give this guide to all new tenants at the start of their tenancy.

Affordability

If you are on a low income you may be entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

The amount of housing benefit paid for private rented tenancies is capped at what is known as Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates. Benefits calculators on GOV.UK can give you an idea of how much benefit you may be entitled to.

Rent and tenancy fees

Landlords can make the following types of charges:

Premium

A non-returnable sum of money which the landlord can charge simply for giving you the tenancy.

Returnable deposit

This can be up to 2 months rent. You must leave the property in the same condition in which it was let to you, allowing for wear and tear.

When you move in, you should make a detailed list of all the property's contents and record their conditions. Taking photographs will help. Check the tenancy agreement for circumstances in which your landlord could refuse to return your deposit when you move out.

If you have an assured short-hold tenancy, your landlord must protect your deposit with a tenancy deposit scheme.

Rent

Rent is money you agree to pay the landlord for the right to live in your home. The amount you pay will depend on your agreement with the landlord and what you can afford. You can get an idea of what rents are being charged locally by looking at the register of determined rents on GOV.UK, held by the Valuation Office Agency.

Bills

Find out whether payments for gas, electric, water and phone services are included in the rent or whether you will need to pay the suppliers yourself.

Benefits and help paying rent

If you get Universal Credit, or if you are on a low income, you can claim Local Housing Allowance to help you pay your rent. These pay for accommodation only and do not cover charges for heating, lighting, food or care that may be included in your rent. Before agreeing to take on a tenancy you should check the amount of Local Housing Allowance you will get for the size of property you are planning to rent.

For more information about benefits and help you may be able to get, read about Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. You can also get advice from Citizens Advice Bournemouth and Poole.

Failing to pay rent

It is your responsibility to pay rent on time. If you pay weekly the landlord must give you a rent book. If you pay fortnightly or monthly make sure you get receipts for payments you make. If you don’t pay the rent, the landlord can start possession proceedings to evict you from the property. You should not withhold rent in an attempt to force the landlord to carry out repairs.

If the landlord does not collect the rent, you should make every effort to pay it. Write to the landlord, saying that you want to pay and keep a copy of the letter. If you try to pay the rent and the landlord refuses to accept it, make sure that you have an independent witness. Keep the rent money in a separate account, so that you can pay it when asked. Then, if the case goes to court, you will be able to show that it was the landlord, not you, who acted wrongly.

Furnishing your home

Help may also be available from various organisations including:

Page last updated: 31 October 2018
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