Finding Accommodation Where to look for accommodation There are a number of places to look for accommodation for rent: • Local Newspapers such as the Stockport Express and the Manchester Evening News. • Adverts in the windows of local shops. • Flat / property agencies. There are several agencies within the Greater Manchester area that cover accommodation in Stockport. • Walk around areas of Stockport you would like to live in, some private landlords will place a note in windows of properties they want to rent. • Various websites such as; www.loot.com www.spareroom.co.uk www.fish4homes.co.uk www.stockportletting.co.uk www.rightmove.co.uk www.homesonview.co.uk •
Word of mouth. Tell all your friends and family you are looking for somewhere to live.
A list of some agencies and landlords that cover accommodation in Stockport is enclosed. This does not guarantee they have properties which will accept the Deposit Scheme at the time when you contact them. Such agencies cannot charge you for mere registration or providing you with an address list. They can, however, charge an administration to cover the costs of letting the property and the paperwork associated with the let. The deposit does not cover this. The administration fees can range from £50 right up to £200 and this is at the discretion of the Estate Agents. If in doubt, please contact the Deposit Scheme Officer on 0161 474 2643. Unfortunately private rented accommodation can be expensive, most private landlords will ask for a months rent upfront in addition to the deposit, this months rent will not be covered by the Deposit Scheme. If you have been on income support for six months or more you may be entitled to a budgeting loan to cover your advance rent payment. You will need to supply a copy of the tenancy agreement and a letter from your landlord to the benefits agency stating how much rent is being asked for and how many weeks in advance you have been asked to pay. If you have not been on Income support for six months, you may still qualify for a crisis loan – see a Welfare Rights Officer or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for further help with this. For more information on Housing benefit, please call 0161 217 6015.
Contacting the landlord Contact the landlord by phone in order to arrange a suitable day and time to meet at the property so that you can have a good look around and discuss the details further. Viewing a property Check the following before renting a property: •
Rent • • • •
Gas, electric and water • •
Is there hot and cold running water for a bath or shower? Is the bathroom shared? If so, with how many other people and who is responsible for cleaning?
Furniture • •
Do you share with anyone else? If so, who is responsible for the cleaning? Are the facilities adequate and hygienic?
Washing and toilet facilities • •
Is it gas or electric? Has the heating and hot water system been checked recently? Are they up to health and Safety standards?
Cooking facilities •
Are these charges included in the rent or are they paid separately? If they are paid through card, key or coin operated meters, do the meters work?
Heating • • •
How much is it and what does it cover? Is there going to be a Housing Benefit shortfall for you to pay? Can you afford it? When is rent to be paid?
Is the property furnished or unfurnished? If there is furniture: • What state is it in? • Does it comply with fire safety regulations? • Is it adequate for your needs? • Can you bring your own furniture?
Security / safety • • • •
Are there adequate locks internally and externally? Are there window locks? Is there a smoke alarm? Is there a means of escape in case of fire?
Finally • • •
Check the property for the general state of decoration, (dis)repair, dampness etc. Make a note of any outstanding repairs and confirm they will be done by the landlord. Note any marks on the carpets/wallpaper etc.
If both you and the landlord wish to go ahead: •
You both must complete the enclosed pre-tenancy determination form and send this in to Stopford house, the rents Section will then calculate how much Housing Benefit you may be entitled to so you can decide if you can afford to pay any shortfall yourself if there is one. Contact the Deposit Scheme Officer on 0161 474 2643 as soon as possible to organise the Deposit Scheme sign-up. If you are relying on the support of the Deposit Scheme, do not sign for a property unless you are certain you will be covered by the scheme and have received a letter to confirm this.
Good luck with your house hunting!