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Information » Housing » Finding rented accommodation » How to Find a Place

How to Find a Place

If you are looking for somewhere to rent in your area then there are a number of websites that you can try. You can also find places to rent in local newspapers, on notice boards in post offices and shops and at the local university or college.

  • If you’re looking for accommodation away from your local area, then searching online to find a flat or a house would be your best option
  • You can also find a place to rent with a letting agency. For a fee, a letting agency will help you find accommodation to match what you're looking for. Properties advertised through a letting agency are either managed by the agency or by a private landlord

Your Budget

When looking for somewhere to live, it's important to stick to what you can afford. Work out what your budget is and be realistic about what you can pay.

  • Work out your incomings and your outgoings to find out how much rent you can afford to pay. See the section on Budgeting [link to 6a Budgeting] for more information
  • Don't feel pressured to choose a property out of your price range. If you can't pay your rent, you will probably be fined by the landlord or letting agency and in some circumstances you could be evicted from the property
  • All letting agencies charge different agency fees and have various types of properties available depending on your needs. Take your time and shop around
  • Once you have decided on a property to rent, the letting agency or landlord will require a bond or deposit. This is usually equal to one month's rent and is used to cover any damages or repairs to the property when you leave. If you look after the house during your tenancy and leave it clean and tidy, you will get your bond back in full
  • If you have to pay a bond then make sure you get an inventory or list of all the items provided in the accommodation and the condition that they are in before you move in. Its also a good idea to take some pictures, that way you can prove that something was already damaged, stained or broken before you lived in the property so you won’t be charged for it when you leave
  • If you have not had your bond returned after your tenancy and feel it is unjustified, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice

Things to look for when finding a place to live

It is useful to write down a checklist of the things you need from your house or flat:

  • Central heating?
  • Double glazing?
  • Close to college / university and local shops?
  • On a good bus route?
  • Parking space or garden?

If you are interested in a property, the letting agency or landlord can arrange for you to view it.

  • When viewing a property, take note of what the surrounding area. Do you feel comfortable and safe? What types of people live in the area? You can also research the local area online for more information
  • Find out about the kitchen appliances, what is included and whether everything in good working order
  • Damp can be an issue in older houses and can damage your health, so be aware of any patches on the walls, black spots or mould
  • For more information about what to look for go to the Renting section
  • Finding somewhere to live takes a lot of time, so don't rush. You may need to see lots of places to find something suitable, so try not to make an 'on-the-spot' decision
  • Once you have decided, you will usually need to give a deposit or bond to secure the property and make sure no-one else gets it

Council houses

Most councils have properties available for rent at a reasonable price. Contact the housing department of your local authority for more information.

  • Council houses can vary in standards and the waiting lists tend to be long, so apply as soon as you can. Priority is given to people in certain groups such as the homeless or if you are single with children

Housing associations

Housing associations operate in most areas and offer many different types of accommodation.

  • Rent is usually cheaper than those charged by private landlords, but you will usually have to fit certain criteria to become a housing association tenant
  • Some housing associations also offer schemes where you can go into partnership with them and buy a house. You pay them rent, which contributes to a mortgage
  • Contact your relevant housing association for more information. Like council houses, the waiting list can be long and priority is given to people in certain groups

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