It is important to think about what it will be like being offered a home and being a tenant. Being a tenant carries responsibilities, particularly in terms of how you manage your money and how you look after the home. Signing a tenancy agreement with a landlord, whether it is the local authority, another social landlord or a private landlord, commits you both financially and in other ways. Tenancy agreements, whether a social or private landlord, always require you keeping the home in good order, to get on with neighbours and not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
In the social rented sector, at the start of a tenancy, you have to pay rent in advance of between one week and one month's rent, depending on the landlord. In the private sector, it can be 6 months rent in advance, which can create difficulties for those without much in the way of savings.
It is important to put money aside regularly for rent in advance, along with money for removal costs and any floor coverings, curtains, white goods and furniture that you will need. Rent in advance is required to ensure that you are in credit with your rent.
When you are a tenant, it is important to -
We cover here the key questions to consider:
1. Can I manage my rent and essential living costs?
It may be a good idea to create a budget for yourself, and if you are not renting at the moment, work out how much it will cost you. Please see our Budgeting page
Please see the next pages for more information about how to be a good tenant.
2. If I need help with housing costs, what would I be entitled to?
The government has general information about entitlement to help from the welfare benefits system including help with housing costs at https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators. Different rules about how much help you can receive apply to tenants in social housing (local authority landlord or housing association) from private sector housing (private landlords). In the social rented sector, if the home you are renting has the number of bedrooms that you need under these rules, you can if your income is very low, get all the rent paid. In the private rented sector, even if your income is very low, your whole rent may not be paid because the government sets a rent ceiling for help in each area called the Local Housing Allowance. The Local Housing Allowance is determined centrally by government Rent Officers. More information about how Local Housing Allowance works is available at the Gov.UK page at Local Housing Allowance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
3. Am I able to keep a home tidy?
Being a responsible tenant is about more than paying the rent. Looking after the home and its immediate surroundings is very important too. Please see our page Looking after your Home
4. Will social renting provide me with the home I want in the place I want?
Some areas of Wiltshire have high demand for social rented housing. Feedback is available to housing applicants about the success of their bids, which helps everyone bidding see where, and for what types of home, bids will be most likely to be successful. Demand is generally high, so it is important to be flexible about where you seek to move to, and about the type of home you are prepared to consider.
It is important to note that seeking accommodation through the Homes4Wiltshire choice-based lettings scheme means that you cannot have a spare bedroom unless you are of State Pension Age. This is because the demand for homes is high and the council and its partner housing associations want to make the best use of the housing stock. Occasional exceptions are made where people are interested in upper floor two bedroom apartments in blocks of flats.
We may allow housing applicants to bid for homes with an extra bedroom for a regular overnight carer for someone needing personal care at night or for a disabled child who may disrupt the sleep of another child, but otherwise the 'bedroom matrix' in the council's Allocation Policy determines the number of bedrooms for which you may be considered.