Young people aged 18 and over (and 16/17 year olds if they have an adult who will act as a trustee and guarantor for the tenancy) may apply to join the Housing Register like anyone else. If you have not been a tenant before, you may wish to look at the Am I ready to be a tenant? page for information about what you need to think about.
If young people wish to apply with a friend, as joint applicants, the council welcomes this. Living with friends can make accommodation more affordable for young people on low earnings. Many homes advertised on Homes4Wiltshire these days are “affordable rents” which are roughly 80% market rents but can include a service charge on top of the rent. Please note that not all the landlords advertising on Homes4Wiltshire will consider friends as tenants unless they have lived together for 12 months.
If you not earning very much, or unemployed, it can be worth using a benefits calculator to find out what benefits you can get and how to claim. The main online benefits calculators are entitledto and Turn2us.
A new benefit Universal Credit, which includes housing element to help people on low incomes with their rent, and administered by Jobcentre Plus is replacing Housing Benefit administered by Wiltshire Council for most working age people.
Important note: Most single, unemployed Universal Credit claimants, aged 18 to 21 living in “full service” Universal Credit areas including Wiltshire Council’s district are not be able to claim the housing element of Universal Credit. This does not apply to those who can’t work because of caring responsibilities or a disability or to those who have been working for the previous six months. There are also some protections for those who can't live at home with their parents.
If you are single and aged under 35 years, and sign a new tenancy agreement, you could be affected by the introduction of the “shared accommodation” rate for council and housing association tenants. The shared sccommodation rate sets the maximum amount of rent that Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit can cover and this is about £68-70 per week in Wiltshire Council’s district (it varies from area to area). It affects most single people who are under 35 years old and have no dependent children. Whilst the change applies to tenancies signed after 1 April 2016, the actual Housing Benefit entitlement or the housing element of Universal Credit people receive won't change until 1 April 2019.
If you are a young person, and you have nowhere to stay, please contact the council's Housing Options team based at its Chippenham, Salisbury and Trowbridge offices. Housing Options may be contacted as below or by visiting the offices on weekdays. Housing Options staff can also give you information and advice on other housing options. Affordable housing should only be seen as one option and, given the high demand for affordable housing, alternative solutions may be required if you are at risk of losing your home or need a more immediate solution to your housing difficulties.
Please note that if you do not have a serious housing problem, Housing Options cannot help with routine Homes4Wiltshire matters. All enquiries about the Housing Register ought to be addressed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone to the Customer Services team on 0300 456 0104.
Wiltshire Council's Housing Options team may be contacted via email at email@example.com. NB You do not have to be literally homeless to contact the service. In urgent cases, Housing Advisers are available by telephone or for face to face advice at:
Council Offices, Monkton Park, Chippenham SN15 1ER: 01249 706666 (closed for face to face advice on Wednesdays until 2 pm)
The Council House, Bourne Hill, Salisbury SP1 3UZ: 01722 434233 (closed for face to face advice on Thursdays until 2 pm)
County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge : 01225 718005 (closed for face to face advice on Tuesdays until 2 pm)