Sharing a Letting out Tenancy, what you need to know
What is sharing?
Sharing a tenancy with Letting Out is when you and someone you know who, such as a friend or relative move into a private rented tenancy together. You must both be over 18, homeless or needing to move, without children living with you and you must not be a couple. Each sharer has their own separate bedroom and you share the other rooms together, such as the kitchen, living room and bathroom.
‘It was a good service for us. It helped us get our new flat’.
Bond Board Service User
What are the benefits of sharing with Letting Out?
Sharing a tenancy with Letting Out takes away the risks of private renting on your own by:
-Making the rent affordable for you and your sharer, with the rent being covered by Local Housing Allowance/Universal Credit if you’re not working and eligible to claim. Even if you start work, you can still afford the rent as it’s generally between £55-£65 per week each.
-Saving you money. You have to find less money for bills like Gas, Electricity and Water when you’re sharing as you can pay the bills between you, for example by paying half each rather than the full bill on your own.
-Finding you a property Letting Out helps you to find suitable properties and deals with the landlord for you, taking the hassle out of finding a property with a landlord who accepts people claiming benefits/on a low income.
-No money needed to move in. You don’t need any money up-front, such as a bond, rent-in-advance or administration fees for a Letting Out property, making it an affordable option for people on benefits or a low income.
-Decent properties. Letting Out inspects all potential properties to make sure they are safe and of a good standard before offering them to sharers. If work needs doing, we’ll sort this out with the landlord before you move in-making sure your home is safe and in a good state of repair when you move in.
-Extra help and support. Letting Out can help you with more than getting a property. We can help you before and after you’ve moved in with stuff like getting furniture, setting up and managing your bills, benefit problems, debts, health issues and loads more.
-A decent Letting Agent. Once you’ve moved in, Letting Out manages the property on behalf of the landlord, acting as your Letting Agent. If you have any problems, such as repairs that need doing, you would contact us, not the landlord and we will get it sorted. Having a homeless charity, with your interests at heart as the point of contact for your property should give you peace of mind that things will be done properly and you’ll get a good service.
‘The service is fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for more’.
Bond Board Service user
Do I have to share?
If you are single, under 35 and looking to move into a private rented property, most people relying on Housing Benefit/Universal Credit to pay their rent will need to share. This is because of Government rules about how much help you can get from Housing Benefit/Universal Credit towards your rent. The rules make living on your own in a private rented tenancy unaffordable.
From April 2017-March 2018 the maximum help most single, under 35 years old can get towards your rent from Housing Benefit/Universal Credit is the ‘shared rate of Local Housing Allowance’. This is:
£55.90 per week (£242.23 per month) in Rochdale
£50.13 per week (£217.23 per month) in Heywood and Bolton
£67.20 per week (£291.20 per month) in Middleton
***The figures usually change every year and also depend on which area you are moving to. Some young people aged 18-21 might not be entitled to any help towards your Housing Costs, even if you aren’t working, as the Government has changed the rules from April 2017. It is always essential to get advice about whether you would get Local Housing Allowance and how much it would be before signing for a private rented tenancy***
These small amounts make it very difficult to afford to move into a private rented place on your own, because private rented homes are usually at least £375 per month, if not more.
There are some exceptions. You may get more help with your housing costs and be able to afford to live on your own in a private rented property if:
-Need overnight care, or
-Get the ‘Severe Disability Premium’ in your benefits, or
-Get the Middle or High rate of Disability Living Allowance or the Daily Living Component of Personal Independence Payments or the Armed Forces Independence Payment.
2) If you are over 25 and:
-Have lived in homeless hostels at any time, for a total of 3 months or more (it does not have to be continuously) and got support to resettle you back into the community whilst you were living there, or
-You are an offender under specific ‘Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).
3) You are under 22 and:
-You were looked after or in the care of the Local Authority after you were aged 16. If this applies to you, you would be exempt from the shared rate of Local Housing Allowance until your 22nd birthday, but would only get the shared room rate once you reached 22, unless your circumstances changed, for example, you were no longer single.
If you don’t need to share, The Bond Board might be able to help you by offering you a Bond Guarantee for your own private rented property. See the ‘Need Accommodation’ Section for further information.
Finding the right sharer
To get a shared tenancy with Letting Out, you will need to find someone you know, trust and would be comfortable sharing your home with for at least 6 months. When you are desperate for somewhere to live, it can be tempting to agree to share with someone you don’t know very well or who you are not so sure about. This could be a big mistake. You and your sharer will be jointly responsible for your new home. If one of you doesn’t pay the rent or causes a problem, it could end the tenancy for both of you. You will need to work together to make it work and be able to live together without any major problems.
Questions to ask yourself:
Have I known my sharer for long enough to know enough about them?
How much do I know about my sharer and anyone they might invite round?
Would I feel comfortable and safe living with them?
Am I confident my sharer would pay their share of the rent and bills?
Do we have similar lifestyles? For example, If you like an early night and your sharer stays up till 4am playing the X box, would living together work?
Can I trust my sharer and anyone they let in the house not to damage or take my stuff when I’m not there?
Have you and your sharer had a proper chat about how sharing a home might work for you both, what kind of property you both want and what your plans are going forward?
I don’t want to share/ I haven’t got anyone to share with
If you don’t want to share or don’t have anyone to share with, you could apply for Social Housing, for example by applying to Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, Bolton at Home or a Housing Association. Local Housing Allowance doesn’t apply to social housing, so you could get your rent covered and live on your own. However, you might not be able to get social housing, for example if you owe rent arrears from a previous social housing tenancy or were evicted in the past. Sometime it can also take a long time to get social housing if there are lots of people on the waiting list or there aren’t a lot of properties becoming empty in the areas you want.
If you are not ready for your own tenancy yet and need more support, you might want to consider a hostel or supported accommodation first.
If you are in need of housing and want to discuss your options further, you can contact us or contact:
Bolton Council Homelessness Team-01204 335830
Rochdale Boroughwide Homelessness Team-0300 303 8548
Who can apply to share with Letting Out?
You can apply for a Letting Out shared tenancy if you;
How do I apply to share with Letting Out?
You will need a referral (information about you and your circumstances) sent to The Bond Board by someone who works with you. Examples of who could send this include, the homelessness department, a GP or healthcare worker, a support worker, a drug and alcohol service, MIND, Probation, a Social Worker, Petrus and Middleton Day Centres and many more. If you haven’t got anyone working with you and are homeless, give us a ring or call into the office and we will help you. Once we have received a referral for you, we will arrange for you to complete an application form (we can help you with this too if you need it).
You can access our scheme through Bolton Housing Advice Service, at our drop-ins at Bolton Housing Advice or through referrals made by other agencies. You can contact Bolton Housing Advice at: Homeless Welfare, Ground Floor, Town Hall, Victoria Square, Bolton BL1 1RU. Tel: 01204 335830. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next?
We will meet with you and your sharer to discuss your situation and your application for a Letting Out tenancy. We can usually give you a decision straight away, but sometimes we need your permission to get further information first. If you are accepted for a Letting out tenancy, we will start looking for suitable properties for you and arrange for you to see any we think might be suitable.
If we feel you are not ready or able to manage a tenancy and need more support than there is available, we might not be able to offer you a Letting Out tenancy straight away. If this is our decision, it doesn’t mean we can’t help you at all. We will help you to get the right support or housing for you and you can still use other Bond Board services. We will let you know when you can apply again and encourage you to do so when you are ready.
Still not sure?
If you want to know more about Letting Out and all the services we have available to help you, Contact us
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