Teaching and Learning

Finding a place

When you are thinking about a place to live, the first thing you should do is draw up a budget. It will help you work out what kind of accommodation you can realistically afford, not just the rent but bills, food etc. You should also try to find out a bit more about how the housing game works.

For example, some landlords think they can’t rent accommodation to people who are under 18 years old. Although the situation can be complicated, there’s nothing to stop a private landlord renting a place to someone under 18 if they want to. Some landlords may not want to do this, as they are afraid the rent may not be paid. You could ask an adult relative to be a guarantor – someone who guarantees to pay the rent and/or for any damages to the property if you can’t.

The Housemate Pack has some activities on finding a place to live, looking at advertisements for accommodation, deciding if somewhere is right for you and whether to share with a friend or partner or not.

Have a look at the different Housing Options that may be available to you.

Where could you get information on accommodation in your area?

Some suggestions:

  • Internet
  • Council or housing associations
  • University/college accommodation offices (if you are a student)
  • Estate agents / letting agents
  • Friends and family
  • Adverts in shop windows, supermarkets
  • Word of mouth
  • Local newspapers

Important things to check out if you go to see a house or flat that you like:

  • Do the doors and windows look secure?
  • Do they open properly?
  • Do the locks work?
  • Does the property smell damp?
  • Are there black spots or other signs of mould on the walls?
  • What impression does the landlord / agent give: are they friendly, pushy, rude?

Important questions to ask if you go to see a house or flat that you like:

  • What furniture comes with the flat/house?
  • Will I be allowed to decorate?
  • Is the landlord planning on doing any decorating?
  • Is there central heating?
  • What fuel is used?
  • Does the hot water work?
  • How warm will it be in winter?
  • Has it got smoke alarms?
  • Does it have a carbon monoxide detector/alarm?
  • Where are the fire escape routes?
  • All gas appliances must be inspected annually by a Gas Safe Registered Inspector. Does the landlord have the latest annual safety certificate?
  • What type of contract will I be offered?
  • How long will the tenancy last?
  • What will happen if I want to leave?
  • Who do I contact if repairs need to be done?
  • Is there a phone line in the house?
  • Is there internet access or wifi connection?
  • Are the gas, electricity and water connected?
  • Are any bills included in the rent?
  • Is a deposit needed, how much is it?
  • How much is the rent?
  • Who will I pay the rent to?
  • How much rent in advance has to be paid?
  • When and how is the rent to be paid?
  • Does the landlord accept housing benefit?
  • How much is housing benefit likely to pay?
  • How much is the council tax on the property?
  • How much are the bills likely to be?
  • How near is the property to shops, friends and family etc?
  • Is the accommodation on a public transport route?

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