Why rent privately?

Private renting can be a quicker route to finding a home. It can also offer more flexibility on location, and the option of furnished or unfurnished accommodation.

Routes to private rented accommodation

Properties are normally advertised in the following places:

  • Local newspapers, shops and Post Offices
  • Estate agents and lettings agencies
  • Internet – try websites such as www.letshelpyou.co.uk

Before renting consider:

Does the landlord want rent in advance?

Help may be available from the Councils Local Welfare Provision.

For advice contact the Housing Advice Team or your local Citizens' Advice Bureau.

Does your landlord want a bond or deposit?

This usually protects the landlord against unpaid rent or damage to the property. The agent must protect the bond in accordance with a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme. These schemes ensure that the bond/deposit is returned to you when your tenancy ends (minus deductions to cover property damage or unpaid rent). Within 14 days of you paying the deposit the landlord should provide you with details of how your deposit is protected.

When paying the bond:

  • Check what the bond covers
  • Get a receipt
  • Ask how it has been protected

Under certain circumstances, you may be eligible for assistance with your bond – see Wakefield Rent Deposit Scheme.

You will need to consider budgeting for costs such as rent, gas, electricity, Council Tax, water, TV licences and insurance.

Assistance may be available through Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

Other considerations:

  • Payment for registering on waiting lists

    Some accommodation/estate agents demand a payment for "registering" you on a list of people looking for private rented properties - this is a criminal offence.

  • Inventory

    Make a detailed list (an 'inventory') of all fixtures and fittings in the property and their condition before signing a tenancy agreement. Agree the inventory with your landlord. This can help to avoid dispute.

  • Tenancy agreement

    This forms a legal agreement between tenant and landlord. Check it carefully and fully understand the agreement before you sign. The tenancy agreement should include: the amount of rent and deposit, rent frequency and tenancy length.

  • Be safe

    Ask the landlord for a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate, showing all appliances have been tested within the last 12 months by a registered engineer and are safe. Check smoke detectors and fire alarms are working.

  • Keys and instructions

    Check you have enough keys for the doors and window locks and ask how to operate the heating, washer, alarms, etc.

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancies

    From 28 February 1997 most private tenancies became assured shorthold. Importantly, with assured shortholds a landlord can end the tenancy simply by giving the tenant at least 2 months written notice.  However,

    • If the tenant does not leave the landlord must get a Court Order to evict them.

    • The Court will not normally order a tenant to leave within the first 6 months of the tenancy.?