I need to find a new home
Private rented accommodation
If you're looking for properties to rent from private landlords, contact local estate agents, letting agents or look in the local newspaper. The Friday-Ad and Homes Magazines also carry a range of local rental properties. The following websites may also be of use:
The websites above are for information only and are not a recommendation from the council.
Most letting agents will require one month's rent in advance plus a deposit equal to one month's rent before you can move in. You will also generally need to provide work, character or landlord references. Most agents do not accept pets, and those who do may ask for a larger deposit. Some agents charge other fees such as administration and reference/credit check fees on top of this.
Agents may also charge a separate holding fee and some include the holding fee in their administration charges. Holding fees are usually non-refundable once they have been paid. If you are thinking of paying a holding fee make sure to ask the letting agent to put in writing what the money is for and whether it can be refunded.
Some letting agents may require you to have a guarantor who meets specific requirements, eg. is a homeowner. If you have to provide a guarantor you could be charged additional fees. You should always check if you need a guarantor before paying a holding deposit or any administration fees.
- Letting Agents that may be willing to accept tenants receiving Local Housing Allowance
- Private accommodation information sheet
Affording your privately rented home
You may be eligible for Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is a housing benefit payment. The LHA rate is dependent on your income, household size and age. To find out your LHA entitlement contact the Housing Benefit team or visit the Direct gov website.
Once you know what your LHA entitlement is, you'll be able to search for properties in that price range. If you are not entitled to the full LHA amount you can complete our Budget Sheet to help you work out how much rent you can afford:
LHA is paid directly to you, the tenant but, if you want your LHA to be paid direct to your landlord, you may qualify for this through the Safeguard Policy. Ask a Housing Benefit Officer or your Support Worker, if you have one, for further information.
If you don't meet the Safeguard Policy criteria, you can arrange for your LHA to be paid into a Hastings and Rother Credit Union account and then to your landlord. Please contact the Credit Union or Housing Options team for further information.
Rent in advance and deposit fees
Landlords normally ask for one month's rent in advance and one month's rent as a deposit. If you don't have enough saved and you can't borrow any money, you can apply for a budgeting loan through Job Centre Plus. You may also be eligible for help with your rent in advance/deposit through the Discretionary East Sussex Support Scheme (DESSS), which is administered in Hastings through the Housing Options team.
Your tenancy deposit once you find a property:
- Landlords usually ask for one month's rent as a deposit
- If you let your property on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) your landlord has to pay your deposit into a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme
- Your landlord must protect your deposit within 30 days of your tenancy starting. They must tell you in writing which scheme they are using and how you can apply to get the deposit back at the end of the tenancy
- You should be provided with an inventory before you move in which you should check carefully
- If you leave the property in good condition with no unpaid bills, your full deposit should be returned
- More information on Tenancy Deposit Protection is available on www.gov.uk
Additional support to help you find the right home
The Hastings Housing Access Project (HHAP) is a Big Lottery funded project which provides training for people wanting to access housing in the private rented sector, a sharers matching service and a private rented sector working group:
The following organisations may be able to provide further information about finding private accommodation:
- Home Works provides tailored support for people aged between 16 and 64. Telephone 01273 898700, text 07773 377 754 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- STEPS Housing support for over 60s. Telephone 0300 123 2422, text 07944 140016 or email email@example.com. Ensuring your home is safe - Looking into more suitable accommodation - Dealing with tenancy or mortgage worries - Keeping warm and reducing energy bills - Managing household bills and debts - Obtaining daily living equipment.
- The Seaview Project offers support services if you are rough sleeping, homeless or at risk of homelessness, including housing and benefits advice, help with filling in forms and advocacy
- The XTRAX Youth Hub provides housing advice for young people aged between 16 and 25
Social housing, including swapping your home through Mutual Exchange
There is no council housing in Hastings, but there is social rented housing, owned by Registered Providers (Housing Associations), which is let at relatively low rents.
If you would like a social housing property you need to join the Council's Housing Register and bid on properties through the Homemove website.
What is the Sussex Homemove Scheme?
Sussex Homemove is the Choice Based Lettings scheme that we use to advertise social/affordable housing vacancies in Hastings.
There is more information on our Sussex Homemove Scheme page which explains the process from applying to the scheme to choosing and bidding for a new home.
Where can I get more help?
If you have any other questions about social housing or if you would like a copy of our Choice Based Lettings Guide produced for people with a learning disability, please contact the Community Contact Centre.
Swapping your home: Mutual Exchange
If you live in social housing, an easy way to relocate is to swap your home with another social housing tenant.
HomeSwapper (www.homeswapper.co.uk) matches properties with tenants who want to swap houses across the country. You'll need your landlord's permission to swap before you can join HomeSwapper.
Housing for older people
There are a range of sheltered housing schemes for older people provided by Registered Providers in Hastings. Some of these schemes are allocated outside of the Homemove Scheme and others are included within the scheme. These schemes are designed to deliver integrated onsite housing support and housing management service. To make best use of resources, bids would normally be considered from applicants aged 60 and over who would benefit from support to live independently.
AmicusHorizon has a variety of Housing for Older People Schemes (HOPs) generally for people aged 65+. Where it has been agreed with the Registered Provider, bids for HOPs may be considered from applicants with a medical need/disability under the age of 65.
HOPs are designed for those who can live independently but who prefer the added security of having a Lifeline system. This includes people who can live independently with a Social Care and Health Care package in place.
Buying your home including Help to Buy schemes
If you're looking to buy a property contact local estate agents. The following websites may also be of use:
These websites are for information only and are not a recommendation from the Council.
Help to Buy: Home Ownership Schemes
www.bpha.org.uk have produced the following information documents:
Whether you are looking to get onto the housing ladder or move up it, there are a number of Help to Buy products designed to make buying a home more affordable, including:
Shared ownership - new build and re-sales
Depending on how much you can afford, shared ownership allows you to buy a percentage share of a property while a local housing association retains the other share.
It is sometimes known as 'part-buy part-rent' because you will then be charged a rental payment on the remaining share owned by the housing association. In most cases shared owners can choose to buy additional shares later on to increase their equity.
The Help to Buy equity loan is designed to help with the purchase of specific new-build properties priced up to £600,000 from participating registered developers, with as little as a 5% deposit.
The Government lends you up to 20% of the cost of your new-build home, so you'll only need to provide a 5% cash deposit and a 75% mortgage to make up the rest. You also won't be charged loan fees on the 20% loan for the first five years of owning your home.
www.bpha.org.uk are delivering this service on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency in the East and South East of England.
View or download the Help to Buy Newsletter: Summer 2016
Visit www.helptobuyese.org.uk for further or telephone 03333 214044.
Visit www.helptobuy.org.uk if your are interested in buying in another region.
I'm looking for a home