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There are many advantages to private renting – you get choice over where you live and the type of property in which you live. For example:
shared with others
self-contained (your own place).
Rented flats, houses and rooms are advertised by estate agents and private owners in local newspapers, Loot, online and on advertisement cards in newsagents' windows and supermarket notice boards.
The National Association of Estate Agents can provide details of its members. Members are qualified, which means you are dealing with professional agents who aim to achieve and maintain the highest standards. Visit www.naea.co.uk or call 0844 387 0555. NAEA deal with estate agents.
Letting agents have other voluntary accreditation bodies such as ARLA, RLA, but from October 2014 all letting agents must join one of three governing bodies:
The Property Ombudsman
The Ombudsman Services
The Ombudsman Services Property
The Property Redress Scheme
It is an offence for an agent not to belong to one of these schemes and complaints can be registered with the scheme who can mediate and award compensation. Other websites to find a rented house, flat or room include:
This is an interest-free loan from the Social Fund that you must pay back. It can be used for ‘rent in advance’ payments but not rent deposits.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a loan and/or a grant.
If you are on a low income or in receipt of benefits, you will need to claim the housing benefit to help you pay your rent.
There is a chronic shortage of affordable housing in Lewisham and due to the level of demand, we are not able to offer a social housing property to everyone who wants one. The below guide will help you find alternative forms of accommodation.