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Help for social housing tenants to move into the private sector (Fresh Start scheme)

The Lewisham Fresh Start scheme enables Lewisham tenants and Lewisham overcrowded or homeless housing applicants to move into the private rented sector. It is a self-help scheme and applicants need to be proactive in looking for suitable properties in the private sector.

Who is eligible to apply?

You are eligible to apply if you are either:

  • a Lewisham Homes tenant registered as overcrowded
  • registered on our housing register as priority homeless
  • registered as an overcrowded applicant on our housing register.

You cannot apply if:

  • you have serious rent arrears

  • you have a history of neighbourhood dispute or antisocial behaviour.

Lewisham Plus Credit Union Ltd (Sydenham branch)

You must be a member of the Lewisham Plus Credit Union in order for Lewisham to raise payments to your new landlord/estate agent.

What support does the scheme provide?

Fresh Start provides support, advice, information and financial assistance to people who wish to move from their current property. You may be eligible for:

  • one month’s rent in advance (up to local housing allowance levels)

  • a landlords deposit (equivalent to one month’s rent)

  • a possible contribution towards removal costs

  • a total grant up to a maximum of £2,650

If you are receiving benefit you must ensure that your local housing allowance entitlement covers the cost of your rent, if not you will be responsible to pay the shortfall.

If you are moving into private rented accommodation the landlord will need to provide us with:

  • gas and electrical safety certificates

  • an Energy Performance Certificate

  • confirmation that they or the letting agent is a member of a Government-preferred Rent Deposit Scheme

To access the scheme, you must be given a minimum one-year assured shorthold tenancy by your new landlord.

Check your local housing allowance and bedroom entitlement.

If you are on benefits make sure you know how you might be affected by the changes to the benefits system with the introduction of the benefit cap and universal credit.

If you want to apply for Fresh Start, download and complete the application form below and email it to dorothy.bryan@lewisham.gov.uk.