The Private Rented Access Scheme helps landlords find tenants from the Council's waiting list who want to rent for a long time.
By working with us we can offer housing to those who may not be able to access the private sector rental market independently because they cannot raise the deposit or pay rent in advance.
Benefits to you
- Free to join - unlike most letting agents, we do not charge any fees or commission for this service.
- We match your property with our waiting lists to find suitable tenants with no tenant introduction fees.
- A bond against damage or rent arrears equivalent to five weeks' rent. It can be claimed against any losses at the end of the tenancy.
- Tenancy documentation.
- Regular contact between you, us and the tenant ensures the tenancy runs smoothly.
- Free support and advice on the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.
- Support to look after you and your property during the tenancy.
- Intensive additional support for tenants who encounter problems keeping their tenancy.
- Finding new tenants to reduce the amount of time your property is empty.
- There is no commitment to let your property to one of our tenants and you can withdraw your property from the scheme if you find your own tenant first.
We support the tenant as they claim any Housing Benefit or Universal Credit they may be entitled to. We also have specialist employment and training advice for tenants to help them keep their tenancy in the long run.
What sort of properties do we need?
We need one to four bedroom homes available for at least 12 months, although longer lets are ideal. Accommodation must be self-contained, in a good state of repair and have all the valid safety certificates detailed below.
How much rent can I charge?
You can set the rent of your property based on what you believe the market is able to pay.
Our tenants are usually in receipt of some benefits, even when working. Rent payments for these tenants need to be around the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates for the property to be affordable.
LHA rates are set each year by the government. The rate is calculated on the tenants circumstances such as, family size and the area they live in.
It is unlikely tenants will be able to afford rents which are more than 10% above the LHA rates. Our Housing Team can estimate what would be considered reasonable rent for your property.
Paying the rent
This depends on the benefit the tenant receives.
- Housing benefit is paid every four weeks in arrears. This means the tenant receives exactly the same amount of benefit over the year, but in 13 payments rather than 12. If you rent your property through the Council we can arrange for the Housing Benefit to be paid directly to you.
- Universal Credit means a claimant receives all their benefits in one monthly payment which includes a housing element. We will work with the tenant to set up a standing order each month to pay the rent. Ideally, the rent payment should be made on the date the benefit is paid.
If the tenant falls behind paying their rent by eight weeks, you can apply for the rent to be paid directly to you.
Rent in advance
We will arrange for the tenant to pay rent in advance due at the beginning of the tenancy. This is usually one months rent, funded by either the tenant or a loan from the Council.
Ending the tenancy
We hope you and your tenant have a long relationship, but if for some reason things don't work out and the tenant doesn't want to roll over their contract, we will help you to find your next tenant.
If there are problems which mean you want to end the tenancy early, we will provide you with support with the legal process for giving notice and ending the tenancy.
What happens if I need to claim on the bond?
If your tenant has damaged your property, or has left rent arrears, you can make a claim at the end of the tenancy, by:
- Making a claim in writing within seven days of the tenant leaving the property.
- Allowing us to inspect the property.
- Providing receipts for replacement items and/or estimates for repairs.
We are not responsible for repairing damage caused by normal wear and tear.
What happens next?
If you are interested in joining this scheme , please complete this enquiry form. We will then contact you to discuss the scheme and any questions you may have. We will then visit the property and if it is suitable arrange for prospective tenants to view.
We do not provide references for tenants and there is no obligation to accept someone on our housing register.
General advice for landlords
- If your property is mortgaged you will need permission from your lender to let it.
- Make sure you have adequate buildings and contents insurance and advise your insurers you are letting the property.
- The inside and outside of your property should be kept in good decorative order and all furnishings in good condition.
- You will need to arrange for the property to be cleaned and gardens tidied before a new tenancy begins.
You must keep the property safe and free from health hazards.
- All gas appliances must be serviced and checked for safety annually by a Gas Safe registered installer. You will be given a certificate after each annual check. You will need a new certificate every time you have a new tenant in the property.
- You will need an energy performance certificate.
- You will need an Electrical Safety Certificate (NICEIC).
- Your property must have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms fitted according to current housing legislation.
- You must check that a tenant can legally rent your property. We can provide guidance about this.
- At the beginning of the tenancy, please give your tenant a printed copy or a link to How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.
We cannot remove the risk landlords take in letting any property, although we will try to ensure any tenancy is conducted satisfactorily and rent paid regularly.
The government has lots of guidance on their website such as: