If you would like to pursue the option of private rented accommodation, it is worth looking in several different places.
Estate Agents and Letting Agents: many act as agents for private landlords and advertise their properties for them. Letting agents often have their own lists of accommodation to let and advertise every Monday in the Nottingham Evening Post. Most are listed in the Yellow Pages and have their own websites. Several Letting and Estate Agents advertise their properties on the internet. A good website which lists all advertised properties is Right Move.
Individual landlords: It is possible to find individual landlord's details in various places. Details of landlords can also be found in the Nottingham Evening Post newspaper - with the best edition being on a Monday night. It is also worth looking in local post offices, newsagents, other local free newspapers and by word of mouth.
First Lets (A link is available to the right of this page)
Broxtowe Borough Council have a Deposit Guarantee Scheme, which can help people by providing a guarantee for the deposit.
If you are already renting privately, or you secure private rented accommodation, you have tenancy rights and your landlord has responsibility towards you as their tenant. Knowing the basics may help you to keep your tenancy. The Citizen's Advice website contains useful information about your rights as a tenant.
Before you move in you should try whenever possible to obtain a written tenancy agreement and a rent card. The landlord is not legally obliged to give you either, but there should be a good reason why the landlord is not providing them.
If you do not share your property with the landlord, they are legally obliged to provide you with written and signed information about:
- The date the tenancy starts
- The amount of rent you are expected to pay
- The date the rent is due and frequency of payments
- Whether your stay is for a fixed amount of time
- The date the rent is set for review
If your landlord does not initially provide this 'statement of terms' they have 28 days to provide you with the requested details. If you are having difficulties with this, seek advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau, Solicitor, or Housing Aid Centre.
Where the landlord provides a tenancy agreement you need to look carefully at the parts about responsibility for repairs and the list of furniture. An inventory signed by both parties is a useful tool for recording the condition of the property when you move in. This can help prevent future disputes, particularly arguments over returned deposits at the end of your tenancy. We can provide you with advice about problems you may experience during and at the end of your tenancy including rent increases and withheld deposits.
Check with your landlord that any gas appliances in the property are serviced annually by a CORGI registered engineer and that you are given a copy of the gas safety inspection report. Your landlord is legally responsible for ensuring that these annual checks are made.
Before you move in, it is advisable to satisfy yourself that the property is safe and in a good state of repair. The following checklist may prove useful:
Is the property warm enough? Does it have central heating or double glazing?
Is the house in good repair? Check for areas of dampness, rotten flooring, poor electrical wiring.
Is there a smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in the property? Can you fit your own?
What is the area like? Has the house been burgled? How many times? Are there window locks?
Things to Check Before You Sign
Deposits are used to cover damage or rent arrears. Following changes to legislation in April 2007, Landlords are now required to place any monetary deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This means that for the Tenant any disputes regarding returning of the deposit will be dealt with by a third party, giving the Landlord/Tenant more protection against false claims. It is possible that you may have to pay the first month's rent in advance.
If you believe you may be entitled to Housing Benefit, and you know how much your rent will be, you will need to consult the Local Housing Allowance rates to ensure property is affordable. Details of LHA are available on the Internet or from the Housing Benefits Department.
- to print and return to the Housing Benefit Section. They will be able to advise you based on your income, how much benefit you are likely to receive if you take on the tenancy, and how much rent this will leave you responsible for paying.
Check your tenancy agreement. Discuss this with your landlord and make sure that you both agree on all of the terms and conditions.
Under a tenancy agreement the landlord must make sure the property is in good repair, with adequate water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heat. If the landlord says he will fix something before you move in, try to get confirmation in writing.
Get the landlord's contact details for emergencies. Take as many details as possible, including further contact in case you are unable to contact him or if he is on holiday.
If you are responsible for gas and electricity bills then take meter readings on the day you move in.
If applicable, ensure that you have informed the Benefits Agency of your new address and your move in date.
For further information about your rights as a private tenant, you may wish to read the Department for Communities and Local Government booklet 'Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies - A Guide for Tenants'.
Before requesting that you leave the property your landlord must serve you with the correct notice and would, in most cases, be required to obtain a possession order from the County Court. In most cases you don't have to leave just because you are told to by your landlord or an agent acting on your landlord's behalf. If in doubt seek advice from your local Citizen's Advice Bureau or England Shelter as they can help you to understand your rights and find out exactly what your landlord can and cannot do. You may also find the Department for Communities and Local Government booklet 'Notice that you must leave' useful. Click on the following link to view this booklet.
If you have been served notice you can contact a Homelessness Prevention Officer to discuss your housing options. They can also ensure that the notice you have been served with is legal. (See below for their Contact details)
If you have been served notice on the grounds of rent arrears, you may be entitled to free, independent and confidential advice via solicitors affiliated to the Community Legal Service Partnership.
This service is means tested and further information is available on their website.
The Council's Legal Powers
Harassment and illegal eviction as defined in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, are criminal offences.
Broxtowe Borough Council has to prosecute persons who commit offences. We will investigate complaints and consider bringing a prosecution where the evidence is sufficient to indicate the likelihood of a successful prosecution and where it is in the public interest.
The Council also has powers to prosecute landlords who fail to fulfil their obligations under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, as amended. Such matters include the failure of landlords to provide rent books and the failure of freeholders to give long leasehold tenants information concerning service charges and insurance. If landlords fail to provide this information after repeated requests, a prosecution will be considered.
The Council has a power under Section 33 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976, to make arrangements to secure the restoring of gas, water or electricity supplies for the benefit of residents if the supply has been cut off due to the failure of the landlord to pay for these services. We will only consider these arrangements as a last resort in emergency cases involving vulnerable tenants and if making such provision does not involve financial liability falling onto Broxtowe Borough Council.
These legal routes will only be followed if all other options have been investigated. Please contact us for advice and assistance on any problems you have with your private tenancy and we may be able to help you resolve your difficulty. Our contact details are as follows: -
Tel - (0115) 917 7777 ext. 3406
Address - Homelessness & Housing Advice Team,
Broxtowe Borough Council,
Nottingham NG9 1AB