Can I Private Rent on Benefits?
If I had a pound for every time that I was asked this question, I'd be well and truly sorted financially.
None the less, it's a very good question and one that needs answering.
We live in a world where everyone was not born equal and nor have they had equal opportunities in life. I know better than most, that women can be hugely disadvantaged in the private rented sector, as can those with a disability, due to the very fact that they are more likely to be on low incomes and in receipt of benefits.
This is what Citizens Advice have to say:
"Not all landlords and letting agents will let you rent from them if you get Housing Benefit or housing costs payments through Universal Credit.
You only need to tell your landlord or letting agent you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if they ask.
You might be able to get a landlord or letting agent to accept you by giving extra references. You could ask more than one of your previous landlords to give you a reference that says your rent was always paid on time.
You could also get a guarantor to help you get accepted. A guarantor is someone who agrees to pay the rent if you don’t."
I am pleased to report, that Norman Galloway Lettings, do not discriminate against those on benefits/DSS and will always look at everyone’s individual circumstances in terms of their affordability to pay their rent.
As a rule of thumb - we look at, the amount that you are entitled to as your Housing Benefit or the Housing Allowance Element of your Universal Credit. We work with you to understand how any difference between your Housing Benefit/Housing Allowance Element of UC, and the actual rental price of the property, will be made up.
We believe that other benefits received, are for specific purposes other than your rent, so we would generally not include those in our assessment.
I strongly believe that we have a duty of care to ensure that we do not facilitate anyone taking on a tenancy that is unaffordable to them. We would not wish to put anyone in a position whereby they are using all of their benefits to pay for their rent and then have nothing left to pay for the other items those benefits were awarded for. This really is not a case of Big Brother here, but simply a case of being realistic and managing expectations and giving every new tenant a fighting chance of an affordable tenancy.
In addition to our obligations to our Tenants, we have to also protect the Landlord's investment and ensure that any tenancy is sustainable.
If you have told us that you have a Guarantor, this is definitely going to help you with any application, especially if they are a UK homeowner, that will strengthen your application further. We are often asked "do I have to have a guarantor?" the answer to that question is "No". Your application will be assessed in its entirety, with everything that you have told us being taken in to consideration in terms of your suitability as a sustainable tenant.
If you have told us, and can evidence that you have a good track record in a previous tenancy, that's also great and will strengthen your application.
The key things to remember here are; that we look at each application on its own merit and work to ensure that any tenancy is sustainable and affordable.
This protects both the Tenant and the Landlord and that's just how it should be.
Anything less would be incompetent at best and unforgivable at worst.
I hope that this explains how we look at applications and please do get in touch if you have any additional questions.
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