Private accommodation is a property owned by a private landlord which you rent from them.
Private rented properties are often advertised through letting agents. There can sometimes be more choice of properties in the private rented sector.
Housing Benefit, Council Tax and private accommodation
Some private landlords do not accept Housing Benefit as payment for rent. This means you would need to earn enough money to pay for your rent, bills and living costs.
If you live in Medway with your own tenancy and evidence you are a care leaver you will be exempt from paying Council Tax. If you live outside of Medway your personal adviser (PA) can support you with confirming what support there is for Council Tax payments.
There are some private landlords that do accept Housing Benefit and your PA and the specialist housing adviser can support you in having these discussions with agents or landlords.
Care Leaver Guarantor Scheme
In certain circumstances, Medway Council can act as a corporate rent guarantor on your behalf if a family member cannot do so.
In these instances, you can apply for support from the Care Leaver Guarantor Scheme. Your PA can help you apply to the scheme.
If your application to the scheme is successful, you will be provided with a ‘corporate guarantor’ who can stand as official guarantor for the initial 12 months of your tenancy (if you remain under 25 years of age throughout this entire tenancy).
Medway Council agree to cover any rent costs for you while in this initial 12-month period of your tenancy, if you have not been able to pay, due to an unforeseen change in your circumstances. If you default on your rent and are not able to pay, you will be expected to work with your PA to address any needs you have around non-payment, such as engaging with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) or finding work, as soon as possible.
Medway Council will act as an advocate and single point of contact (SPoC) for issues around your accommodation. Where appropriate and permissible, they will also engage with your landlord or property management firm to ensure that issues which could affect rent payment are dealt with swiftly.
If you rent a private property you'll be responsible for managing your tenancy, paying your rent and bills, including gas, electric, phone and water for the duration of the contract. You will also be responsible for keeping your property in good condition. You will be required to work and earn enough money to cover the rent and bills.
You may be able to afford a private tenancy if you claim benefits and are unable to work. If you're a care leaver who claims rent payments through Universal Credit and you're worried that you cannot manage the responsibility of paying your rent, speak to your DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) work coach and arrange for your rent to be paid directly to your landlord.
Speak to your PA or the specialist housing adviser in the service to find out more about renting a private property and what support is available.