Finding somewhere to live

With all rental properties you will need to take into account the changes happening to benefits in April 2013. The changes mean that there are strict rules about how much help you can get toward the rent and households that may have previously recieved enough benefit to pay the whole rent may no longer do so.
 
There is a page on this website about Housing Benefit Changes 2013 which you should read.
 
Private rented property is advertised in many ways, including in the press, shop windows, estate agents and on internet sites.
Choosing a rental property
 

The Association of residential letting agents can also help provide details of local letting agents.

Private Tenants Handbook

Dudley MBC Private Sector Housing Team have produced a handbook, packed full of handy tips and hints, which covers everything tenants need to know about renting privately.

 

The handbook will help with choosing a rental property, managing a tenancy and avoiding any potential problems. It will also help you to decide what to do if things go wrong. A useful directory of local services is included, as well as a valuable checklist to help is assessing a rental property.

View our interactive tenants handbook

 

Choosing a rental property

Before you agree to rent or sign any paperwork, remember to take a really good look at the property that you’re considering, ensuring it is safe and secure to live in and that all outstanding repairs are carried out before you move in. Visit the property both in daylight and in the evening to check that the area is safe and always ensure you take someone with you. Please see related documents below to view a document which explains what you need to know about renting in the private sector.

Dudley is also a member of Homestamp, a partner consortium with an interest in private sector housing comprising of local authorities, the Private Rented Sector and West Midlands Police and Fire Service whose aim is to: encourage the supply of good quality private rented homes, to provide and facilitate information and training for landlords, to consider and respond to regional and national issues affecting the private rented sector and to encourage joint working between all interested parties. The Homestamp Consortium produced a publication on renting in the private sector called, Read This First, which incorporates a checklist of things to consider before renting in the private sector - see related documents below.

Landlord problems

If you are living in privately rented accommodation the law protects you against harassment and illegal eviction by your landlord. Both of these acts are criminal offences and victims are able to claim damages,through the civil court.

View further information about landlord problems

Making a complaint against your landlord

Getting repairs done

If you need a repair to your rental property, write or call your landlord. If the landlord refuses to do the work, then contact Dudley MBC Private Sector Team on 01384 815118. The council has a number of powers that it can use to ensure that works are carried out to the minimum statutory housing standard.

Make sure that, when you sign your tenancy agreement that you find out which repairs your landlord is responsible for, which you are responsible for and the procedure for reporting a repair.

Sink repairs
 

Tenancies granted for less than 7 years on or after 24 October 1961, the landlord is by law normally responsible for the repair of the structure and exterior of the home and for keeping in repair and proper working order any basins, sinks, baths and other sanitary installations and any installations for the supply of water, gas and electricity, for heating water and for space heating. For more detailed information, please read the booklet: Repairs A guide for landlords and tenants under related documents below.

Problems with rent

If you’re struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to claim benefits in order to help you manage. The local housing allowance was introduced from 7 April 2008 – it is a new way of working out housing benefit for tenants of private landlords. You can get further advice from our team or the Benefits Shop located at Priory Street, Dudley, call 01384 812639 or visit the following webpages.

Benefits Shop

Local Housing Allowance

Tenancy deposit protection

After 6 April 2007 landlords requesting rent deposits must protect them using one of the government schemes available. Within 14 days of taking your deposit your landlord should have advised you of the authorised scheme it is registered with and how to apply for the release of the deposit. All schemes have a dispute resolution service. They will decide whether and how much of the deposit should be returned to you.

Further information on Tenancy Deposit Protection

Anti-social behaviour

We all have the right to live in peace free from the nuisance of problem neighbours, threatening behaviour or harassment. If you have a problem with antisocial behaviour please contact our Commmunity Safety Team on 0300 555 2345

Dudley home improvement service

Dudley home improvement service

Our home improvement service offers a range of products and services to Dudley Borough homeowners and private rental tenants - who are responsible for their rental home's maintenance. We provide a complete home repairs, improvements and adaptations service and are part of a national network of over 300 home improvement agencies.

We can help you to improve your rental home, adapt it to better suit your needs if you have a disabled family member or to access funds to help you to repair your rental property. Our services include:

  • Arranging property repairs, home improvements or adaptations on your behalf
  • Providing help and professional advice on finding suitable finance for these works
  • Providing general advice, assistance and ongoing support throughout the process

Further information about our home improvement service

Disabled facilities grants

These grants may be available to private tenants, to enable them to adapt their rental property in order to make their life more comfortable. If you or a member of your household has a disability or mobility problem, then call us on 01384 813090.

Also see the following for more information: