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What are my housing options?

When you decide you are serious about moving out there are various options available to you which are listed below. Remember, however, to think carefully about where you want to live and any specific requirements you may need to take into consideration when you move.

Students

You are most likely (in your first year at least) to move into halls of residence. You will pay your rent directly to your college/universitys accommodation office- this will sometimes include bills. Please note that in halls it is common to share with others and so as an alternative you may choose to rent from a private landlord.

You might be eligible for help to cover the cost of a student accommodation in the form of a student maintenance loan. Please visit Student Financefor more information and advice about whether or not you qualify.

Private Rented

You can rent from a private landlord- this can either be through a lettings agency or directly from the landlord of the property. Renting in the private sector can be expensive- in order to secure a property you will need to save money fro a deposit which is often the equivalent of 2 months rent. Depending on the landlord and the property type, this amount can be upwards of 1000.

Can I get any help with my deposit?

If you like the sound of private renting but are concerned about finding the deposit, in certain circumstances there is help available.

Dudley MBC offers the rent deposit scheme. If you are under 35 you can only apply for this scheme if you are in full time employment and can afford to rent privately from your income. However because of restrictions on Housing Allowance if you are under 35 your home will be at risk if you lose your job.

The scheme has been set up to help those people who are struggling to secure a tenancy. It is designed to help people in providing them with a rent deposit guarantee, to allow them to find and maintain a tenancy

What other costs do I need to consider?

  • When private renting you will need to budget for other costs in addition to your rent.
  • You will need to consider council tax, water rates, gas and electricity and insurance costs.
  • If you are moving out of home for the first time you are also unlikely to have furniture, utensils etc.
  • You may therefore want to consider the benefits of securing a furnished flat as opposed to an unfurnished one.

    How can I manage on so little money?

    How do I pay my rent?

    Local Housing Allowance/Shared Room Rate in a private rented place

    If you are going to rent from a private landlord and have a low income and/or you are claiming benefits you may be able to claim Local Housing Allowance which is a form of Housing Benefit specifically for the tenants of private landlords. Before you sign up to a tenancy agreement you should be sure what amount of Local Housing Allowance you will get in case it is not as much as you are expecting or assuming. You could get such a calculation done by visiting Dudley District Citizens Advice Bureaux or Dudley Councils Benefit Services. Such a calculation will help you to decide what you can really afford when you are looking for a place.

    If you are singe and under 35 the amount of Local Housing Allowance that you can get will be limited to the Shared Room Rate which is basically the amount you would get for a room in a shared house. You can find out what this rate is by contacting Benefit Services or visiting theHousing Benefit pageon Dudley Council website.

    How secure is a private rented tenancy?

    In the private sector tenancies tend to run for a period of 6 or 12 months.

    At the end of the tenancy your landlord has the right to review whether he wants to renew your tenancy for another period.

    When renewing your tenancy landlords will take into consideration whether the rent was paid on time and whether there were any problems with you as a tenant. The more reliable a tenant you are, the more likely it is that your tenancy will be renewed.

    However if your tenancy is not renewed your landlord still has to give you a notice before he or she can evict you. If you want more information about eviction follow the link at the foot of the page.

    Before deciding to private rent it may be worth sitting down and working out your income vs. your possible expenditure to see whether it is a viable financial option.

    This can be as simple as jotting it down with a pen and paper or alternatively you can visit:

    moneysavingexpert.com where there are calculators to help.

    The Private Sector Team provides awhole range of services including our home improvement service offering assistance with home repairs, improvements and adaptations, traveller site management, dealing with the nuisance of empty properties, management of the councils property accreditation scheme, the promotion of energy efficiency advice and taking direct action where the health and safety of your living environment is threatened.

    The team is based at:

    Harbour Buildings, Waterfront Way
    Brierley Hill
    DY5 1LN
    Tel: 01384 815118

    Office opening hours: Monday to Friday - 9am - 5pm

    Flat Share

    If you feel as though you are ready to leave home but not yet ready to live on your own, flat sharing may be something for you to consider. This tends to involve having your own room in a property but sharing a kitchen and living space and the cost of bills.

    This type of accommodation can be found through private landlords (please note that sometimes the landlord may live in the property with you) or through flat sharing websites e.g. www.spareroom.co.uk.

    Flat sharing may seem like a cheaper/easier option it is important to work out the type of person who you want to live with before signing up to a tenancy agreement.

    Sharing with others may not be so enjoyable if you do not get on or have very little in common.

    You can findout more about Private Renting by following the link at the bottom of this page

    Council Rented

    Generally, once you reach 18 you can apply to go on your local councils waiting list. Councils let housing at affordable rents based on the needs of applicants on their waiting list. Properties in Dudley are let through a process called bidding. You can find out more by following the links below.

    As with private renting, you will need to consider the costs involved with renting a council property including rent, utilities & food bills. You will not have to pay a deposit but you may need to pay some rent straight away. Dudley Council, for example, asks for 2 weeks rent upfront.

    Unlike in the private sector, councils also tend to offer secure tenancies. This means that as long as you rent is paid on time and there are no incidences of anti social behaviour you can carry on living in your home without renewing the tenancy.Council rents are usually lower and you do not need to put large sums of money aside for a deposit.

    The time you will have to wait for to be offered a council property is likely to be significantly longer. There are currently approximately 7000 people waiting for housing through Dudley Council.

    Registered Social Landlords (incl. Housing Associations)

    Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) are government funded, not-for-profit organisations that provide affordable housing and include housing associations, trusts and co-operatives. RSLs work in conjunction with local authorities to provide homes for people meeting the affordable homes criteria. RSLs also develop land, build homes and act as landlords by maintaining properties and collecting rent.

    Housing Associations

    Housing Associations often work particularly closely with local authorities and it is common practice for housing associations to advertise their properties through their local councils website. Housing Associations now tend not operate their own waiting lists but ask you to apply for their properties through the council.

    Information regarding housing associations is available at your application interview with Dudley Council. Similar to council rented accommodation, housing associations offer secure tenancies that do not need to be renewed every 6 or 12 months. You will be monitored on the way you conduct your tenancy, however, and action will be taken if your tenancy is not conducted satisfactorily.

    Tips for when you Apply

    Remember that the council operates a waiting list, therefore it may be some time before you are offered a property. Have and idea of the area you want to live in but try not to be too specific when placing bids. You are likely to wait longer of you hold out for a specific street or individual property.

    If you like the look of a property on the website but aren't familiar with the area, go and do your research! Try and go and look at the property from the outside before you place a bid. This way you will be able to get a feel of the area and property type and means you will avoid disappointment at a later date.

    Once you have joined the waiting list, don't forget about the other housing options available to you. These can be discussed at the application interview when you initially apply or with a housing options adviser at a later date if you feel you need more information. Remember to keep the Council up to date with any changes in circumstances you may experience whilst waiting for a property e.g. change of address. If your details are incorrect at the point of any offer it may result in the offer being withdrawn.

    Tell us at the earliest possible opportunity if you need extra support- we will be able to advise on more specialised housing options that are available to you.

    Don't let a disability stop you from applying- our housing occupational therapy department will assess your individual needs when allocating properties.

    Housing you could be Offered

    Due to the high demand for housing set against the limited volume of stock, properties available on the council for the under 25s can be restricted. Please note, however, we take individual circumstances into account and your family type determines the type of property available to you, as explained below.

    Young Single Person (YSP)

    Dudley Council classes YSPs as single applicants as those aged under 29 years and 4 months. As a YSP you are eligible for 2 types of accommodation - duplex flats and 1/2 bedroom high rise flats.

    Young Couples

    As a couple making a home for the first time you are eligible for more property types than those classed as YSP.

    Young Parents

    As a young parent we understand that you are going to need more space and need to provide a family home in which your children can grow up- as such we offer family flats, maisonettes and houses to those with children. The number of bedrooms you are eligible for depends on the size of your family.

    Refusing an Offer

    As DMBC operates a choice based lettings service, allowing you to control which properties you register an interest in, there are implications if and when you refuse a property. These are different depending on whether you reside in or out of the Dudley Borough.

    In Borough Applicants

    As a landlord we understand that a property you have bid on may not be what you expected when you look around it. As such, in-borough applicants are made 3 reasonable offers of accommodation before their application is deferred for a period of 6 months.

    In order to minimise the risk of a property not being what you expected when you view, we do ask that wherever possible you go and look at the property from the outside before you place a bid. By doing this you can make an informed decision about whether or not you would be happy living in that property.

    Out of Borough Applicants

    The rules for out of borough applicants are considerably stricter; this is because DMBC's main duty of care rests with those applicants who are already resident in the borough. Out of borough applicants are made one offer of accommodation only before their application is cancelled. Our advice about making informed decisions when placing bids on properties is therefore even more relevant for out of borough applicants.

Also see the following for more information: