Are you ready to move?
When you apply for social housing there is an expectation that you are ready to move. Therefore, you should consider the following before making an application.
Before being offered a tenancy the landlord may need you to complete a financial assessment to assess your ability to pay the rent and other housing related costs. The landlord may choose not to make an offer of accommodation if the assessment shows that you would not be able to afford to pay the rent and/or associated housing costs. If your circumstances change at a later date which which means you then satisfy the affordability criteria, the restriction on rehousing would be removed.
Managing your rent and living costs
To have a successful tenancy you will need to have an idea of the costs associated with maintaining a home. Such costs include rent, council tax, water rates, energy bills, TV licence, food, phone bills, credit card bills, travel costs, and clothing, for example. Shelter's online budget planner is a useful tool for you to use to get an idea of the income and spending associated with maintaining a home. It is important that you are realistic with your income and spending assumptions as otherwise you may be at risk of losing your home.
Most homes managed by partner landlords are re-let as unfurnished. When budgeting you will need to consider the costs of, for instance, a fridge, freezer, washing machine, tumble dryer, oven, sofa, dining room table and chairs, lighting, carpets, curtains and beds.
If you are on a low income you may be able to get help to buy some of the items listed above. For further information please contact the Citizen’s Advice or Job Centre Plus. You can also buy used goods from organisations such as The Furniture Revival in Rhymney, from house clearance shops and local charity shops or through websites such as gumtree, ebay and freeads.
You may also need to factor into your budget plan the removal costs associated with moving your belongings from your existing accommodation to your new accommodation. If you cannot afford to hire a removal firm, you will need to find some other method of transporting them.
Paying rent in advance
The average weekly rent for social housing in the borough varies from approximately £67 to £95, depending on property type, size and landlord. All of the partner landlords, with the exception of the council, require new tenants to pay the first period’s rent in advance before they move in. This will usually be 1 weeks rent but if you are intending on paying your rent on a monthly basis then this may be more. In certain instances landlords may be willing to waive the rent in advance requirement – for further information please contact the relevant landlord directly.
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to help with paying your rent. Please contact the council’s housing benefit section for further advice or use the on-line benefits calculator. Housing benefit is paid in arrears, which means, if you are claiming housing benefit, you might be behind with your rent from the start of your tenancy, unless you can pay the rent yourself.
If you receive housing benefit and you cannot afford to pay rent in advance you could apply to the council for a discretionary housing payment. If you receive universal credit and you cannot afford to pay rent in advance you could apply for a budgeting loan or budgeting advance.
If you are on a low income and don’t have any savings you will need to start to save in advance of being made an offer of accommodation. Advice on savings can be found online or by contacting organisations such as Smart Money Cymru or Citizen’s Advice.
Support and advice
If you would like help to speak with a member of the common housing register assessment team about any aspect of your housing application or require support completing a housing application, please contact the Common Housing Register Assessment Team.