Why rent privately?

There are a number of reasons why you may wish to consider private renting.

  • The number of houses to rent from the Council or Housing Associations is limited and not everyone is eligible for social housing.  
  • There is often a range of properties available in different areas.
  • Accommodation is often immediately available and you can usually move in quite quickly.
  • Many properties are already furnished so you don’t have the added cost of buying furniture, gas and electrical appliances.
  • It is possible to start and end a tenancy reasonably quickly which allows you to move should you need to.

Finding a property to rent

If you are looking to rent privately there are a number of ways you can find out what is available:

  • look online
  • look in local papers
  • look on local notice boards (supermarkets/shops)
  • visit letting agencies and estate agents
  • through personal contacts or word of mouth

Things to consider


The cost, availability and type of private rented accommodation will vary in depending on what area you are looking to live in. You will need to consider where best meets you needs bearing in what you can afford, what properties are available and whether you need to be in a certain area for links to transport, family, schools etc.


Private rented accommodation tends to be more expensive than other rented housing and landlords will charge whatever they think the market will support.  If you are out of work or on low income then the Local Housing Allowance rate will determine what level of Housing Benefit you will receive. If you need additional help to pay for your housing costs then you can apply for discretionary housing payments. Shelter provide some helpful advice for those on housing benefit looking to rent privately. A link to the advice can be found below. 

Single people under 35 can only claim the Local Housing Allowance rate equivalent to renting a room in a shared house.

Security of tenure

Private renting is generally easier to find and move into but it is also easier for the landlord to get you out. Lettings are usually restricted to periods of 6 or 12 months that have to be renewed.

Letting agencies

Many landlords use an agency to advertise and sometimes manage their properties. It is illegal for accommodation agencies to charge for simply registering you or giving you a list of properties; however, they can charge you a fee for finding a property and for other services such as drawing up a tenancy agreement.

Most agencies require references from a previous landlord and/or employer.

Rent a room

If you are unable to afford your own place to live - have you considered house-sharing or renting a spare room from a house owner? There are websites available that advertise rooms to rent.  Some of these are listed below, but there are many more just search 'rent a room' on any search engine on the internet.

What to check before you move in

  • How much rent will you pay - how does it need to be paid and what does it include
  • Do you need to pay a deposit and are there any other costs which need to be paid before you move in?
  • What is in the tenancy or licence agreement?
  • What are your rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
  • What are the Landlord’s rights and duties?

Information on rights and responsibilities can be found via the links below.

What help and support is available?

The Homeless Advice Team can offer support and advice for those looking to secure private rented accomodation or those leaving a private tenancy. Housing Advice and Homelessness.

The Environmental Protection Team ensure that private rented accomodation meets leagal standards - advice for private tenants

Last updated: Tue 21 March, 2023 @ 11:34