If you’re looking for somewhere to live, private renting may be the quickest option for most people. There are many benefits such as not being confined to an area and able to move quickly.
Read the government’s guide to renting for a checklist of what to do at each stage of the renting process. The guide contains very useful information about:
- what fees your landlord or letting agent can charge
- the documents you need to prove your Right to Rent
- what paperwork your landlord or letting agent must give you.
Types of tenancy
Most private rented properties are let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, fixed for 6 or 12 months. There may be options to extend after this period, if the landlord is happy you're a good tenant, they may renew your tenancy for another period of 6 or 12 months. They could also allow you to stay on a rolling monthly tenancy called a Periodic Tenancy.
When you enter into a fixed-term tenancy, you're committing to that period and will be liable for all the rent for that period.
Working out what you can afford
Lettings agents expect your annual income to be around 30 times the monthly rent.
If you're earning £25,000 per year before tax, you can afford a monthly rent of around £830. This makes your rent no more than 40% of your gross monthly income.
You should create a monthly budget, so that you're sure that you can afford the rent. You need to take into account any other regular outgoings you will have. National Debtline have an online budget tool you can use. You can also use our self-help tool which will enable you to see your income and expenditure and best maximise your affordability.
Searching in your price range
Most rented properties and rooms are advertised online. Visit sites such as:
Properties often become cheaper to rent if they're slightly further away from the convenience of town centres. Do not forget to allow for any additional travel costs in your budget if you need to live out of town. If you do not have a car, check public transport routes, costs, and frequency.
You can also register your interest with lettings agents who have offices in Gravesend.
If you do not have access to the internet at home, Gravesend Library has computers and IT support available.
A guarantor agrees to pay your rent if you don't pay it. Your landlord may require you to have a guarantor if:
- you’re close to the limit of what you can afford
- you have a poor credit history.
Visit Shelter’s website for information about who can be a guarantor and what to do if you cannot find one.
Finding a landlord or agent
You can ask the prospective landlord if they're a member of an accreditation scheme or another professional body.
Help with housing costs
If you're on a low income or claim benefits, you may be entitled to Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit.Check the online benefits calculator