Looking for help to access the Private rented sector?
Newcastle Housing Advice manage a Deposit and Rent Guarantee scheme on behalf of Newcastle Borough Council. Whether you are a potential tenant looking to rent in the private sector or a Landlord wanting to let your property with the guidance of NHA and the use of the Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme please contact us for information or look at the information below.
How does the Private Rented Scheme for Landlords work?
How does the Private Rented Scheme for tenant’s work?
What are the conditions of the Private Rented Scheme for Tenants?
- Applicants must be Homeless or threatened with Homelessness in 56 days and have a local connection to Newcastle under Lyme
- Treat the property, garden and contents well, so as to minimise any claims against the bond
- Ensure that the rent is paid in full (if the landlord wants to increase the rent it is your responsibility to still pay the rent in full)
- Treat neighbours and the surrounding areas of the property with respect to minimise any anti-social behaviour
- Allow reasonable access to Housing Services staff, for monitoring purposes
- Inform the Council’s Housing Benefit Section and the Housing Options Officer of any changes in your circumstances which may affect your entitlement to benefits (e.g. if you find employment or decide to move out)
Is the rent going to be affordable?
The NHA Housing Options Advisor carries out financial checks before placing a potential tenant in private rented accommodation. The customer must complete the Income and Expenditure form that is enclosed in the RDGS pack. For households eligible for Housing Benefit, a Housing Benefit trial calculation can show you how much you are likely to get in benefits before you sign a tenancy agreement. A useful website to do self-calculations is:
What happens if a landlord wants a tenant to leave?
In the event of damage, or unreasonable behaviour or simply wanting the property back for personal reasons, a landlord may want the tenant(s) to leave the accommodation. If a tenant is faced with any tenancy issues the NHA service is able to work with them and landlords to avoid a loss of tenancy.
For more information on our scheme or to collect a RDGS application pack, please contact NHA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at our office.
Frequently asked QuestionsI am in Private rented accommodation and I am being asked to leave
If your landlord is trying to evict you illegally they may be breaking the law.
It is important to find out your rights and what type of tenancy you have, if you are being asked to leave your current accommodation.
The information that has to be included in the notice varies depending on the type of tenancy you have.
The majority of private rented tenants have an “assured short hold tenancy”. This can either be fixed term (i.e. set period of time such as six months) or periodic tenancy (i.e.. rolling from month to month). Landlords don’t necessarily have to have a reason to serve notice on a tenant, which means it can be a ‘no fault’ eviction. However they must give you a minimum two months’ notice. If you are on a fixed term tenancy the notice cannot come into effect until the fixed term has ended.
If you signed a new tenancy agreement after October 2015 the landlord will also need to have provided you with certain information
The date on your notice must be the date that your landlord has given you your notice and not before. For example, you receive your notice on 23rd March and the notice is dated 10th March, this means that the notice would not be valid.
However, if you have broken the terms of your tenancy, the landlord can, in some circumstances, issue you with a two week notice, more commonly; a section 8 notice
A landlord would need to serve you with a valid notice if they require you to leave,
You can check if you notice is valid with the information provided on the below leaflets:
If you think your notice is valid please contact us.
If you paid your deposit after 5th April 2007 your landlord should have put your deposit in a government backed deposit protection scheme. If the landlord has not done this it may affect the notice given.
You can check if your tenancy deposit is protected in one of the three approved government schemes.
Irent a home from a private landlord but I have to leave it because it is not affordable
You should get advice as soon as possible if you are having trouble paying your rent.
Rent payments are ‘priority debts’, therefore if you do not pay them you could be at risk of eviction. You should contact your landlord to let them know you are having difficulties and see if you can make any arrangements whilst you are looking into your affordability options.
It is important that you know what bills should be paid first, as it can help you to keep your home. There are a number of websites that explain ‘priority debts’ and ‘non-priority debts’, and provide useful information to help you manage your bills, we can however refer you to money advice services, please contact us for further information.
Priority debts usually include:
- Gas and electricity, or other household fuel debts
- Child support and maintenance payments
- Council tax
- TV licence payments
- Certain payments ordered by the courts.
Non-priority debts usually include:
- Credit card debts
- Hire purchase agreements (HP)
- Unsecured bank loans (loans that are not secured against your property)
- Water bills
- Loans from friends and family
Failing to pay priority debts usually has more serious consequences.
When we assess affordability we will consider a number of things including the following:
- What money you have coming into your household
- The costs of the accommodation
- What is considered to be reasonable living costs for your household
The outcome from money advice services will then help us to consider if you can reduce your outgoings for example by switching energy provider or making cutbacks on luxury items.
I’m having problems with my current private landlord
When you rent a property from a Landlord, both you and your landlord have certain responsibilities
Your responsibilities include:
- not causing any anti-social behaviour
- paying your rent when it is due
- taking care of the accommodation
Your landlord’s responsibilities include:
- not disturbing you unnecessarily
- following the lawful procedure if they want you to leave
- meeting gas and fire safety standards
- carrying out certain repairs
Most disputes are because the tenant or the landlord has not carried out their responsibilities.
If you have fallen out with your landlord because he has not carried out repairs, you should still pay your rent as your landlord may try to evict you for non-payment of rent if you stop paying. You should write to the landlord (keep a copy of the letter) and explain what repairs need doing and give the landlord the opportunity to reply to you. If you are evicted for deliberate non-payment of rent you could be found to have made yourself intentionally homeless.
If you have fallen out with the landlord because they have said you are causing a nuisance or are not taking care of the accommodation, you should speak to your landlord to try to resolve the dispute. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to the landlord about the issues, you could ask friends or family to help you or you can contact us at NHA for further advice.
If the landlord does not respond to you or the repairs are urgent or dangerous, you can contact your local environmental health department for assistance. They can be contacted at Newcastle under Lyme Borough council on 01782 717717.
If you cannot resolve the dispute with your landlord, you should get further advice, perhaps through the CAB or with a solicitor.
My landlord is forcing me to leave or has changed the locks
It is an illegal offence to not follow the eviction process correctly
If your landlord does not follow the legal process of eviction, it is a criminal offence.
Any of the below could be classed as an illegal eviction
- changing the locks while you are out
- threatening you or forcing you to leave
- physically throwing you out
- stopping you from getting into certain parts of your home
- Cutting off energy supplies/utility providers
If an illegal eviction takes place in office hours, we advise that you call the police, and then Newcastle Housing Advice on 0345 850 9698. If an illegal eviction takes place after office hours it can be difficult to get help, in this instance you would need to call the police and then the out of hours emergency number for our service, on 01782 615599.
Your landlord can legally evict you only by following the correct procedure. If you are in any doubt, we would also urge you to get in touch.
I’m having disrepair issues
What are your options when you are renting from a private landlord?
Ending Tenancies - you want to leave
What if my landlord agrees that I can leave?
It is possible to get out of the agreement at any time if you can come to a mutual agreement with your landlord. This is called ‘surrender’. To be valid, both sides must agree, and it is always best to put what has been agreed in writing so everyone knows where they stand. If you have a joint tenancy all the joint tenants and the landlord must agree to the surrender. It is worth seeing if your landlord is willing to negotiate even if your tenancy agreement says you cannot leave early. It may be convenient for both of you!
What happens when my agreement runs out?
If your agreement is for a fixed term (e.g. six months) you can leave on the last day of the fixed term without giving notice. You must ensure that you do not stay even one day over, or you will automatically become a periodic tenant and will have to give proper notice or come to an agreement with your landlord. If you intend to leave on the last day you are not legally required to give the landlord any notice, but it is usually a good idea to do so, to avoid any dispute about when you have actually left. Good communication helps things to go smoothly. Remember that you may need a reference to get a new home and, if you have paid a deposit, you are more likely to get it back if you keep the landlord informed. If you stay beyond the fixed term and your landlord does not give you a new fixed term agreement, your tenancy or licence will automatically become periodic, which means that it rolls from week to week or month to month.
Can I give the landlord notice and if so, how much?
Many fixed term agreements (including some assured short hold tenancies with private landlords) contain a ‘break clause’, which allows you to end the agreement before the end of the fixed term. Check your agreement to see if it includes a clause like this.
• If it does include a break clause, it should also say how much notice you have to give and whether there are any special procedures you have to follow.
• If it does not include a break clause then you cannot end the tenancy early unless the landlord agrees to it. If you leave any way you can still be liable for the rent to the end of the period.
Can I get someone else to move in?
This may be possible if you have no choice but to leave early and want to avoid paying rent on more than one home. However, you have to get the landlord’s agreement for the person you suggest to move into the property. The landlord may want to take up references for them. The landlord should give the new person their own tenancy or licence agreement – otherwise, you will still be legally responsible for the tenancy.
What if I just walk away?
Walking away or posting the keys through the letterbox is called ‘abandonment’ and will not end your agreement. Your agreement with the landlord will continue even though you have left and the landlord can continue to charge you rent, so you are likely to build up rent arrears, If your agreement is fixed term, you can be charged rent until the term ends. The landlord can apply for a court order to make you pay what you owe. The court will decide whether you should have to pay your landlord the money or not. If the landlord has managed to let out the property they cannot claim rent from you after the new tenant moved in. Doing a runner may also make it harder for you to find a new home. Most private landlords ask new tenants for references from previous landlords and are not keen to rent to anyone who has abandoned a tenancy or licence in the past or has a history of rent arrears. Similarly, it is important to make sure that you have somewhere to go when you leave. If you need to make a homeless application future, the council may decide that you are intentionally homeless because you left a home that you could have stayed in.
What other options are there?
If the landlord will not allow you to leave early and will not allow a new tenant suggested by you to move in, you may be able to negotiate to only pay part of the rent you owe. For example, if there are four months left on a fixed term agreement, the landlord might agree to only two months’ rent instead while they look for a new tenant.
What if I have a joint tenancy or licence agreement?
You have a joint tenancy or license if you share with a spouse, partner, family member or friend and both/all of your names are on the agreement. The actions of each individual person will affect all of your rights. For instance:
• If one of you leaves without ending the tenancy correctly, the whole rent will still be due and the other(s) will have to pay the missing person’s share.
• If one of you has caused damage, the landlord may be entitled to take money out of your shared deposit.
You can only end a fixed term joint tenancy if your landlord and all the other joint tenants agree or if there’s a break clause and the other tenants agree to use it. It is a good idea to get any permission given in writing so that you have proof of what was agreed. If any of the joint tenants want to stay they would have to ensure the landlord would grant them a new tenancy, if the original agreement ends. If you are thinking about leaving, be sure to discuss it with the other joint tenant(s) before you take any action. It may be possible for someone else to take your place, and/or for the landlord to give a new agreement to those who are staying
• Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Claims – Housing Benefit
Most people who pay rent can apply for LHA if they are on a low income. Problems with LHA claims may put you in rent arrears and cause problems with your landlord. In these situations, we may be able to help prevent you from losing your home by contacting the Councils LHA team on your behalf and liaising with your landlord. It is worth mentioning that an LHA claim is your responsibility and it is up to you to provide any requested documents to assist the claim.
My landlord is harassing me
Whatever type of tenancy you have, your landlord does not have the right to harass you. For example, they should not call round whenever they wish, or disconnect your fuel supplies, or take your belongings, or threaten to harm you. Your landlord cannot evict you without obtaining an eviction warrant from a court. Harassment and illegal eviction are criminal offences and if found guilty, your landlord could be fined, sent to jail, or both. NHA can intervene with your landlord to stop harassment or illegal eviction, and help get you back in your home.