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How to find a property to rent

Enfield is a popular place to live and so there is a shortage of council and housing association homes in the borough. You will need to consider a home in the private rented sector.

To prepare you for renting privately read the government guide for private tenants and the renting a safe home guide for tenants (PDF).

If you’re looking for a new place to live and are unsure what you can afford, visit the Money Advice Service for more information.

The BBC also has an online calculator that can help you find out where you can afford to live and what matches your budget.

Cheaper accommodation is sometimes advertised in high street newsagents and supermarkets. There are also many other sources listed below. Some letting agents may have properties available for people who need to claim Housing Benefit, which is now called Local Housing Allowance (LHA). You can save a lot of time by going to a letting agent, and only need to give references and money for a deposit. Letting agents are in local papers.

Online:

Most landlords need at least one month's deposit and one month's rent in advance. Some agents may charge you a fee for drawing up the tenancy agreement but they can’t charge just to register you on their books.

You should not pay a letting agent the deposit or rent in advance until you have signed a tenancy agreement to move into a property.

We are not acting as an agent for the landlords of the properties advertised and are not responsible for the information about the properties provided.

Students

Some colleges employ student welfare and accommodation officers who may be able to put you in touch with landlords who let to students. For more information see finding a private rented home (PDF).

Jobs that provide accommodation

If you’re looking for a job as well as somewhere to live, consider getting a job that comes with accommodation. For advice and available vacancies, contact your local Jobcentre Plus.

If you receive housing benefits, you should make enquiries with letting agencies or landlords in your chosen area, and check local papers and the Internet for landlords and agents that accept housing benefits claimants.

The benefit cap restricts the amount that larger families affected have available for rent after meeting all their other needs. Rents in many London areas are high and will not be covered by housing benefit. Therefore, the Homefinder scheme regularly makes offers of private rented housing outside of London where possible.

The benefit cap will be further restricted from 7 November 2016. For more information, visit GOV.UK.

If you find a home, after you move in, you must notify the housing benefits team of any changes in your household circumstances.

You’re required to search outside of Enfield to increase your chance of finding suitable private rented accommodation.

Our Homefinder scheme is designed to support you in your search for your own private rented home. The Homefinder team can assist with a damage deposit if you have no deposit of your own, but not with rent in advance. A one-off incentive payment to the landlord might also be made.

If you’re accepted, the team can provide details of letting agents with available properties and send your information to agents. However, searching for a private rented home yourself offers more flexibility. If you happen to find your own private rented housing which is suitable, both you and the prospective landlord or agent should contact the Homefinder team, who will:

  • help to negotiate the rent
  • ensure your tenancy agreement is in order
  • fast track your Housing Benefit claim once the everything is filled in and your documents have been seen
  • pay the deposit on your behalf if you have no deposit of your own (equivalent to a month’s rent)

Once the rent is negotiated a tenancy will be drawn up if we are satisfied that you will be able to afford the rent. The lettings agency or landlord will then agree an inventory with you. Once the tenancy agreement and Homefinder scheme agreement are signed, we will complete the Housing Benefit form on your behalf. The damage deposit will cover damage, rent arrears or theft of content.

To be accepted for the Homefinder Scheme, you must be:

  • homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • in priority need
  • able to manage your finances
  • capable of independent living
  • able to afford the rent either through work or Housing Benefit
  • unable to afford your own deposit

If we accept a rehousing duty for you, you will normally be referred to the scheme.

Your application for the scheme is assessed in accordance with homelessness law, which includes assessment on medical vulnerability. We will consider any medical information provided and make contact with your GP or any medical practitioner assisting you, whose details you have provided.

For advice and information, including whether you are eligible for the Homefinder scheme, contact the team on 020 8379 1000.