There are far more people seeking social housing in Devon than there are homes available.

Most people will need to rely on renting from a private landlord to resolve their housing needs.

Make sure you can afford the rent when looking for private rented accommodation - and find out whether you are eligible for Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. The charity Turn2Us has a benefit calculator that can tell you what benefits you can apply for.


How can I find Private Rented Accommodation?

You can look for private rented accommodation in

  • Newspapers;
  • Shop windows;
  • Local letting agents;
  • The internet and social media groups.

Private renting can also include renting a room in a landlord's home or renting a flat or house.

Remember, make sure you get a tenancy agreement and read it carefully before you sign anything, or hand any money over.


Deposits

A private landlord will usually ask for a deposit. This is usually anything between one and two months' rent. It is intended to cover any rent arrears and/or damage during the tenancy.

Make sure you read and sign the inventory at the start of the tenancy. You may be charged for anything which the landlord states is missing or damaged at the end of the tenancy.


Rental Housing Standards

Your landlord must keep the property you live in safe and free from significant health hazards. This includes requirements like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and making sure that your home is energy efficient. For more information, please see this page.


Tenancy Deposit Protection

Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes have been set up to help protect tenants and their deposits. All deposits taken for an assured shorthold tenancy must be protected by a Government authorised scheme. The schemes can also help to resolve disputes about deposits between tenants and landlords.


Help with your rent

You could be entitled to Housing Benefit if you are of pension age, or in receipt of severe disablement allowance.

Most other people who receive benefits or who are on a low income will need to apply for Universal Credit. The charity Turn2Us has a benefit calculator that can tell you what benefits you can apply for.

Find out more about Housing Benefit and Universal Credit here.

There are certain restrictions on Housing Benefit and Universal Credit for people under the age of 35. It's important to remember that Housing Benefit will not cover any bills, such as water rates.


Help with accessing funds

Turn 2 Us is a free, accessible website offering a range of tools to help people access the money available to them through benefits, grants and other financial help. The site has been designed to help people find appropriate sources of financial support, quickly and easily, based on their particular needs and circumstances.


Help to access private rented housing

You may be eligible for our Deposit Guarantee Scheme if you have a local connection to the area and are homeless or threatened with homelessness. Please contact us if you think you might qualify.

You can email us at housing.advice@swdevon.gov.uk