Find out about short-term and longer-term renting options if you're an EU citizen living in or moving to the UK.
Emergency options if you're homeless
In many areas there's a shortage of emergency and longer-term housing and it can be difficult to find a place to live.
A private hostel could be an affordable option if you've moved to the UK recently and are still looking into longer-term renting options.
Private hostels may offer:
- shared dormitory-style bedrooms
- individual rooms with their own bathroom
- a self-catering kitchen and laundry services
- WiFi internet access
You usually have to pay a deposit and up to 2 weeks' rent in advance.
You won't have to give too much notice if you decide to move on.
Renting from a private landlord is a longer-term option. Most private renters have assured shorthold tenancies.
The cost of renting in the UK varies widely. London is the most expensive city but some areas are more affordable than others.
You need to budget for the following up-front costs as well:
- a deposit - should usually be protected and refunded when your tenancy ends
- rent in advance - usually at least 1 month's rent but you could be asked for more especially if you've not rented in UK before
A room in a shared house or a flat-share will be cheaper than renting the whole property. But it's important to think about who you'll be sharing with.
The type of tenancy agreement you get has a big impact on your rights, so it's very important to understand the arrangements.
Many shared houses are classed as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). The landlord has extra legal responsibilities and must be licensed by the local council.
If you live with your landlord, you're classed as a lodger and have very limited rights - you can usually be asked to leave with reasonable notice.
'Right to rent' immigration checks
All EU nationals have the right to rent from a private landlord in the UK.
The landlord or agent will ask to see your passport or ID card before they offer you a tenancy. They should take a copy and return it to you immediately.
Claiming benefits to help with rent
Universal credit is a benefit for working age people on a low income. It includes a housing element to help with rent.
If you're an EU national, you can usually claim universal credit if, for example, you:
- are in work or self employed
- look for work after your job has ended
- have settled status or permanent residence
There may be other situations where you qualify.
You can't usually claim benefits in the UK if you've never worked here.
Renting from a council or housing association
Council and housing association homes are cheaper than renting privately but there are long waiting lists in most areas.
The local council usually runs the housing register for this type of housing.
If you qualify for benefits in the UK, you can usually apply to the housing register.
But in many areas, local councils have their own rules about:
If you're already on the housing register, you may have to bid for properties to have any chance of getting one.
Last updated 29 Jan 2020 | © Shelter
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