How to find a private rented home

Use the internet to search for a place to rent. Ask friends and family and check local noticeboards and newspapers for more options.

Search online

Many landlords and letting agencies advertise online.

Popular websites that advertise house shares and homes to rent are:

Search for local websites or forums that advertise flats, houses or rooms to rent.

You should be able to use the internet for free in your local library.

Never pay any money without seeing the property first. Try to take someone with you when visiting properties.

Use a letting agent

You can use a letting agency to help you find a home to rent.

Find out more about using a letting agent.

You usually need to register with a letting agency before they offer you a property.

Find out more about letting agency fees.

All letting agents must be members of a letting agent redress scheme.  You can complain to a redress scheme about problems with a letting agent.

Ask your council

Contact your local council's housing options service.

Your council might have a list of landlords who'll rent to you if you claim housing benefit or universal credit housing costs.

If you need help to pay for your new place, the council may also be able to help you through a rent deposit, bond or guarantee scheme.

Check newspapers

Check local newspapers and local magazines. Some have sections advertising houses or flats to rent or share.

Check locally

Check noticeboards in community centres, libraries, supermarkets, bookshops and newsagents. These often have adverts for rooms or houses to rent.

They are more likely to be put there by landlords themselves, rather than by letting agents.

Advertise that you need a place to rent

You could advertise that you're looking for a place to rent

In your advert, describe the type of place you want, where you'd like to live and how much rent you can afford.

Use free websites such as Spareroom or Gumtree.

Ask in local shops or community centres if you can you put an advert on their noticeboards.

If you use Facebook or Twitter, let your contacts know you are looking for a place.

Ask your friends, family or the people you work with if they know anyone who is renting out a room or a flat.

Check landlord accreditation schemes

Find out if landlords are members of a landlord accreditation scheme.

Members of accreditation schemes sign up to a code of conduct to keep their properties safe and in a satisfactory state of repair.

Ask your local council if there is a scheme in your area.

Check the National Landlords Association register for accredited landlords in your area.

Right to rent

If you move in to private rented accommodation on or after 1 February 2016, you should be asked to prove that you have the right to live in the UK and the right to rent.

Find out more about right to rent immigration checks.

Find student accommodation

Your university or college probably has an accommodation office that can help you find somewhere to live.

They should have information about private landlords, halls of residence and other student housing.

Your students' union may have a noticeboard offering houseshares. You can also ask other students for advice.

Find out more about privately rented housing for students and halls of residence.

Get ready to rent

When you find a place to rent, you'll be asked to provide information and documents to prove your identity, prove you have the right to rent and show you'll be a good tenant. Try to have everything ready.

Find out more about how to rent from a private landlord or letting agent.

If you're given an assured shorthold tenancy, check that your new landlord protects your tenancy deposit.

Further information

Read the UK government's guide How to rent for more information on finding and renting a home.

Video: Letting agents,managing agents and landlords

Last updated 03 Nov 2016 | © Shelter

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