Finding a room, apartment or house
Starting your search for housing
First, decide how much you can afford, then start by doing research. Try and get an idea of the cost of somewhere to live in your chosen area. Remember that the cost of housing can change a lot from area to area.
- If you are under 18, your housing choices are likely to be limited. Talk to a housing adviser at your local council to find out what is available to young people in your area.
- If you are in care, Social Services must make sure that you have somewhere suitable to live until the age of 18. After that time, the council will no longer be your main source of income, but you will be eligible for benefits.
- If you are over 18, you might be able to rent from a private landlord or through an agency.
- You can contact your local district council or housing association and apply to be on their housing register.
- If you're a student attending a college or university, you might want to check if they have halls of residence: they can be cheaper and more convenient than trying to find privately rented housing.
Viewing places to live
- Get a friend to go with you, whether you're checking out a property with an agency or answering an advert in the local paper
- Visit the property in daylight and take the name of the person who will be showing you around
- Is the place easy to get to - are the local transport facilities good?
- Would you feel reasonably safe going home at night (are the streets well lit)?
- Are there shops nearby?
- What are the neighbours like?
- Has the place been recently decorated?
- Do the mains appliances work properly? (i.e. heating/fire, water heater, cooker, fridge etc). If not, is the landlord willing to fix them for you? Ask to see a gas safety certificate
- Is the place secure? Check that the windows close and fasten properly and look at the lock on the front door
- Ask the landlord or agent to show you where to find the mains water tap, the mains electricity switch and the mains gas supply inlet
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