Renting a home from the private sector
Privately rented accommodation comes in different types and sizes from bedsits; to shared flats; to individual houses furnished and unfurnished. Rents across Aberdeen vary accordingly with most landlords requiring a deposit for the property and some rent payment in advance.
How do I find a property available for private rent?
Read the ads in the local papers or put an ad in yourself. Local papers advertising private rented housing include:
Contact local solicitors, including the Aberdeen Solicitors' Property Centre, letting agencies, estate agents, and property management agencies. Many of these will be in the Yellow Pages or on the internet.
Look at different sites on the internet. As well as whole properties for rent, you can find rooms for rent in houses or flats. Some of the sites advertising properties are:
Look for small ads on supermarket notice boards, shop windows etc.
Ask around, some private renting opportunities may be "advertised" by word of mouth.
Check with the local student accommodation service or ask at the Aberdeen Citizen's Advice Bureau.
Will I have to pay a deposit?
You will normally be required to pay a deposit as well as your first month's rent in advance. The deposit is money paid to a landlord (or accommodation agency) at the beginning of a tenancy as security against things like rent arrears, damage to property or removal of furniture by a tenant. A deposit must never be more than one sixth of the annual rent. However, it normally tends to be the same amount as one month's rent.
Providing that you have accrued no rent arrears at the end of your tenancy and the accommodation is in the same condition as you found it (fair wear and tear accepted) you should have your deposit returned to you in full at the end of your tenancy.
Can I get Housing Benefit for Private Rented Housing?
People on low incomes with high rental costs are usually entitled to receive a Local Housing Allowance to help them pay the rent.
Local Housing Allowance aims to help people on a low income, who live in housing which is rented from a private landlord, pay their rent. The LHA rate that applies to you depends on the area in which you live and the number of bedrooms your household needs.
It is important to remember that there is no automatic entitlement - Local Housing Allowance will only be paid to someone who has gone through the application process properly and satisfies the statutory requirements for the payment. Moreover, the level of Local Housing Allowance awarded may not pay the rent in full.
Before you start looking for a property to rent, find out the Local Housing Allowance rate which applies to you, so that you can then choose a place that suits you. To find out how much the current Local Housing Allowance rate is for different sizes of properties in your area, contact the section.
Citizens' Advice or other advice agencies can also give you advice on housing benefit and pre-tenancy determinations.
Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
A property which is to be inhabited by three or more unrelated persons requires by law to have a license to operate. This type of accommodation is particularly popular with students. As part of the licensing process the landlord is required to ensure the property has fire doors and hard wired smoke detectors. You should ask the landlord to confirm their HMO licence number and or check with the Local Authority.