Private renting The private sector provides the largest amount of accommodation available to rent in East Staffordshire. Advantages include: choice of location and type of property choice of furnished, partly furnished and unfurnished homes accommodation is often available immediately If you are in secure employment then it is likely to be easy to find somewhere. If any of the following circumstances apply to you then it is likely to be more difficult to rent in the private sector: you do not have secure employment; you need Housing Benefit to afford the rent; you have a poor credit history or a history of rent arrears; or you have a history of anti-social behaviour. However you may still be able to rent through a letting agent if someone who is in work will act as your Guarantor, which means they agree to pay the rent if you don't. Cost of private renting You will need to be able to pay the rent, normally a month in advance. The following table gives an indication of how much rent you may have to pay in most parts of East Staffordshire, including Burton and Uttoxeter (source: Valuation Office Agency) Indicative rents in East Staffordshire Per week Per month Room in a shared home £60 - £110 £260 - £480 1 bedroom home £80 - £110 £350 - £480 2 bedroom home £100 - £140 £430 - £610 3 bedroom home £120 - £180 £520 - £780 4 bedroom home £150 - £280 £650 - £1210 There are normally one-off costs to pay as well: To rent through an agent you will normally have to pay a fee which includes a Credit Reference Check. You will normally be asked to pay a deposit and one month's rent in advance. If you have an urgent housing need the council has a scheme which may be able to help you with these costs; see Rent Deposit and Other Costs. If you cannot afford these costs at the moment but you can stay where you are for a few months, then you could save some of the money with a Credit Union and then borrow the rest. Help with the rent If your income is low you may be entitled to Housing Benefit. Housing Benefit is available to people in work as well as people who do not work. If you will need Housing Benefit, you need to find out the maximum amount - called the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate - which will apply to you before you look for a home. If you are single and under 35 you are normally entitled to the shared accommodation rate. You should be able to pay more than this rate for a room because room rent normally includes bills and services which you are expected to pay for out of your other income. Hence you may be able to afford rent for a room of say £317 per month (£73 per week). The same does not apply to self-contained accommodation because you will have to pay the bills yourself. Self-contained accommodation is unlikely to be available at the shared accommodation rate, so you will probably have to find shared accommodation. For other households, the LHA rate which applies to you, depends on the number of bedrooms you are held to need, which you can calculate. You should then look for a property with rent that is no higher than the LHA rate for your household.