Information on privately rented accommodation

Private landlords and letting agents have accommodation available to let, usually on an Assured Shorthold tenancy, usually charging market rent.

What is an assured shorthold tenancy?

Assured shorthold tenancies can either be for a fixed term (usually 6 or 12 months) or periodic (rolling from week to week, or month to month). The tenancy gives you rights such as to know the name and address of your landlord; to have a rent book; to get repairs carried out; and for the accommodation to be safe and you are not subject to harassment or illegal eviction. The landlord must arrange for gas appliances to be inspected every year and you have the right to see the records of these inspections. Assured shorthold tenancies are the most common form or private rented tenancy. Even without a written tenancy agreement you may still have an assured shorthold tenancy.

Can I be asked to leave?

During the first 6 months of the tenancy, landlords cannot automatically regain possession unless they prove a ground for possession to the court, for example rent arrears, anti-social behaviour or property damage. In these instances the landlord can apply to the court to end your tenancy. If you have kept to the terms of your tenancy, your landlord cannot seek possession during the fixed term. Once the fixed term has expired, your landlord can ask you to leave by serving a 4 month notice, called a Section 21 Notice. This notice may be served on you at the start of your tenancy, but it must not expire until the end of the fixed term. Your landlord may also serve a shorter notice on you if you have failed to pay the rent. This is called a Section 8 Notice. If you have received a notice, please contact Housing Options as soon as possible. We will ask to see the notice to check that it is valid and has been correctly served by the landlord.

If you provided a deposit to your landlord, that deposit should have been lodged in a government deposit scheme and the landlord must have provided you with prescribed information before a Section 21 Notice can be valid. We can assist you to check that the landlord has acted correctly.

Do I have to leave?

You do not have to leave on the date that Notice expires, but you should leave as soon as you have found alternative accommodation. If the Section 21 Notice has been issued correctly there is no defence to the action in Court, and the Court must grant possession to the landlord. But you can stay in the property until this happens and you can ask the court to delay this by up to 56 days if you can give good reasons why. If you stay until the court has granted a possession order and a bailiff’s warrant, you may be liable for the landlord’s court costs. This will not affect your credit rating.

Rent deposit

Our rent deposit bond scheme helps by offering a bond (or guarantee) to landlords as security instead of a deposit. It is a legally binding agreement and, should there be a claim by the landlord at the end of the tenancy, you will be liable to reimburse the council for any costs paid out on your behalf.

To qualify for a deposit bond you must fulfil the following criteria;

  • You must be imminently threatened with losing your present accommodation or need to move because your current property is unaffordable
  • Locally connected to the Arun area
  • Considered to be in priority category: i.e
  • You, or  the person you normally live with is pregnant or
  • You have dependent children who would normally live with or
  • You or the person you normally live with are considered to be vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or handicap, physical disability or other special reason or
  • You are homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency e.g flood, fire, or other disaster

In addition you will have to demonstrate that you do not have access to any funds to secure alternative accommodation. You  may be asked to provide recent bank statements or building society account statements etc. Proof of income will be required as well.

Rent in advance

If you meet the criteria for a deposit bond you may also be eligible for rent in advance. Arun District Council can provide rent in advance to secure alternative, private rented accommodation. This will usually be for the equivalent of one month’s rent.

Rent in advance is given as a loan and you will be expected to make regular repayments back to the council until you have repaid the full amount. The amount you have to repay will be worked out on a weekly or monthly basis according to your own personal financial circumstances. You will be asked to sign a repayment agreement prior to the funds being transferred to your new landlord to secure the accommodation.

How do I find private rented accommodation?

You can contact local lettings agents, check property listing websites and the property pages of the local paper.