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Private Renting

Often, the quickest way to find housing is in the private rented sector (PRS). This can give you a wide choice on where you live and the type of home you live in. It gives a better choice to households who want to live near to particular schools, family and local amenities such as transport or shops.

 

The PRS provides quality housing with a more realistic expectation of furnished accommodation or a house with a garden, which social housing may be unable to offer.

The PRS provides an option to get settled accommodation more quickly than the Council could offer you social housing.  Due to the shortage of social housing, wherever possible, the Council assists those that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless into the PRS via our Let with Hertsmere scheme.

Rented accommodation can be expensive in Hertsmere, if you would find it difficult to meet the rental costs in the borough you should look at surrounding boroughs where rents may be cheaper. You could also consider sharing a house or flat as this is usually a more affordable option.


You may be able to get assistance either in full or in part with your rent depending on income. It is important to remember that if you are eligible for help, you need to ensure that you do not rent a property where the rental liability is more than the Local Housing Allowance applicable to your household. To find out what help you might get visit www.gov.uk/housing-benefit  where you can calculate how much benefit you could be entitled to.

 

To find a suitable home to rent you can contact letting agencies and also look in newsagents and supermarkets where there are often notice boards advertising homes to rent.

 

Lettings agencies cannot charge you any fees for registering with them or for carrying out reference checks,  nor can they charge you any administration costs relating to the tenancy agreement.

 

A guide with useful advice on renting in the private sector can be obtained from GOV.UK. www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

 

Social Housing

Hertsmere Borough Council does not own or manage any social housing; the social housing in the borough is owned and managed by several different Housing Associations.

 

Very few of these properties become available to rent each year, consequently demand outstrips supply and only families who have a high priority housing need are ever likely to secure accommodation.

 

Most of the Housing Associations do not hold waiting lists for their properties; the Council has nomination rights to the majority of vacancies that become available.

In order to be considered for an allocation of a social rented property a person must be nominated to the Housing Association by the council.  Nominations are made only to persons that are on the Council’s housing register.

 

Some social landlords still hold a transfer waiting list.  If you are already a tenant and your  landlord does hold a waiting list, you can be on the councils housing register and the transfer waiting list at the same time. You are encouraged to join both lists as this will increase your chances of being rehoused.

 

Mutual Exchange/House Swap

If you are already a social housing tenant with a Council or Housing Association you may be able to move home anywhere in the UK by swapping your home with another social housing tenant. This is called a Mutual Exchange and is often the quickest way to find a new home. It gives tenants the opportunity to live in a property of their choice in an area they wish to live in.

 

If  you have been assessed as having a low housing need or no housing need swapping your tenancy with another tenant is often the only way of moving.

 

There is a chance that some of your rights will be affected when you swap properties. When you exchange, you take over the rights and terms of tenancy of the person you swapped with. These may be very different from the rights and conditions you have now.  For example you may lose (or gain) the right to buy your home. The rules for your landlord increasing the rent may also be different. If you are exchanging with a tenant of the same landlord, or same type of landlord (e.g. Housing Association) and you both have the same type of tenancy, you will normally keep similar rights.

 

Hertsmere does not operate a mutual exchange scheme, nor hold a list of people wishing to swap homes. If you are interested in finding a mutual exchange there are various web exchange sites you can visit, most are free or charge a minimal fee.  Most Housing Associations in Hertsmere subscribe to Homeswapper, which means the service is free for their tenants.  Visit www.homeswapper.co.uk to check if your landlord subscribes to the service.

 

You may also be able to find an exchange partner by advertising, either by putting adverts in local shops or through specialised sections in newspapers.

 

Below are other websites that you can visit which have details of properties available for exchange;

 

 

Generally you will not be able to exchange your property if:

  • you, or either of the tenants, has rent arrears or your landlord is in the process of evicting you.
  • the exchange would mean that one or both homes would be either overcrowded or under occupied. You may be able to under occupy by one bedroom; the landlord of the property will let you know their rules on this.

 

Sometimes there may be conditions to be fulfilled before permission is granted - for example, clearing any rent arrears or putting right any damage to the property.

 

Your landlord will be able to provide advice and guidance. Your home will be inspected by your landlord before any exchange or arrangements to move are made.

 

You must never exchange properties before getting permission from your landlord

 

Help with Home Ownership

The Council promotes a range of affordable home ownership products for people who cannot afford to purchase a property on the open market but have sufficient income to qualify for schemes available to help people into home ownership. 

 

Schemes include: 

 

 

Priority for shared ownership properties in Hertsmere is given to existing social housing tenants who would be releasing a property and to current and former Armed Services personnel living in Hertsmere or had lived in Hertsmere before being posted elsewhere.

 

To find out more about the different low cost home ownership options available, to see available properties for sale and to register your interest please visit Help to Buy East and South East

 

Housing for Older People

 

Properties for those over 50

Housing Associations in Hertsmere have a number of one bedroom flats and bungalows that are designated for people over 50 years of age.  Some properties are situated within schemes that have communal areas where activities such as coffee mornings and quiz nights are held; there is no obligation to attend these events. 

 

Personal care and support is not provided but many properties have an emergency pull cord system should you require it.

 

The waiting time for these properties is generally much shorter than the waiting time for one bedroom properties with no age restrictions.

 

Flexicare Housing

FlexiCare Housing is an option for older people with varying care needs.

Care levels can be increased or decreased according to an individual's changing needs. The care supports independent living as it is provided to tenants living in their own home within the flexicare scheme.

Flexicare schemes provide security, independence and the flexibility to change your care level to suit your needs as they change over time. For many it can be an independent home for life. Social events regularly take place and all tenants are welcome to join in.

There are two flexicare schemes in Hertsmere. Fountain Court in Borehamwood and Bushey Flexicare in Bushey.

Both these schemes provide a flexible level of care and support that can be adapted to suit your changing needs.  Flexicare schemes are ideal if you can no longer manage to live independently in your own home or if you and your partner have different care needs but want to stay together.

Bushey flexicare is located in a quiet residential area of Bushey the flats at Storey Court, Collins Court and Barley Close all come with communal lounges and a 24 hour tele-care life-line service.

The flats are self contained; it is the choice of individual residents whether to join in the events held in the communal lounge.

Fountain Court is located in Brook Road, Borehamwood near to open spaces, public transport and local shops.  Again, the flats are self contained; and residents choose whether to attend social events or not. 

If you are interested in finding out more about these two schemes please contact the Housing Options team on 020 8207 2277

 

Older People’s Shared Ownership

If you are aged 55 or over, the OPSO scheme could help you buy any home that’s for sale on a shared ownership basis (part-rent/part-buy).

 

It works in the same way as the general shared ownership scheme, but you can only buy up to 75% of your home. Once you own 75% you won’t have to pay rent on the remaining share.

 

The Housing Association or Registered Provider will offer initial shares of between 25% - 75% of the full purchase price. You pay a subsidised rent on the remaining share that the Housing Association or Registered Provider still own.

 

You could buy a home through the OPSO scheme if you are aged 55 or over and meet the following criteria:

 

  • Your annual household income is no more than £80,000.
  • You should be unable to purchase a home suitable for your needs without assistance.

 

To find out more, to see available properties for sale and to register your interest please visit Help to Buy East and South East.

 

Care Homes – Residential and Nursing

If you require residential accommodation that provides support or nursing care, you should contact Adult Social Services at Hertfordshire County Council.

www.hertfordshire.gov.uk

 

Adapted Housing

Some Housing Association properties have been adapted for people who have mobility difficulties. This may include;

 

  • Level access shower
  • Stairlift or through lift
  • Wheelchair accessible, either just in essential rooms or the entire property.

 

The allocation of these properties are reserved for people with a proven need of this type of property.

 

If you own your own home or are renting in the private rented sector the Council may be able to assist with the cost of funding adaptations by awarding a Disabled Facilities Grant.

 

Disabled Facilities Grants are to adapt homes to make them more suitable for disabled people to live in and manage independently. The grants are available to people who are registered, or registerable as disabled.

 

Owner occupiers, tenants and landlords on behalf of tenants can apply but they must do so through the occupational therapist at Hertfordshire County Council Social Services Department who will specify the necessary adaptations.

 

The grants are subject to a means test on the applicant and their partner. The means test is different to others carried out for Benefits or Carer's help and the outcome is often more generous. Even if you have been refused other benefits you may be eligible so it is worth asking for an assessment. There is no means test if the adaptations are for children under 16 or young persons up to their 20th birthday in full time, non-advanced, ordinary education.

 

More information on what the grants can cover and the grant process can be obtained by contacting the Environmental Health Team on 0208 207 7435 or environmental.health@hertsmere.gov.uk.

 

If you wish to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant the contact numbers for Health and Community Services to arrange an initial Occupational Therapist assessment are:

 

Assessment for adults: 0300 123 4042 

Assessment for children 01438 737782 

 

Supported Living Accommodation

There are some housing schemes in Hertsmere that offer supported living.

 

If you have a learning disability or require mental health support, this type of accommodation may be suitable for you.

 

Hertsmere Council work in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council, and Housing Associations to provide this type of accommodation that can enable you to live independently with support.

 

If you think you need this type of accommodation contact the Housing options team on 020 8207 2277 for further advice.