Finding private accommodation
If you choose private accommodation you can choose to rent where you like in Leeds. Some areas of Leeds have more private accommodation than others and some are more expensive than others.
When you rent private accommodation you will have to sign a Tenancy Agreement – this will be provided by your new landlord. A tenancy agreement tells you the rights and responsibilities of both you and your landlord. You may also be expected to pay a deposit, which is usually about a month’s rent and also a month’s rent in advance.
It can be a good idea to view more than one property, to compare things like:
- condition of the property
- nearby facilities
- how easy it is to travel, park or use public transport
Shelter is a national charity offering advice about housing. There is a useful calculator you can use on the Shelter website to work out how much rent you could afford to pay:
Right to rent
Be aware that all private landlords who rent out properties in England are now required to carry out “right to rent” checks on people who want to rent from them. This to check you have the right to live in the UK legally. Landlords will usually ask for evidence such as a passport or Biometric Residence Card (BRP).
Where to find private accommodation
There are lots of properties available from letting agents in Leeds city centre and in local areas. Be aware that some letting agents may charge you a fee for finding you accommodation. The easiest way to find your local letting agents is to use Google Maps.
You could also check in local newspapers, shop windows and notice boards, as landlords sometimes advertise their accommodation that way.
You can also try websites such as:
If you receive welfare benefits
Some landlords will only accept you if you are in employment. However, there is a website called DSS Move that you can use to find a landlord who will accept people who are on welfare benefits.
If you rent from a private landlord, you will have rights, which mean that you can expect certain standards for the property, protection for your deposit and to be treated fairly.
The GOV.UK website has a helpful list, which tells you what you should expect.
There are certain things a landlord must do, which include:
- Giving you a gas safety certificate for appliances such as gas fires, cookers and boilers when you move in and every 12 months afterwards.
- Giving you deposit paperwork. If you have paid a deposit / bond, the landlord must protect it in a government approved scheme. This makes sure you will not lose your deposit unfairly. Keep this paperwork safe as it will help you get your money back if you have problems when you move out.
- Telling you in writing in advance, if he or she wants you to move out. You can only be legally removed from the property with a court order. If you are being forced out illegally, or you ever feel harassed by your landlord, you should contact the police. Leeds City Council and Citizen’s Advice Leeds can also help by writing to your landlord if you are worried about being illegally evicted.
- Tell you in advance if he / she needs access to your accommodation, for example for repairs, unless it is an emergency. Your tenancy agreement will usually give you information about how much notice the landlord must give you before entering your home.
You can also contact your landlord if something in the property that has been provided for you is not working properly, such as the cooker, fridge, washing machine or toilet.
Leeds City Council has produced a helpful guidebook for people living in private rented accommodation:
As the person living in the accommodation (the tenant), you have responsibilities, which include:
- You should take good care of the accommodation and pay for or repair any damage you cause. If there is damage when you move out, the cost for repairs can be taken from the deposit you paid. You are also usually not allowed make any alterations to the property without asking permission from your landlord.
- You must allow the landlord access into your accommodation when he / she requests it (as above).
- You must pay your rent in full and any bills such as for gas and electricity.
It is a good idea to make sure you are aware of all your responsibilities, because they may be different to those in the country you were previously living in. If you do not meet these responsibilities the landlord has the right to take legal action against you meaning you will have to move out. Find out more on the GOV.UK website:
Your living conditions
If you are renting a property, either privately or from the local authority, and you have any concerns about the condition of the property or that it is over crowded, you should ask for advice.
You can report a landlord to Leeds City Council if you think the property isn’t being looked after properly or isn’t safe and they can help you get the problem fixed.