Buying or renting ordinary housing
Choosing a Home
If you decide to move house, you need to find out what type of housing will best suit your needs and what is available. There are a number options that you may want to consider. You may also find these sections useful on Information NOW.
Renting a Home
You can rent your home from a number of different providers;
Renting from Your Homes Newcastle or a Housing Association
This is known as having a council tenancy or living in social housing. You may have more security and pay lower rent than other tenants, but you also may have to wait longer for an available home. This is because these housing providers aim to assist people who have the greatest need.
Tyne and wear Homes website is where you register to apply for Council and housing association housing, including sheltered housing. You can then contact the Housing Association of your choice for further information on how to apply.
Visit the YHN Community Housing Office if you need help using their website.
- List of Sheltered housing schemes managed by Your Homes Newcastle
- List of all other sheltered housing providers
You may find the Government guide on how to rent
Renting a Private Property
Private renting is normally on a short-term basis. This means that your landlord will have the right to bring your tenancy to an end after six months. The rent can be higher than renting from the Council or a Housing Association but you may be able to find accommodation more quickly and in a location of your choice.
Finding a property to rent
You can look for advertisements in local newspapers or you can use an accommodation agency to find housing available to rent.
There are a number of private agencies on the high street which let out rented housing on behalf of the owners. They may be listed under ‘Accommodation – residential’, ‘Estate agents’, ‘Letting agents’ or ‘Property management’ in the Yellow Pages.
The law says that accommodation agencies are not allowed to charge you unless they actually find a home for you to rent.
Protecting your rights as a tenant
Newcastle Private Rented Service operates an Accreditation Scheme and advertises the properties of landlords who are on the scheme. The service also provides free advice for tenants and landlords.
The service also offers a Rent Deposit Scheme to help you secure private rented accommodation if you can’t afford a deposit.
When you rent a private property you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. Check it carefully before signing it, to find out
- what you are responsible for
- what your landlord is responsible for
- how much rent and deposit you have to pay in advance.
Buying a Home
There is a huge range of housing available to buy privately. There are schemes that are available for people who can’t afford the full market price; such as shared ownership and lifetime occupancy schemes.
Shared Ownership Schemes
Some housing associations provide schemes where you can buy a proportion of the value of the property, for example 25% or 50%. You then pay rent on the remainder of the value. The rent is in addition to the regular service charge. This arrangement is known as a shared ownership scheme.
This scheme may suit you if you don’t have enough money to buy a property outright on the open market, but you have a regular and sufficient income to finance your mortgage and other regular expenses.
Lifetime Occupancy Schemes
Lifetime occupancy schemes allow you to buy the right to occupy a retirement property for life, or for both of your lifetimes, in the case of couples. This can reduce the money needed to move to a retirement home.
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages that you will need to weigh up for yourself.
Right to Buy
A mortgage is a significant and long-term investment. It is often the biggest financial outlay that anyone will make in their lifetime. MoneyHelper has an affordability mortgage calculator that will help you understand whether you can sustain your planned mortgage on your current income. MoneyHelper also offers information on: being a first time buyer; buy to let mortgages; switching your mortgage; Government help to buy; extra costs such as surveys and council tax.
Sheltered Housing tends to be the term used for properties which are rented from housing associations. When people buy their properties or rent privately, they usually call it retirement housing.
Retirement housing (also known as sheltered housing) might appeal to you if you like living independently, but want the reassurance of knowing that assistance is on hand if there is an emergency, or if you want the option of socialising in a community of people in your age range.
Refugees and asylum seekers
Action Housing and Action Letting help asylum seekers and refugees find somewhere to live. They run these services:
- Action Housing: supported accommodation for destitute asylum seekers, with no recourse to public funds
- Action Letting: they rent properties to new refugees at risk of homelessness. Helping single refugees access private rented housing in flexible and affordable ways
Read more on InformationNOW about support for refugees and asylum seekers in Newcastle.
Worried about becoming homeless?
The first thing you should do is to contact Newcastle City Council’s Housing Advice Centre. Staff at the Housing Advice Centre can help you to maintain your existing accommodation or help find you alternative accommodation. Newcastle City Council has a legal duty to provide advice and assistance free of charge to you if you are homeless or are ‘threatened with homelessness’. This means that you are going to become homeless within 56 days and there is nothing you can do about it. For example, if you have a notice from the court saying that your home is going to be repossessed in 4 weeks.
Read Homeless or worried about becoming homeless on InformationNOW.
Other useful information
- The costs of buying a house and moving guide from the MoneyHelper
- Housing Advice Centre at Newcastle City Council gives advice to anyone experiencing housing difficulties. This includes problems with rent or mortgage problems as well as basic benefit issues.
- Legal & General now offer help to find and fund care
- FirstStop – Advice for older people is a free online and telephone information and advice service for older people. You can search their website for housing schemes in your area including private, Local Authority and Housing Association schemes.
- MoneyHelper has a range of helpful videos including Worried about paying your rent.
- Newcastle University Students Union helps their students and prospective students with benefits and housing advice, including contract reviews.
- Housing section on Citizens Advice website.
The Council has provided the Legal & General links for information purposes only. Please note that the Council neither recommends nor endorses any products or services accessed via these links. For full details, please see their website advertising statement.
Last updated: July 15, 2022