You can find Housing advice for Ukrainian guests translated into Ukrainian. You can translate this page into another language using Google Translate. You can also read this translated into Russian.

Find out what options and support you can get if your hosting arrangement is ending, or you want to move into your own accommodation.

Find private rented accommodation

There are flats and houses that you can rent privately in Dorset.

When looking for a flat or house to rent, think about:

  • if the property is suitable for you e.g. managing the stairs
  • what area you want to live in
  • how much rent you can afford
  • how much the start-up costs could be, such as the deposit or rent in advance
  • how you will pay for things like furniture, kitchen appliances and insurance

Where to look for private rented properties

We cannot help you to find private rented accommodation. But there are several ways of searching for yourself:

  • local papers and magazines such as the Dorset Echo and Bournemouth Echo
  • noticeboards in shop windows, supermarkets and community noticeboards
  • websites such as Zoopla and Rightmove advertise available properties
  • house sharing websites such as Flatmate and Spare Rooms let you search for other people who are looking to share a property, which can help cut costs

Letting and management agents

Agents manage properties on behalf of private landlords. Agents should not charge you for a property search.

If you rent a property through an agent, they usually charge a fee of one third of a month's rent plus VAT. This fee may be non-refundable.

They will also need a deposit and up to two months’ rent in advance. We cannot recommend individual letting and management agents.

Viewing a property

When viewing a property, check that the property is secure and the heating, lighting and plumbing are working. The property should be in a good state of repair, and it is important you read the tenancy agreement before signing.

Get advice on renting a property

Citizens Advice has lots of information on renting privately and renting a home including:

  • checks your landlord or letting agent will make
  • other costs of renting such as rent in advance, tenancy and holding deposits
  • things to know before, during and at the end of your tenancy
  • your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and tenancy agreements

You can contact Citizens Advice Dorset for more help and support.

Download the UK Government’s How To Rent checklist for renting.

Benefits

If you are renting privately and not working, you may be able to make a claim for housing costs through Universal Credit. Get more information about benefits you may be entitled to in our welcome pack.

If you are working and on a low income, you may also be entitled to some help. Use an online benefits checker, such as Turn2us Benefits Calculator, to see if there is anything you can claim.

The Local Housing Allowance limits the amount you can claim in housing costs. It applies to claims for the housing element of Universal Credit. The allowance takes account of where you live and the number of bedrooms you can claim for. You can claim a bedroom for each of the following:

  • a couple who live together
  • someone else in the household who is 16 or over
  • two children of the same sex (a child is someone under 16)
  • two children of any sex who are younger than 10

Check the Local Housing Allowance Rates to see the most you can claim. It will change depending on the area you are looking to move into.

Look for somewhere at a similar rent or lower to avoid a shortfall. If there is a shortfall and you choose to go ahead, make sure you can afford to make up the difference.

Other things to consider

Fees, credit checks, references, guarantors, right to rent, deposits, local housing allowance

Fees 

A landlord should not charge you for setting up a tenancy. 

Credit checks 

A landlord may wish to run a credit check on you and should not charge for this. If you have concerns about your record, you could check it's correct yourself. You may be able to add information if that helps, such as a note against debts that have been paid off.  Details of how you can challenge a credit check can be found at How To Correct Mistakes On Your Credit Report (credability.co.uk) 

References 

Some landlords ask for a reference and your host may be able to help with this.  

Guarantors 

Some landlords ask for a guarantor to give them greater security against rent arrears. A guarantor is someone who will pay your rent and any other costs if you are, for whatever reason, unable to.  Most guarantors have to be in a good financial position to be able to do this and checks will be carried out on their own creditworthiness as part of the process in most cases.  Dorset Council are unable to act as a guarantor for potential landlords.  

Right to rent 

The most common way to show you have the right to rent is by your visa documents. If your documents are with the Home Office the landlord can check directly with them through an online portal.  

Deposits and rent in advance 

Most landlords are going to want a deposit ahead of you moving in. This is money that you pay as a safeguard against damage or other costs. 

You usually pay the first month of rent in advance. This can be longer than a month so you will need to check.

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness Dorset Council may help with the upfront costs. It can provide a deposit bond and rent in advance but will want to carry out some checks – such as confirming that the property is affordable to you and suitable for all household members.   We will also want to check your bank statements to confirm that you are able to afford these costs yourself.   This money would be paid as a loan which you will be expected to repay in instalments so this will be another cost you will have to think about. 

Local housing allowance 

If you are renting in the private sector and not working, you will be reliant on making a claim for housing costs through a Universal Credit claim with the Department for Work & Pensions.  You can find out more information about benefits you may be entitled to in our welcome pack - Welcome guide for Ukrainians arriving in Dorset  If you are working and on a low income, you also may be entitled to some help so it is worth using an online benefit checker to see if there is anything you can claim.  A useful online checker is Turn2us Benefits Calculator 

The Local Housing Allowance applies to claims for the housing element of Universal Credit and this limits the amount you can claim in housing costs. The allowance takes account of where you live and the number of bedrooms you can claim for.

For more information on Local Housing Allowance please click here Looking for accommodation - Dorset Council where you will find applicable criteria for your claim and other important information.

Check the Local Housing Allowance Rates  to see the maximum you can claim as it will change depending on the area you are looking to move into.  

Look for somewhere at a similar rent or lower to avoid a shortfall. If there is a shortfall and you choose to proceed, make sure you can afford to make up the difference. 

Apply for social housing

Social housing is for people who would struggle to rent or buy a house.

Dorset Council Homechoice is Dorset's housing register.

Visit the Homechoice website for qualifying conditions and how to join the register. If you qualify, you can bid to rent homes from housing associations, as well as low-cost home ownership properties.

There is a high demand for social housing across the whole of England and in Dorset. There is a long wait, so we cannot provide housing immediately.

Properties include:

Social and affordable rented housing

This type of housing could be low-cost rented flats and houses for single people and families. Some of these are adapted to meet the needs of people with limited mobility.

Sheltered housing for older people

It offers self-contained accommodation, usually in a scheme, with some shared facilities such as gardens and a TV lounge. Some sheltered housing includes low-level support to help maintain independence.

Get matched to another host family

We can try match you to another host family if you can't get private rented accommodation or social housing.

We can try to find another host family for you to stay with in Dorset if you can't rent privately or get social housing. We call this rematching.

Email us at ukraineresponse@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk if you cannot get other accommodation and would like us to consider you for rematching.

If you would like to be matched with a new host family outside of Dorset, go to:

Read more information about government recognised providers who can help find sponsors

Homelessness and risk of homelessness

We will work with you if you are faced with homelessness and will support you so it can be avoided.

If you are homeless or at risk of homelessness, we may be able to help with the upfront costs.

We can provide a deposit bond and rent in advance. We would pay this money as a loan which you would need to repay in instalments.

We'll need to check:

  • that the property is affordable to you and suitable for all household members
  • your bank statements to make sure that you are able to afford the costs yourself

Contact the Housing Advice Team.

If you are faced with homelessness, the sooner you get in touch with us the better.

If it cannot be resolved and there is an urgent need, we will provide bed & breakfast accommodation until we can find an alternative solution for you and your family. You will stay in bed & breakfast accommodation until we find a more permanent housing solution.

Read the Homelessness Application Process on the Shelter website for more information.

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