How we support you to move into your own home as a qualifying care leaver.

We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time. The team can help advise you to find suitable accommodation.

This might involve:

  • the Supported Lodgings scheme that helps you find lodgings in a home, with people who can offer you practical and emotional support
  • Supported Housing Alliance is a scheme that can provide long-term housing, support and care to help you live independently. Get more advice on housing options if you're a young person with SEND
  • working with housing services to come up with suitable housing options for you, including social housing which is managed by us or a housing association or supported accommodation if you're not ready or don't want to have your own tenancy
  • independent housing
  • advice about holding down a tenancy, including how to avoid getting behind in your rent or Council Tax payments, paying for bills and budgeting. We know it can be very hard having your own place for the first time; we'll do whatever we can to ease the pressure on you
  • providing information about exemptions or discounts on Council Tax
  • helping you to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • supporting you if you have a housing crisis, including helping if you're threatened with losing your tenancy, or if you've lost it

Find out more about housing options on our youth link pages.

Apply to be on the Dorset Homechoice housing register

Apply to be added to the housing register for a home in Dorset. You might need help with this from your personal adviser.

Securing your home with deposit and rent in advance as a qualifying care leaver 

You may be able to get help from deposit, bond and rent in advance schemes, or through a discretionary housing payment.

Guarantor for private renting as a qualifying care leaver

It's important to know that Dorset Council are currently not able to act as your guarantor for privately rented accommodation.

If you do not have a guarantor we'll try and support you through a company that offers guarantor schemes like Housing Hand's rent guarantor service.

You do not need a guarantor if you're offered a property from the council.

Your rent as a qualifying care leaver

You will pay your rent from:

  • working
  • being in an apprenticeship
  • using your student finance if you are at university
  • or from a Universal Credit claim if none of these apply

We cannot help you with paying your rent. We want to make sure that where you live is affordable. To do this we will go through with you how much you're earning and the cost of the property to make sure you can afford to pay your rent.

We encourage you to consider properties priced within the local housing allowance rates as these properties would still be affordable if you had to claim Universal Credit for any reason.

Maintaining your home as a qualifying care leaver

Local services can give you housing-related support and guidance.

They can give you advice about renting successfully, including:

  • holding down a tenancy
  • how to avoid getting behind in your rent or Council Tax payments
  • paying for bills and budgeting

Council Tax as a qualifying care leaver

You must pay Council Tax unless you're in education or training which are counted as disregarded.

If you're a Dorset Council care leaver and you live on your own in Dorset you can apply for full Council Tax exemption. This means you do not have to pay Council Tax until you are 25 years old.

If all of this applies to you but you live with someone else and not on your own then your Council Tax bill will be reduced by 25%.

If you live outside Dorset you should make a claim to the council in the area that you live in and ask them if they help care leavers with paying their Council Tax.

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