Young people should be supported in choosing accommodation which best suits their needs, assisted in understanding their tenancy rights, and given advice in maintaining good relationships with their neighbours, and given access to resources to help with their housing costs.
Local authorities, commissioned partners and advisers can help improve outcomes for young people renting homes for the first time, or renting again after failing to sustain a tenancy.
Young people renting in the private sector face a range of barriers and problems. See the page Introduction to tenancy sustainment for a list of common factors.
Support to overcome these issues can be provided by the local authority, by landlords, and by voluntary sector organisations. Some of these schemes may only be available to young people who were previously homeless or have a priority need. Advisers can also play a role in helping young people select accommodation that is appropriate to their needs, and in assessing and accessing the right level of support needed to sustain a tenancy.
Pre-tenancy training may be available locally, run by the local authority or commissioned partners. Supported accommodation schemes will also include training in their measures to support young people some preparation for the transition to independent living. See pre-tenancy training and advice.
Local authorities recognise that the majority of their young people will rent in the private sector (and indeed some tenancies provided by local authorities in complying with their homelessness obligations will be tenancies in the private sector), and schemes to support young people in tenancy sustainment will be beneficial in the long run, keeping young people safe and secure and reducing housing crisis and homelessness. Local authorities may choose to run these schemes, or commission another organisation to do so.
Advisers can direct young people towards landlords registered with local authority accreditation schemes and help them check that shared properties are duly registered as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) if applicable. Young people should also be encouraged to be aware of their rights and responsibilities as set out in their tenancy agreements and of the importance of their tenancy deposits being protected.
Many landlords and letting agencies in the private rented sector support schemes to provide young tenants with advice and support. Some cross-tenure schemes (for example, operated by housing associations but aimed at the private sector) will insist that new tenants participate in a tenancy support scheme.
Young people trying to rent in the private sector may be able to use a renting access scheme. These act as a partnership between charities, local authorities and private housing providers to help young people overcome financial and other obstacles. Key features of these schemes include:
Young tenants in the private rented sector may be on a low income or relying on benefits to help with housing costs. Advisers should discuss with them what housing options they can realistically afford, and any benefit restrictions, such as the shared accommodation rate. Young people may plan to spend more, using other benefits or loans, to get the accommodation they want, but they should be made aware that this may not be practical in the longer term, and of the dangers of getting into debt.
Some additional financial help may be available through local authority homeless prevention funds.
See Paying for a private rented home for more information
Other financial challenges for young people on low incomes will include paying for utilities, travel costs, general living costs. For more information, see helping young people manage money and debt.