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Your tenancy

This section is about the financial support to help you start your own tenancy after you leave care. There’s also information and advice on how to plan for buying your own food and keeping your place clean and tidy once you’ve left care and are living independently. 

If you have any problems with your accommodation, including trouble paying rent or with your landlord, your leaving care coach can advise you on how to sort this out.

Help with the costs of housing

We can help you with the costs directly related to having your own home. We can:

  • help with your rent
  • help you to avoid paying Council Tax until you’re 21
  • help you to gradually pay Council Tax after you’re 21, so you can get used to paying it
  • help you access a hardship fund, if you get into difficulties

We can also support you with one-off payments such as:

  • paying deposits and rent in advance if you start a new privately rented tenancy
  • paying admin fees for a new tenancy
  • paying removal costs for moving home

The following schemes can help you with your housing-related costs.

Council Tax Support

This means-tested, which means we look at your income and personal circumstances to decide if you can receive support, and how much. We give this support by reducing the amount of Council Tax you have to pay and then gradually increasing it again, so you learn to manage your money.

Discretionary Council Tax Support

This is where we reduce your Council Tax bill by more than the Council Tax Support. You will automatically receive this extra help for as long as we have parental responsibility for you. The amount of support you receive will reduce as you become more independent.

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

DHPs are paid in addition to any Housing Benefit or Universal Credit you receive to help you pay your rent. We can’t make a payment to you unless you’re already receiving Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

DHPs can be made to meet the following expenses:

  • the difference between the help you receive towards your rent and the amount you actually have to pay
  • deposits and payments of rent you have to make in advance when moving into a new property
  • administration fees charged by letting agencies associated with entering into a new tenancy agreement
  • removal costs associated with moving into a new home
  • in very rare cases, rent arrears, if a landlord is trying to evict you

Leaving Care Grant

When you move into a new place, there will be things you want to buy to make it feel like your own home. You’re entitled to up to £2,000 through a Leaving Care Grant to spend on household items. Your leaving care coach will support you to decide what you need to buy.  

You don’t have to buy everything straight away, just the essentials. Then when you get settled in you’ll know what else you need to buy.

If you need some extra support around financial assistance you can always speak to your leaving care coach.

Other help

You may also be able to get help from Local Welfare Assistance.

If you need some extra support around your tenancy you can always speak to your leaving care coach.

Buying and cooking food

It’s good to have a few basic meals in your mind before you move out so that you can start to cook for yourself.

It’s a good idea to make a shopping list before you go to the supermarket. Set a total budget for how much you want to spend on food and list the items of food and drink that you’ll need for the week.

It’s important that you’re aware of what types of food you eat and how good they are for you.  It’s best to avoid ready meals because they’re usually more expensive than cooking it yourself, and they are often high in salt, sugar and other preservatives.

If you need some extra support around buying and cooking food you can always speak to your leaving care coach.

Cleaning your place

It’s important to keep your place looking and feeling clean. A clean and tidy flat will also make you feel good and supports your emotional health. 

Avoid buying branded cleaning products as these are expensive. The cleaning products that are a supermarket’s own brand are cheaper and do the same job.

You can get into a routine of cleaning and tidying your place at the same time each day or week, which will help you to keep on top of it. If you do a little bit often it doesn’t pile up.  

If you need some extra support around keeping your place clean and tidy you can always speak to your leaving care coach.

Budgeting

Whether you’ve managed to get a job, or are in the process of finding one, it’s still really important to budget - no matter how much money you have. It’s important you know how much money you have each week and what you need to spend that money on.

You need to think about how much income you have weekly and monthly, such as:

  • wages
  • benefits  
  • Housing Benefit   
  • other income  

Then think about what you can afford to spend on each of the following:

  • rent  
  • food   
  • travel   
  • clothes  
  • TV licence/ rental  
  • Council Tax   
  • water bill   
  • electricity    
  • gas   
  • laundry    
  • cleaning materials   
  • toiletries  
  • credit or loans 
  • phone

The golden rule for budgeting is to never spend more than you have coming in. If you do, you could get into debt which will get worse each month until you’ve paid off what you owe.  

If you need some extra support around budgeting you can always speak to your leaving care coach.

What to do if things go wrong in your tenancy

Falling ill

If you, or someone visiting you, become seriously ill or injured, you need to call the emergency services on 999. Only call this number if the illness or injury is life threatening.

If the illness or injury isn’t life threatening, consider making an appointment at your local GP surgery or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.

When things break

When something in your properly breaks, don't just leave it. If it’s an appliance, don't try to fix it yourself because this might be dangerous and you may do more damage.

You must speak to your landlord or housing provider about what you’ve broken. If it was your fault, you’ll need to pay to get it fixed or this will come out of your deposit when you move out.

Your landlord may have a specific tradesperson or organisation that they use for repairs, or they may be able to recommend someone. If not, ask people you know and trust to suggest a qualified person to carry out the repairs. 

If something goes wrong due to normal wear and tear, and it’s not your fault, contact your landlord. They have a responsibility to fix (and pay for) the property itself and items included in the tenancy agreement, if things go wrong due to wear and tear. 

If you don't know how to approach this issue with your landlord, your leaving care coach will advise you.

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