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Lettings Waltham Forest Self-Help Scheme

Last updated 21 May 2013

If you are a landlord, find out more about letting your property through Lettings Waltham Forest

Lettings Waltham Forest Self-Help Scheme (LWFSHS)


The Lettings Waltham Forest Self Help Scheme (LWFSHS) is designed to help families to secure properties in the private rented sector.

Your case will need to be assessed by our Assessments and Options team, who will confirm if you qualify for it. 

We know that the greatest difficulty in finding private rented accommodation is paying the deposit and one month's rent in advance that nearly all agents/landlords ask for before they agree to sign you up to a property.

Unfortunately, there is a chronic shortage of housing in Waltham Forest and we understand that living in temporary accommodation can be difficult for many people. This scheme gives you an alternative option to temporary accommodation and allows you to choose where you want to live.

To help with this, LWFSHS will:

  • give you the chance to find your own property that suits your needs, and is close to family and friends. It doesn't have to be in Waltham Forest - you can move anywhere in the UK
  • pay the deposit and rent in advance (if you are accepted on the LWFSHS) direct to the agent/landlord of the property
  • help you with removal costs. 

Property types

All properties must be:
 
  • Self contained with no shared facilities
  • Must be decorated to a good standard
  • Let through an agent or from a landlord not related to you.

Responsibilities of the agent/landlord

 
The agency/landlord must be:
  • Willing to accept a BACs payment for rent and deposit in advance
  • Willing to let you sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for at least six months before receiving a BACs payment and be willing to provide you with a copy of this agreement.

What to do when you find a suitable property

When you find a property you are happy with, you must provide Lettings Waltham Forest with the following information:
  • The name and contact details of the agent/landlord through whom you have found the property
  • The full property address including postcode
  • The rent amount requested by the agent.

One of our Lettings Waltham Forest Officers will carry out a rental assessment to make sure the rent is affordable for your household. You should not sign any agreement or hand over any money until this has been done, or until you have spoken to Lettings Waltham Forest.

Once the rent level has been agreed, we will contact you and the agent/landlord to arrange a move-in date and request a copy of the Tenancy Agreement. This must be signed by the agency and you, the tenant. Payments can only be forwarded once the Lettings Waltham Forest officer has seen a copy of the signed Tenancy Agreement, checked your household documents and signed the necessary paperwork at our office.

In some cases, an agent/landlord may request a letter to guarantee that the payment will be provided by Lettings Waltham Forest. We can do this on your behalf and send it direct to the agent/landlord.

You must provide at least two working days notice of your move-in date to Lettings Waltham Forest so we can arrange removal services and cancel temporary accommodation where necessary. 

If you are a Waltham Forest Council tenant, you may be required to give four week's written notice to Ascham Homes prior to moving out of your property. Please contact either Ascham Homes or Lettings Waltham Forest for more information.

Housing Benefit payments

The Housing Benefit department does not pay rent on a Per Calendar Month (PCM) basis as requested by all agents. All payments by Housing Benefit are paid either two weekly (if paid to applicant) or four weekly (if paid to landlord or agent directly). For example, if the rent on a property is £650 PCM, this equates to £150 per week and Housing Benefit will pay the following:

To Landlord/Agent direct

 
£150 x 4 (weeks) =£600
 
This is the amount your landlord will receive every four weeks if you are entitled to full Housing Benefit. They will receive 13 payments of this amount during the course of the year as opposed to 12 payments of £650 (PCM payment). At the end of the year the landlord/agent will receive the full amount he/she should. If you are not entitled to full Housing Benefit, the payment will still be on a four-weekly basis of the amount you are entitled to receive.
 

To the tenant

£150 x 2 (weeks) = £300.
 
This is the amount you will receive every two weeks if you are entitled to full Housing Benefit. You should receive 26 payments of this amount during the course of the year. At the end of the year you should receive the full amount of what you are entitled to. If you are not entitled to full Housing Benefit then the payment will still be on a two-weekly basis of the amount you are entitled to.

Tips and reminders

It is important to remember the following:

  • Explain to the agency that you are registered with LWFSHS and that Ascham Homes will be paying a deposit and rent advance on your behalf
  • A tenancy agreement is a legally binding document, so remember to view and inspect the property before signing it
  • Remember to obtain the agency's contact details so that these can then be forwarded to the Lettings Waltham Forest officer
  • Ensure that you have the correct property address, including postcode, as this will be needed when checking the Local Housing Allowance Rate
  • Ensure that the property conforms to the property standards set by the Council
  • Remember to complete a Housing Benefit Application (if applicable) on or before the day you move into the property to ensure future rent payments are received and paid on time
  • Ensure the agent agrees to return the advance payment to Ascham Homes upon receipt of first full Housing Benefit payment (for properties in the borough of Waltham Forest).
If you would like further information about the scheme please contact Lettings Waltham Forest on 020 8496 5525 or speak to your caseworker. Alternatively you can send an e-mail to lettingswalthamforest@aschamhomes.org.uk

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