You will be considered at risk of homelessness. The LAASLO team can help you put your application for a house in straight away, so that you are on the housing system (Compass) and get the right banding. A 'band' is used to show how urgent your housing needs are.
The housing office is at Rivers House, 63 North Ormesby Road, Middlesbrough, TS1 5TP. You can also get in touch with them by phoning 01642 261 116.
Different types of landlords (people or companies who own properties)
- Social housing, which is available through Thirteen and Compass
- Private housing, where you may have to pay a deposit up front, as well as an administration fee
- Open Door, a charity
Tenant rights and responsibilities
Generally, as a tenant you must do things like:
- pay your rent on time (rent is usually paid in advance, weekly or monthly)
- pay your bills for gas, water, and electricity on time
- take care of the property you are staying in
Landlord rights and responsibilities
A landlord must:
- give you a rent book/receipt which confirms how much rent you have paid
- give you a written Statement of Tenancy Terms within 28 days of the start of the tenancy
- give you warning if they want you to leave the property
- look after any gas and electrical appliances which come with the house e.g. the fridge, radiators
- give you privacy
The duties of a landlord (and your rights as a tenant) can vary, depending on the type of arrangement or 'tenancy' you have.
Types of tenancy can be complicated, so it is important you know what kind you have, and what is expected of you before you sign up. Find out about the different kinds of tenancy.
If a landlord wants money from you in advance ('a deposit'), they must use an approved tenancy deposit scheme. This makes sure tenants get their deposit back at the end of the tenancy. You should check to make sure that the landlord is using this scheme.
Living in a shared house
If you live in a house with 4 or more people who are not related to you, and you share a kitchen, bathroom or lounge with them, then you live in a licensable House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). Your landlord is responsible for getting an HMO licence.
If you are at immediate risk of becoming homeless, Thirteen can find temporary emergency accommodation for you. Once the next suitable property becomes available, Thirteen will offer it to you as a 'final offer'. If you refuse that property, your emergency accommodation arrangements may be ended.
Where can I get furniture?
Help is available to make sure you have furniture and other things for inside your house. This includes:
- Community Support Grant: the LAASLO team will help you apply for this
- Thirteen Housing: if you rented through them, they may have some white goods (e.g. fridge, washing machine) available
- Avenue Methodist Church, which is open on a Wednesday morning
- Frade: offers cheap (not free) furniture
- Refugee Integration Loan: the LAASLO team can help you complete the relevant form
Utilities and other bills
'Utilities' are the things you need to keep your home running, like energy (gas and electricity) and water.
Once you have found a property, you should get in touch with Middlesbrough Environment City. They can help you to make sure that you have the most affordable energy provider, and that you use your energy properly.
If you experience fuel poverty, you can contact Middlesbrough and Stockton MIND and the Mary Thompson Fund for further help. Fuel poverty means you can't afford to pay your energy bills, so you can't keep your house warm.
If you want to watch television in your house, you must also apply and pay for a television license.
Your Council Tax is a very important bill. If you do not pay your Council Tax, you risk going to jail.
How much Council Tax you have to pay depends on how much your property is worth. This is called the Council Tax 'band'. You can find out what your Council Tax band is by looking up your postcode. It will be a letter between A and H. Once you know your band, you can find out how much your Council Tax will cost.
You might be able to apply to reduce the amount of Council Tax you have to pay. The LAASLO Team will be happy to help you with this.