Independent Housing (private renting)
It is important to know that you are likely to have a greater range of choices for accessing private rented accommodation if you are in education, training or employment, and can access the KCC Rent Guarantor Scheme. Without these in place, your choices are likely to be limited. You will also need to be able to budget, cook and keep your home tidy.
If you are living out of county, your Personal Adviser will inform you about your housing options.
When you are in independent accommodation, you are responsible for yourself and for paying your bills, such as gas, electricity, council tax and water. You should find out about these bills. They can be paid for monthly through your bank (a direct debit) and this is a much better option than running up bills.
You should also make sure you know how your rent is being paid as it is your responsibility, whether you are working or on benefits, to ensure that your rent is paid to avoid eviction.
If you are a care leaver who is claiming rent payments via Universal Credit and are not confident that you will be able the manage the responsibility of paying your rent to your landlord, you need to speak to your DWP Work coach and arrange for this to be paid to them directly. Speak to your Coach (or your Personal Adviser) about ‘direct payments to landlords’.
Your Personal Adviser can help you to keep on top of bills and abide by your tenancy agreement. If you do not keep to your tenancy agreement, you may be at risk of eviction and homelessness.
If you have particular needs which mean you require Social Housing, you can attempt to access the local housing register. This is a long process and should not be relied on in all but a few cases. In most cases, you should be able to access work, or benefits to pay for your rent in a private, rented property. There is no guarantee that because you want social housing, that you will be eligible or able to access this.
Council Tax is a payment for local services that many people over 18 are liable to pay. We will support you to claim all eligible council tax benefits and reductions, such as Council Tax Support, single person discount, student exemption etc.
From 1st April 2020, KCC will fund the council tax payments for young people aged 18 years old up to their 21st birthday (aged 18-20 inclusive) who have been in Kent Local Authority Care and are eligible for the Kent Care Leavers Service. Only those Care Leavers who are named on a tenancy agreement are able to access this payment. If you already have your council tax funded through the entitlements listed above, this should continue and you will not be affected by the scheme.