Private Renting

How to find a home to rent with a private landlord, why this may be the best option for you, and how we can help. 

Finding a home that you can afford to rent doesn’t have to mean finding a council or housing association property. There are many properties in Somerset which are available to rent from a private landlord.

A private landlord is someone who owns one or more properties that they rent out to tenants. 

Why rent with a private landlord 

There are many advantages to renting privately:

  • There are no waiting lists, so you’ll be able to move in quickly
  • You can choose where you live in Somerset, and you can easily move to a different area if you want
  • There are many different types of property available, from one-bedroom studio flats to houses big enough for large families
  • The properties will usually be well decorated and carpeted; this is often not the case with social housing.
  • The properties often come with a fridge, freezer and washing machine

Where to find a property in your price range

Most rented properties and rooms are advertised online, on sites such as:



Open rent


You can register your interest with lettings agents who have offices in the area where you want to live. It is also worth looking in the local papers – most have online classified property ads.

Help with housing costs

If you have a low income or are on benefits, and have savings of less that £16,000, you may be eligible for help with your housing costs (Housing Benefit, or the housing element of Universal Credit). The amount you could get is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs. If you are under 35 years old, you normally qualify for a ‘shared room rate’ (an amount based on the costs of a room in a shared house). 

Directgov allows you to search for the Local Housing Allowance rates in your area. 

Upfront costs

Landlords usually charge a tenancy deposit to cover the costs of breakages and/or missed rent plus at least a month’s rent in advance. Lettings agents may also charge administration fees for carrying out checks such as credit checks.

Landlords or agents are not permitted to charge you for registering your interest or showing you around a property.

If you have insufficient savings, local councils may have loan or guarantee schemes to help you with the upfront costs of renting. If your council offers you a loan, you will need to take the cost of repaying the loan into account when you complete a budget.

If you need help understanding your budget try the Citizens Advice budgeting tool

Further information

The Citizens Advice guide on renting from a private landlord gives useful advice and information on your rights as a tenant.

The Government have produced a useful guide for tenants and landlords: How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.