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Housing options

If you do need to find alternative accommodation, or are worried about your mortgage, you can consider the following options:


Privately renting

Renting accommodation from a letting agent or a private landlord is a suitable option for many people.

As a housing option, privately renting allows you to choose a property that is most suited to your housing needs, family size and budget.

You can rent accommodation from a private landlord or letting agent by looking online or in local papers.

There are various ways to look for accommodation on the internet:

  • search engines - use a search engine, like Google, by entering searches for properties or rooms to rent in your desired areas;
  • local letting agents - most have websites advertising properties;
  • social media – some landlords may advertise on social media platforms for properties or rooms to rent,
  • newspapers and local shops - some private landlords place adverts on noticeboards in local shops, newsagents and supermarkets

Some useful following for finding a property or room to rent are:

The How To Rent a Safe Home guide on GOV.UK is to help current and prospective tenants ensure that a rented property is safe to live in.

You will usually need to pay a month’s rent in advance, and a deposit of a maximum 5 weeks rent.

You may be entitled to a rent deposit loan or deposit bond to help you move into suitable and affordable privately rented accommodation.

Rent deposit loan

The rent deposit loan is an interest free loan to cover the first month’s rent and deposit to help you move into a privately rented property. The loan can be repaid in either weekly or monthly instalments over a maximum of three years.

You can apply if:

  • you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
  • you have a local connection to Tunbridge Wells

Deposit bond

The deposit bond is an alternative to giving a landlord a cash deposit and it is set up between the council, the landlord and the tenant. You’ll need to make an application for the bond, and if it is accepted, we will enter into an undertaking to guarantee a deposit of up to six weeks rent. At the end of the tenancy, if there are rent arrears or damage to the property other than wear and tear, the landlord can make a claim for these costs up to the value of the bond, and tenants will be responsible for paying these costs back to us.

You can apply if:

  • you are homeless or threatened with homelessness;
  • you have a local connection to Tunbridge Wells.

To obtain housing advice or assitance or find out more about these schemes and whether you qualify, please contact us.

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, our online homelessness assessment tool can provide you with guidance about your next steps.

Affordability calculator

The affordability calculator can help you find a privately rented property that you can afford.

Local housing allowance

If you are claiming a welfare benefits or on a low income, you may be entitled to claim help to pay your rent. If you’re under 35 years old, you are only entitled to claim single room rate, unless an exemption applies.

Local housing allowance (LHA) is not a separate benefit. LHA rates affects how much help with rent you can get when renting from a private landlord.

The table below provides more information on the LHA rates covering properties within the Tunbridge Wells borough. Most of the borough is in the High Weald area for LHA, but there are a few parts in the Ashford area so both sets of LHA are shown.

Number of bedrooms

High Weald


Shared room rate



One bedroom



Two bedrooms



Three bedrooms



Four bedrooms



You can search for the LHA rates by post code by visiting the Directgov website.

Tenancy Agreements

There are many different types of tenancies and tenancy agreements. The most common type of tenancy used for privately rented accommodation is an assured shorthold tenancy.

Your prospective landlord should provide you with a written agreement when you decide to rent a property, or you may have a verbal agreement between you. Both are legally binding.

However, you do have the right to the basic terms and conditions of your tenancy in writing. If you ask for this, the landlord must supply it.

Your landlord must also provide you with certain documents at the start of each fixed term of your tenancy:

  • Gas Safety Certificate (dated within the past year)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with a rating at E or above
  • Electrical Installation Condition Report (EIRC) (dated within the past 5 years)
  • The latest version of the “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” government booklet
  • Details of your tenancy deposit protection and prescribed information within 30 days of you paying the deposit

Please visit the government website for more information on tenancy deposit protection.

Please visit the government website for more information on private renting.

Supported housing

This type of housing might be right for you if you have certain support needs.

There are a few organisations which provide supported housing projects in our area:

For young people, these organisations may be able to assist you:

  • YMCA (Ryder House) – for young people aged 16 to 24 years old.
  • SAHA – aged between 18 and 25 years old, male or female, can be pregnant or with one child up to the age of three.

There are other organisations that offer supported accommodation for those with specific mental health needs, speak to your mental health team.

To be referred to these providers, please contact us.

Low cost home ownership

There are several Government backed affordable home ownership schemes available.

For more information please see our Affordable home ownership page.

Social housing

We do not own any social housing stock, and social housing within the borough is provided by registered providers formerly known as housing associations.

To apply for social housing you will need to register with us. To be eligible, you will need to have a housing need and meet the criteria in the housing register allocations scheme. Please see our housing register page for more information.

Other support options

You can find details of other support options available to you to help you secure or sustain accommodation below.

Kent support and assistance service (KSAS)

Kent support and assistance service (KSAS) is a service provided by Kent County Council. KSAS may be able to help you if you are having serious difficulties managing your income due to a crisis or if you are facing exceptional pressures because of an emergency.

They offer help for a short time only if you have no other means of support. They can provide essential home items such as:

  • groceries (for up to seven days)
  • clothing
  • baby food, milk and nappies
  • furniture
  • crockery
  • bedding
  • essential electrical appliances

They can also help with:

  • utilities (gas and electricity for up to seven days)
  • emergency travel arrangements by public transport (for example to flee a crisis)

To apply, visit the Kent County Council website.

Please see here more information on cost of living support on the Kent County Council website.

Low cost furniture

You can contact various charitable organisations in the area who sell furniture at a reasonable price, such as:

  • British Heart Foundation, 39/45 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, UK, TN1 2AW
  • Hospice in the Weald Furniture Store, 6 Tunbridge Wells Trade Park, Longfield Road,Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3QF

Support for mortgage interest (SMI)

If you are a homeowner, you might be able to get help towards interest payments on:

  • your mortgage
  • loans you’ve taken out for certain repairs and improvements to your home

This help is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

Get advice if you are worried about your mortgage payments.