Private landlords

Private renting options

Being a Landlord can be very rewarding but comes with many responsibilities.

There are a number of options open to you if you have a property that you are wishing to make an income from. Our Private Sector Team work closely in partnership with local agents, landlords and owners of properties in and around the Borough of Bexley.

Private Sector Leased Scheme (PSL)

The PSL scheme is very popular, offering a number of benefits to landlords looking for a longer term option. If your property is in good condition and meets the standards of the scheme, we will lease it from you for a period of three to five years.

Many owners will appoint an agent to manage the property, carry out periodic checks and organise repairs etc. However, our Private Sector Officer's can support and advise owner's that can demonstrate an ability and preference to manage this work themselves. Further details about this scheme are available in the following document Private Sector Leasing Scheme (PDF, 1MB).

Rent Direct Scheme (RDS)

For property owner's or landlord's wanting a shorter term option and requiring tenants, we also operate the RDS scheme. If your property meets the standards for this scheme, we will match you to a tenant, usually in receipt of Welfare Benefits and assist in the establishment of the tenancy and the submission of the claim for Housing Benefit. Further details about this scheme are available in the following document What is the Rent Direct Scheme (PDF, 1MB).

Room in a family home

If you have a room in your home that you are thinking of renting out there are options available to you. Contact landlords@bexley.gov.uk to find out if we have people interested in this type of accommodation.

Supported lodgings

If you think that you could offer accommodation and support to a young person aged 16 to 17, we are also interested in hearing from you. To discuss this scheme please complete the enquiry form to register your interest and a colleague from the Children and Young People's Service will be in touch to discuss the assessment process.

If you are the owner of a family sized accommodation and want to lease your property for an average period of three years, but don't feel that any of the above schemes are right for you, there are a number of Registered Social Landlords (RSL's) that operate similar schemes that you might be interested in.

Support and information

We support Bexley landlords in a variety of ways through our Housing Support service and providing the information landlords need to know.

Support for landlords

Housing Support is a service from the London Borough of Bexley to help anyone who is currently experiencing housing problems, including Bexley landlords.

Landlords and letting agents can use our dedicated contact form to let the Council know of any concerns about their tenants. We will work with you and your tenants to help resolve problems early on before they reach crisis point.

If we cannot resolve the issue directly, we can signpost to other services that may be able to help.

This is useful to landlords and letting agents who are concerned that their tenant:

  • has rent arrears or other debts
  • is finding it hard to manage their money
  • is struggling with the changes to their benefits
  • is in need of support with finding and moving into other accommodation

If you have any concerns about your tenant and think that they require further support from us, complete our support form.

Further information about the service is available in the following document, Housing support (PDF, 1MB).

Housing benefit information

The name of the housing benefit for tenants in the private rented sector is Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

If you are a private landlord who lets their property to tenants who claim a benefit to help pay their rent, they will receive LHA. It is administered by our Benefits office.

LHA is usually paid directly to the tenant rather than to the landlord. It is calculated by the tenants':

  • income and savings
  • if they have any dependents or other adults living with them
  • and the size of the property they are entitled to under the LHA rate

Please note the final figure is calculated on the above criteria and your tenant may not necessarily receive the maximum LHA rate.

Changes to benefits

If your tenant claims housing benefit, they may be affected by the welfare reforms. Universal Credit (UC) is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It replaced six of the main working age benefits, including housing benefit, into one monthly payment, paid in arrears and directly to the claimant.

Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis for the housing element of UC to be paid directly to the landlord, such as recipients who are considered financially vulnerable.

Landlord responsibilities

Property management can be complex as well as rewarding.

Private landlords should be familiar with their responsibilities and liabilities when renting a property out. As a minimum, landlords should:

  • ensure their property is free from health and safety hazards. This includes providing up to date gas safety certificates, ensuring all appliances and electrical fittings are free from faults and following fire safety regulations
  • carry out repairs and maintenance in a reasonable time period. For urgent or emergency repairs, this should be no longer than a few days
  • let the tenant live in the property in privacy. If you (or a workman or contractor) need to access the property to carry out non-emergency repairs, you should visit at a time that is convenient for the tenant
  • provide a tenancy or licence agreement for the tenants which includes the terms, who pays what and when, who is responsible for maintenance and your contact details

If you would like to rent out your property for the long term but are unable to take on the day to day management, contact our Private Sector Leasing team, landlords@bexley.gov.uk, who can tell you about the private renting options available to you.

If you have concerns about your tenant, and the tenancy may be at risk as a result, contact the Housing support service where Housing Support officers can offer advice and help to negotiate and resolve your concerns.

Further information for landlords

You may also want to consider the benefits of belonging to a Landlords Association that can provide you with a wealth of up to date information and support.

The RLA publishes landlord help guides, including help with tenancy management and understanding your responsibilities and liabilities.

The Local Authority Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) has created a guide for potential landlords (PDF, 296KB), which is also useful for new landlords.

HMRC have designed an online course for landlords which covers all the aspects you need to know about property income, different types of tax and record keeping.