Most people who cannot remain in their current home are advised to look for private rented accommodation.
HACTRAC is a council-run scheme to help families find private rented accommodation and stop them becoming homeless. The scheme allows people to move into private rented accommodation without having to pay a deposit. In some cases, we may also be able to find the property for you.
However, only a small number of people can be helped through the scheme and many people, especially single people, will need to find their own accommodation.
How does the scheme work?
If you are accepted onto the scheme and have found a suitable property, a HACTRAC officer will talk to the landlord about the scheme and negotiate with them about a deposit.
You will not have to pay a deposit or any money in advance to a landlord or agent. We offer the landlord a deposit guarantee bond against any damage caused during the tenancy, and any rent arrears. However, before we do this, you must agree in writing to repay us any costs we incur as a result of damage you cause to the property or rent arrears you build up.
Please note that not all landlords will want to take part in HACTRAC.
Finding a property yourself
If you are accepted onto the scheme, you will need to find private rented accommodation before we can offer a deposit bond to the landlord.
Looking for somewhere to live can take a lot of time, but is important to prevent you from becoming homeless. You should consider taking the following steps to help you.
- Register with as many estate agents as you can, you can usually do this in person, on the telephone, or online. The more estate agents you register with, the more properties will be available to you.
- Keep in contact with the estate agents regularly – they might not have any suitable properties when you first speak to them, but properties become available all the time. Keeping in contact also shows the estate agents that you will be a more responsible tenant.
- Look in local newspapers and shop windows for properties to rent.
- Use online search engines to find property to rent. You can access the internet for free in the Woolwich and Eltham Centre libraries.
You can look for a private rented property in the borough or outside it. When you are looking for a property, you must make sure that you can pay the rent. If you find a property, talk to a housing adviser and they will check whether the rent is affordable. You must speak to an adviser before signing anything or handing over any money to the landlord.
The rent must not be more than the current Local Housing Allowance (LHA), and this is the case whether or not you are claiming Housing Benefit.
The LHA for a property is based on the area the property is in and your household size, and is the maximum amount of help you can get towards paying your rent. LHA will not cover the rent if the property is larger than you and your household need, so remember this when you are looking for properties.
Finding a property through HACTRAC
The HACTRAC team can help find accommodation for some people, and we may offer you a property if one becomes available.
Generally, we only offer one property to view, which will be suitable for your household but could be in any area. Private rented accommodation is in short supply so if you refuse the one we offer you to view, we are unlikely to look for any more properties for you.
Condition of the property
If we find a property in the borough for you, we will inspect it to make sure it meets our standards. We will not inspect any properties outside the borough of Greenwich or any properties you find yourself.
Therefore, if you find a property yourself, you must make sure it is safe and meets your requirements. If the property needs repairs, you must make sure the landlord does the work before you sign the tenancy agreement.
The tenancy agreement for the property will be between you and the landlord. Tenancies are usually for six months, sometimes for a year. Many landlords will agree to a tenant staying longer in the same property if the tenant has not caused any problems.
Sometimes, at the end of the tenancy, we can renew the deposit guarantee, but we will only consider doing this if you have managed the tenancy well. We will check with the landlord whether you have caused any damage to the property or nuisance to neighbours, or have allowed rent arrears to build up. We can only renew the deposit guarantee if the property is within the borough of Greenwich.
Can I move to another property on the scheme?
If the home you moved into under HACTRAC is no longer what you need, you may be able move to another property on the scheme. You must discuss this with a housing adviser first.
How do I get referred to HACTRAC?
You can speak to an adviser at the Housing Options service. The adviser will assess your situation and tell you if you can be accepted on to the scheme.
You can also contact the HACTRAC team for advice.