Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the elements involved in renting a house and don’t quite understand it all?

We know the process can be confusing and there could be changes you haven’t considered when planning your budget.

So we’ve created this blog to help you prepare for the new financial year with some financial tips for renters.

Why Are We Talking About This?

As you may already know, there are some changes coming to council tax in April 2023 for Hartlepool Borough Council as they increase payments by 4.9%.

But don’t worry, this won’t affect you until April as this is when your new council tax bill will be posted.

There has also been a government announcement containing the new benefit amounts for the 2023/24 financial year.

You can check the new amounts here.

We understand that renting can be costly and it’s really important that you take into account these costs when planning your budget for the year.

What Is Council Tax?

If you don’t know what council tax is or why everyone who lives in a house has to pay it, essentially the money you pay contributes to the council’s efforts in things like street lighting, road repair, and rubbish collection.

Council tax charges are in a band system, typically band A properties will be the cheapest, and band H is the most expensive. You can see what your property’s council tax band is here.

How Can I Get Help With My Council Tax?

If you’re struggling with your council tax bill, there are some things you could try.

If you’re in receipt of universal credit or struggling financially you may be able to claim council tax support.

You can check your eligibility and apply through the Hartlepool Council Tax Support web page in the link below.

Check My Eligibility For Council Tax Support

What Is Bedroom Tax?

If you don’t already know, bedroom tax is classed as unoccupied rooms in your home. This can result in a decrease in your housing benefit or universal credit

You will be subject to the bedroom tax if all of the following apply to you:

  • You are over the age of 16 and under the State Pension age
  • You receive the Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit
  • You rent your property from a local authority or housing association
  • You have what is considered a spare bedroom, even if you use it for another purpose, such as a study or office.

If you are one of the people who have to pay bedroom tax, your benefit deductions will depend on how many spare rooms you have.

One spare room will see your Housing Benefit or housing payment of Universal Credit reduced by 14%, while two or more spare rooms will cut it by 25%.

How Can I Get Help With Bedroom Tax?

If you’re subject to bedroom tax, claim DHP or you need an extra room, you can try to claim social size criteria (SSC) by calling the council’s benefits department on 01429 284188.

You can also find out more about making a claim for bedroom tax by clicking the link below.

Find Out More About Bedroom Tax Here.

Bonus Tips! – Is Your Benefit Correct?

#1 Are You Receiving The Right Amount Of Benefit?

If you’re struggling to find the money to pay your council tax or you think your benefits have changed, it’s worth checking on the government benefits calculator.

You can access the government benefits calculator here.

#2 Are You Entitled To Benefit?

If you don’t currently claim benefits, you could be entitled to some of them like universal credit or housing benefit which can help you with taxes like bedroom tax and council tax.

You can also check if you are eligible for government help with the benefits calculator here.

Or click here for how to claim universal credit.

#3 Do you Have A Rent Shortfall?

If you’re struggling with your rent and you have a shortfall, you can try to claim a ‘top-up’ if you are in receipt of housing benefit or universal credit.

This is called a Discretionary Housing Payment and you can see if you’re eligible through the link below.

Check My Eligibility For Discretionary Housing Payment.

Are You Looking For A New Rental Home?

If you’re on the lookout for a new rental home because yours is too small or the landlord doesn’t take your maintenance requests seriously but you haven’t found the perfect one yet, you’re in luck!

We have affordable, spacious homes becoming available all the time that are perfect for couples, single people, and families, we have something for everyone!

If you want to be the first to know about our properties becoming available, fill in our VIP Tenant Application form below and a member of our team will be in contact to help you with your search.

Fill In Our VIP Tenant Application Form HERE.

Other Free Resources For Renters

Read Our Blog – What Are White Goods? – And How You Can Get Them

Read Our Blog – First Time Renters In Hartlepool – How Much Rent Can I Afford?

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