Housing for young people - budgeting and bills

If you are living independently, it's not just your rent you need to pay, you will need to budget to make sure you can pay other costs such as gas or electric before you even think about anything else!  Each of the sections below will give you more details on the costs you will need to cover for that type of accommodation in the different areas.

Supported accommodation is provided by Riverside (Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven and Kendal) or Project John (Barrow).  

Whether or not you can claim benefits depends on your individual circumstances.  

Your local Youth Homeless and Housing Officer will talk this through with you.  If you are eligible to claim benefits, this often means your rent will be paid by Housing Benefit but in some schemes, you will have a personal charge to pay from your personal benefit (this may be between £5 and £20 per week).

If you're age 18 plus, single and claiming benefits, the most you are likely to be able to afford would be a room in a shared flat or house.  The more money you have coming in, perhaps from work or apprenticeship, the more options you have! How much rent you will have to pay will depend on where you want to live.

If it's a private tenancy you will need to consider a deposit, which is usually one month's rent plus another month's rent in advance.  Utility bills such as gas, electricity, water rates, TV licence and council tax, not to mention food, will have to take priority and will take up the majority of your money; if not all of it!  After all this, will you be able to afford to go out with your mates, pay for a phone, buy new clothes and other things you want?

Cumbria Choice Based Lettings (or council housing list) is a partnership of agencies and landlords who use the one website in order to advertise houses for rent.  These houses/flats are based over the whole of Cumbria.  Anyone who has been accepted onto the Cumbria Choice housing register is able to use this service.  To apply to join the housing register, you must be over 16 years of age.  You cannot however start to apply until 18 years of age unless circumstances dictate, ie if you are a young single parent.

You will need to complete an application form, which can be completed online or the paperwork can be got from collected from partner landlords.  Once accepted onto the register you can 'bid' for properties advertised on the website or in news sheets available at the offices of all partner landlords and local authorities.

For more information visit the Cumbria Choice website.