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First Steps

Before signing any agreement, please make sure that you can afford the rent and bills, and check your rights and responsibilities: visit

  • Find out if any friends or relatives are prepared to let you stay temporarily
  • Let friends, family and colleagues know that you are looking for somewhere to live. They may know or hear of suitable accommodation for you
  • Look on Social Media, shop windows, supermarket notice boards and websites all sometimes advertise privately rented properties
  • Register with letting agents and leave a name and contact number even if they don't have any accommodation straight away. You can also register on-line with some agencies such as Rightmove, Zoopla or Open Rent
  • Landlords may require a guarantor, ask relatives and close friends if they are able to be a guarantor for you
  • Register on the housing waiting list - online at Gateway to Homechoice to make an application for social housing available within the local authority areas of Babergh, Braintree, Colchester, Ipswich, Maldon, Mid Suffolk, East Suffolk
  • If you are threatened with, or are homeless, you may be offered a personal interview, usually by telephone with a member of the housing options team
  • Help to Buy. Whether you are looking to get on or move up the housing ladder, there are a number of Help to Buy products designed to make buying a home more affordable, including shared ownership, new build and re-sales and equity loans. bpha are delivering this service on behalf of the Homes and Communities Agency in the East and South East of England
  • For information about all aspects of renting a home, and how to avoid common pitfalls see