Help to Buy and private rented accommodation

Help to Buy

If you want to purchase a home of your own, but can't afford to buy on the open market, Help to Buy could be your way onto the property ladder. The Government has created the Help to Buy scheme to help you take your first steps into home ownership.

There are a number of Help to Buy products designed to make buying a home more affordable. You could buy a home using one of the home ownership options, such as shared ownership or help to buy equity loan scheme.

In order to apply for any Help to Buy product you must register with the Help to Buy Agent. Help to Buy Agents were previously known as Homebuy Agents. They are housing associations appointed by the Homes & Communities Agency as a one stop shop and point of contact for people looking for affordable homes to buy in their area. Bpha is the Help to Buy Agent for both Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils.

You can access further information on all Help to Buy products buy downloading a copy of the Help to Buy Guide or at

Phone: 03333 214044

Email: (public enquiries)

Private rented accommodation

Many landlords advertise and manage their properties through letting agents. They usually charge one full month’s rent in advance and a deposit as part of the agreement to begin a tenancy. Agents may charge a fee for their services and may require you to agree to them carrying out a credit check which they will also charge for.

Fact Sheet 4 - Costs of privately renting

WSLP cannot assist with the fee that agents charge, as this is non-refundable if you fail credit referencing.

There are many useful websites that advertise properties including:

Fact Sheet 1 - Where can I find homes to rent

If you are entitled to housing benefit to assist the rent payments, you should make sure that the rent is affordable by checking the Local Housing Allowance rates for the area and property size.

Fact Sheet 3 - LHA rate

The Bury St Edmunds rate covers most of West Suffolk apart from the Newmarket and Haverhill areas that attracts the higher Cambridge rate. Anything that isn't covered by housing benefit will come out of your own income. More information about LHA and entitlement.

West Suffolk Lettings Partnership (WSLP)


The West Suffolk Lettings Partnership aims to bring together landlords and agents with tenants who need accommodation, including those waiting for social housing. We can help private landlords maximize the earning potential of their homes by providing a range of services such as:

  • offering you a choice of who your property is let to. Fact Sheet 14 - Tenant finding service
  • providing a deposit bond for the length of the tenancy. Fact Sheet 5 - Deposit bonds
  • assisting with Local Housing Allowance enquiries and the setting up of direct payment to you
  • setting up tenancy agreements
  • providing a full photographic inventory prior to your property being let
  • advice with any tenancy queries you may have.

Guaranteed Rent Scheme

If you are looking for tenants to occupy your property and want a guaranteed rent then please contact our Private Lettings Co-Ordinator on 01284 757637 for further details. Alternatively please see our Fact Sheet 15 - Guaranteed rent scheme


West Suffolk Lettings Partnership offers tenants a deposit bond. The aim of the deposit bond is to help people access the private rented sector across West Suffolk. Fact Sheet 5 - Deposit bonds

Fact Sheet 2 - Letting agents lists the local agents and states if they will consider the WSLP Deposit bond. Those that consider the deposit bond may also consider people on Housing Benefit.

To be eligible for this service you must be:

  • homeless or threatened with homelessness or have a housing need
  • in receipt of housing benefit or eligible for housing benefit or on a low income
  • local to the West Suffolk area with an established local connection
  • able to afford the monthly rental payments. An Income and Expenditure Sheet (Fact Sheet 7) will need to be completed together with proof of income and bank statements if you rent a property above the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates - Fact Sheet 3

West Suffolk Lettings Partnership may also be able to help with the firsts months Rent in Advance - Fact Sheet 11. This is via Anglia Revenue Partnerships, who administer the LHA on behalf of the council. you will need to be eligible to claim housing benefit and through WSLP, may be able to make a claim for discretionary housing payment to cover this.

For any further advice or assistance please contact the WSLP Coordinator on 01284 757637 or email