Fresh Start scheme

The Lewisham Fresh Start scheme enables Lewisham Council tenants to move into the private rented sector. It is a self-help scheme and applicants need to be proactive in looking for suitable properties in the private sector. 

Who is eligible to apply?

You are eligible to apply if you are: 

  • a Lewisham Homes tenant, or
  • registered on Lewisham's housing register as priority homeless, or
  • registered as an overcrowded applicant on Lewisham's housing register

You cannot apply if:

  • you have serious rent arrears
  • you have a history of neighbourhood dispute/antisocial behaviour

Lewisham Plus Credit Union Ltd (Sydenham branch)

You must be a member of the Lewisham Plus Credit Union in order for Lewisham to raise payments to your new landlord/estate agent.

What areas does the scheme cover?

You can move anywhere in the UK under the scheme. 

What support does the scheme provide?

Fresh Start provides support, advice, information and financial assistance to people who wish to move from their current Lewisham Council property. The package of financial support will vary according to whether your new tenancy will be in the private or social sector, but you may be eligible for:

  • one month’s rent in advance (up to local housing allowance levels)
  • a landlords deposit (equivalent to one month’s rent) in the form of a deposit bond
  • a possible contribution towards removal costs
  • a total grant up to a maximum of £2,650

If you are receiving benefit you must ensure that your local housing allowance entitlement covers the cost of your rent, if not you will be responsible to pay the shortfall.

If you are moving into private rented accommodation the landlord will need to provide us with:

  • gas and electrical safety certificates
  • an Energy Performance Certificate
  • confirmation that they or the letting agent is a member of a Government-preferred Rent Deposit Scheme

We require that you are given a minimum 1 year assured shorthold tenancy by your new landlord.

Please note that the Fresh Start scheme does not make you automatically eligible for council/housing association tenancies in other parts of the country.  You will need to check with each council to see if you meet their criteria and can be added to their housing register.

Check your local housing allowance and bedroom entitlement.

If you are on benefits make sure you know how you might be effected by the changes to the benefits system with the introduction of the benefit cap and universal credit.

If you want to apply for Fresh Start you can download an application form here and email it to   



Fresh Start
020 8314 8827


Swap your home for one that is better sized

Do you have a council or housing association home that is no longer the right size for you? Need help to find the right property within Lewisham? Come to a Trading Places mutual exchange event.

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