One of our key fostering criteria is that all our foster carers must have a spare bedroom to foster. But what about those who live in rented homes? Can you foster if you rent a house?
It is important to know that as long as you have a spare bedroom available, whether or not you own your home will not directly preventing you from becoming a foster carer. However, there will be a few things that we – and you – need to take into consideration when it comes to fostering while renting.
Read on to learn more about fostering while renting, including how it may impact your eligibility as a foster carer and your overall fostering experience.
Fostering while renting
While fostering is possible if you rent your home, there are a few key things we would need to consider before approving you as a foster carer.
One of the most important things we need to obtain is permission from your landlord or housing association. We will contact your landlord or housing association during the early stages of your Assessment process to make sure they are comfortable with you fostering on the property premises.
However, we recommend you contact you landlord prior to this to discuss your interest in fostering. This is to make sure they are happy with the idea of you fostering before you begin our Assessment process, as we cannot approve applicant’s whose landlords or housing associations do not grant them permission to foster.
The importance of stability
Many of our foster children come from unstable backgrounds, and may have experienced trauma, such as abuse or neglect, prior to coming into care. Above all else, our priority is ensuring that our children are given a safe, supportive, and stable environment within which they can thrive.
This means that, for renters who are considering fostering, you must be able to prove that you can provide a stable and consistent environment for a child. You should be planning to remain in your current home, should have no rent arrears, and should not be at risk of eviction.
Lodgers or roommates
If you’re applying to foster while renting alongside a lodger or roommate, we also need to include them in the Assessment process, depending on their living situation.
If your lodger or roommate shares any communal spaces with you, such as the kitchen, living room or bathroom, they will be considered a fixed part of the fostering household, and will require their own individual background checks. Although they will not be required to be actively involved in your fostering journey, your roommate or lodger will need to consent to a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) and LA (Local Authority) check, to ensure they are suitable to be around a child.
If your lodger or roommate resides in an annex or live in accommodation that is separate to the house, checks may not be required. However, this is assessed on a case-by-case basis, as we understand that every situation is unique and requires a personalised approach.
If you have lodgers or roommates that stay at the property on a more temporary basis – meaning you’re likely to have multiple different people staying with you over a period of time – then this may also affect your chances of fostering. Each new lodger or roommate would also need to be assessed, which can make things complicated.
As we’ve mentioned, foster children need stability, consistency, and routine in order to thrive. Temporary lodgers or roommates might disrupt this and could have a negative impact on the child, which is why, if you have temporary roommates or lodgers, it’s likely you will not be approved to foster.
Suitability of the property
As with everything in the fostering process, the needs and requirements of our children are always placed at the forefront of the decision-making process.
To be considered for fostering, your accommodation will need to be suitable and meet the criteria for fostering. This includes having a spare bedroom that is spacious enough for the child to comfortably live in, as foster children cannot share bedrooms.
During your fostering assessment with us, we will conduct a thorough assessment of your home and living environment to make sure it suitable for a child. This includes finding out whether or not you own any pets, if you have a partner or if you’re single, and if you wish to continue working while fostering.
So, can you be a foster parent if you rent?
At Compass, we pride ourselves on seeing the potential in all our applicants. As long as you can provide a stable, loving and secure home for a foster child, it’s likely you’d make a great foster carer – regardless of whether you rent or own your home.