Can I foster a child if I rent, rather than own my home? It’s a question we’re asked a lot by prospective foster carers. In fact, 1 in 3 people believe that you can’t foster if you live in rented accommodation – but this simply isn’t the case.
In this guide, we answer common questions about the expectations and requirements of fostering, in the hope that we can clear up any doubts you may have about your eligibility to foster.
In short, yes. You don’t need to own your home to foster a child, and many of our foster carers are renters rather than homeowners. For many people, renting is a lifestyle choice and doesn’t reflect their circumstances or ability to take care of a child, so we don’t discriminate against those who rent their homes.
There are, however, certain criteria you’ll need to fulfil if you rent rather than own your home. Firstly, we need to make sure you have a secure, fixed tenancy, and that your financial situation is such that you can afford to keep up with your rent.
And secondly, each child you foster must have their own bedroom – so it may not be possible to foster if you live in a one-bedroom apartment, for instance. This is true for every foster carer, renters and homeowners alike, so is certainly something you should be aware of before applying to become a foster carer.
It doesn’t matter if your home is a detached house, a semi, terraced or a cottage – but it does need to be well maintained and appropriately decorated and furnished. This is true whether you rent or own your home, and in either case, you’re ultimately responsible for the appropriate upkeep, maintenance and cleanliness of your home, to ensure it’s always comfortable and welcoming for foster children.
One thing which is needed, though, is space for children to play both indoors and outside. Children will need a space to do homework and keep their clothes and belongings, so their bedroom will need to be of an ample size so that it’s comfortable for potentially long-term use.
If you rent a furnished home, you may need to invest in new furniture for your foster child. It’s unlikely that your landlord will help with the cost of this, so this may be something to consider when budgeting for foster care.
While it’s important that foster children have space to play indoors and out, not having your own garden will not automatically stop you from being able to foster. If you have a park nearby and can show that you will be making plenty of outings to there or other play areas, this will be taken into consideration.
We understand that many people who rent their homes live in flats and apartments with no access to a garden, so feel it would be unfair to prevent them from fostering on these grounds. However, if this is the case in your situation, you will need to take an active role in getting the children out the house, either by taking them to a local park or heading out on regular day trips.
Ready to take your first step towards fostering? Get in touch with our team today and we’ll be happy to help, or visit our homepage to find out more.