Rent Deposit Scheme - Information for Tenants

The Rent Deposit Scheme is a discretionary scheme operating to prevent homelessness for applicants who are threatened with homelessness within 28 days. The council recognises that there are extremely high levels of housing need within the borough and is aware of the important role of the private sector in addressing this need.
The council can advance a deposit and rent in advance on behalf of an applicant. The deposit and rent in advance is a loan and must be repaid to the council.

Who is eligible?

Applicants who are eligible are those in priority need, homeless or threatened with homeless within 28 days. The size and composition of your family will need to be considered.

You will not be eligible if you have an outstanding debt to any council or social landlord.

How does the scheme work?

  1. If you are threatened with homelessness within 28 days and are unable to find your own solution, you will need to approach the council for advice.
  2. The council will need to complete investigations into your application i.e. be satisfied that you are threatened with homelessness and have no outstanding debt.
  3. If the council is satisfied that you are eligible, we can assist you in finding a suitable property. The council will advise you of the size accommodation you would be eligible for and the rent level you should be looking at. You will be expected to find your own accommodation.
  4. Once a property has been found the Council will need to check that that the property is suitable for you given your income and household size.  If the property is deemed suitable and meets health and safety standards, a meeting will be arranged at the property for the land lord or agent, applicant and a Council Officer.
  5. At the meeting an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement will be signed - minimum of  6 months, you will also be asked to sign the Rent Deposit Agreements outlining your payment arrangements.
  6. If you are eligible for housing benefit you are responsible for managing this and will be required to submit a housing benefit application as a private sector priority.
  7. If you are a housing register applicant you will be required to update your application.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I get assistance for agency fees and or moving costs? The council cannot assist with agency fees or moving costs.  The maximum the council can assist you with is the cost of deposit and rent in advance. 

How quickly could I move in? Once the property has been found an appointment will be made to visit the property with the landlord/letting agent and prospective tenant. The loan agreement and tenancy will be signed and the payment is made directly to the landlord/letting agent. This can occur very quickly i.e. within a week.

What happens if there is a difference between the rent and the amount HB will pay? If there is a shortfall the council will not be able to lend you the money. If you experience problems finding an affordable property, the council will be able to assist you in this.

What happens if I cause damage or accrue rent arrears? If you cause damage to the property, the landlord may be able to retain some or all of the deposit. If a claim is made, a council officer will visit the property with the landlord to go through the inventory with them to confirm the damage. Photographs may be taken. However, the landlord will not be able to claim for general wear and tear.
If you leave the property owing rent, the landlord may be able to retain some or all of the deposit.
If money is retained by the landlord, you will then be liable to repay this money to the council.
If an applicant has any debt to the council they will not be considered for permanent housing until such a time as the applicant clears the debt in full or makes an agreement to repay it and maintains this agreement for a continued period until the debt has reached a level which the council has agreed to.

I am worried about having problems with Housing Benefit. How can the council help? The council will fast track housing benefit claims for those assisted via the scheme, for properties within their borough.
You will be responsible for providing all the information requested by the HB department.