Rent deposits and other costs

To rent in the private sector you will normally have to pay a deposit, you may also need to pay rent in advance and fees, and you may need to buy essential furniture. It can be difficult to get all the money together to make these types of payments.

If you receive benefits you may be able to obtain a budgeting loan to cover the rent in advance and the cost of furniture.

The Council's New-tenancy Finance Scheme can otherwise help people in urgent housing need with these costs. However you should not just assume the scheme can help you; find out first.

The New-Tenancy Finance Scheme

The scheme can help people in urgent housing need which means if:

  • you are homeless or threatened with homelessness (as assessed by Housing Options) or
  • you have been served notice seeking possession or notice of repossession proceedings, or
  • you are leaving temporary supported housing within East Staffordshire, or
  • the Council has served a Prohibition Order or an Improvement Notice on your home which requires you to move, or
  • you are in Band 1 or Band 2 on the East Staffordshire Housing Register and the move would alleviate your housing need.

and

  • you have a local connection to East Staffordshire, which means you are or have been normally resident in the Borough for 6 of the last 12 months or 3 of the last 5 years, or you have established non-casual employment in the Borough, or you have a parent, adult child, brother or sister living in the Borough, and
  • you are unable to afford all the costs of taking on a new tenancy, and
  • you are not excluded by other criteria which exist to limit the risks to the Council

The scheme cannot help you if you just want to set up your own home or to move home out of choice. If the scheme cannot help, you may need to save before you move. If you save with a Credit Union then after a few months you may be able to borrow the rest of the money you need to fund your move. See Money Spider Credit Union.

How does the scheme help

The scheme helps by providing:

  • a loan
  • a loan and a Bond
  • just a Bond

Loans

Housing Options will assess whether you are likely to be able to afford a loan. If you are, they give you a voucher which you take to Money Spider Credit Union who then assess how much money you can afford to borrow. Subject to this assessment you can borrow to pay the following costs:

  • a deposit of one month's rent plus £100
  • one month's rent in advance
  • reasonable agent's fees
  • a package of basic furniture

The rent on the property will need to be affordable. If you will need to rely on benefits it will need to be within the Local Housing Allowance you are entitled to - see Help with rent.

Bonds

A Bond may be offered if you cannot afford to borrow the cost of a deposit. It is a three-way agreement between you as tenant, the landlord and the Council. The Council undertakes to pay the landlord for losses of up to one month's rent plus £100 which the landlord would otherwise keep from a deposit. If the Council makes a payment to the landlord it will pursue you for the cost.

A Bond lasts up to 2 years, during which time you need to save a small regular amount with a credit union so that you can then borrow the rest of the money you need to pay a deposit once the Bond ends.

Bonds can only be provided for a property which meets the following criteria:

  • If the landlord agrees to accept a Bond instead of a deposit
  • Which has the number of bedrooms you are entitled to under Local Housing Allowance rules.
  • If the rent is within the Local Housing Allowance for that size of property - see help with rent
  • With no outstanding Hazard Awareness Notices or Improvement Notices.
  • Which has an Energy Performance Certificate rating of E or higher as verified by a copy of the certificate received by Housing Options.
  • For which a copy of the current Gas Safety Certificate has been received by Housing Options.
  • For which the draft tenancy agreement has been received by Housing Options.
  • If a visual inspection of the property by Housing Options or otherwise by the Council, once the above criteria have been satisfied, does not identify any concerns, including there being adequate controllable heating.

How to find out whether the scheme can help you

If you think the scheme might be able to help you contact Housing Options.

If you will need help from the scheme, do not take any decisions, make any payments, or commit to a tenancy before help has been agreed.