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National Homeless Advice Service

Rent deposit, rent guarantee and cashless bond schemes

Additional financial support will be crucial for young people trying to find their first rented homes in the private rented sector. Without the safety net of friends and family, or a steady income, these young people may struggle to find deposits for flats.

Advisers can assist in directing young people to any local resources available to help improve access and prevent homelessness.

Financial support

Rent deposit schemes

Rent deposit schemes provide loans to tenants who need a cash deposit to secure a tenancy in the private sector. The loan is then paid back over a period of time from wages or benefits, with the tenant then having a deposit to carry forward to their next rented property (less any deposit deductions if appropriate).

The deposit can also be paid direct to the landlord.

Landlords/agents must place tenancy deposits paid on assured shorthold tenancies in a government-backed tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Rent guarantee and cashless bond schemes

In rent guarantee and cashless bond schemes, instead of paying a bond in advance, the scheme provider guarantees to cover any costs incurred from a tenancy, such as rent arrears or damages.

Deposit guarantees do not have to be registered in deposit protection schemes.

Rent in advance

Private landlords can ask for a month’s rent in advance. To assist young people in meeting this cost, some local authorities can provide an interest free loan equal to the first month’s rent. This would be paid directly to the landlord, and the tenant would then repay the loan a 12 to 24 month period, or over the duration of the tenancy.

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Access and eligibility

Access schemes are operated by local authorities or not-for profit and charitable organisations. Criteria may differ from region to region, but entry to these schemes will usually be restricted to vulnerable or low-income clients, or people who are threatened with homelessness. Young people who have rent arrears on previous tenancies or who have been served with an anti-social behaviour order might find it difficult to access these schemes.

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