The cost of renting a property starts even before tenants move in. Some of the basic costs include advance payment, rent deposit and holding deposit.
Advance payment is an optional payment depending on the mutual agreement between landlord and tenant and documented in the tenancy agreement. In this case, tenants may pay up to 2 to 3 months’ rent in advance.
A rent deposit is an amount worth 4 to 5 weeks of your rent that is kept as a deposit with the landlord and returned to you when you vacate their premises. It serves as a guarantee in case of any damage to property by the tenant or compensates in case of missing payments.
A holding deposit is paid with the intention of reserving a property until the tenancy agreement is signed.
Can Council Help With Deposit?
Yes, local councils can help with deposits by offering you a rent deposit scheme or a rent guarantee scheme. These are convenient options to make deposit payments convenient for those individuals who are either on low-income or are facing financial challenges in meeting their living expenses.
Through a rent deposit scheme, financial aid is extended to those who are unable to afford a rent deposit. The applicant receives the entire amount in advance and repays it in instalments.
A rent guarantee scheme provides a written guarantee to your landlord confirming your inability to make an immediate cash deposit and your commitment to pay the amount over a period of time. If the tenant is unable to pay this amount as per the date committed, the guarantor of the rent guarantee scheme is liable to make payment on their behalf. For this, the tenant might have to pay a nominal fee to the guarantor over the period of the guarantee.
However, in most cases, individuals facing homelessness or in dire need to leave their previous homes into a new one will be favoured for such schemes.
In some cases, individuals may be able to receive funds for tenancy deposits through a homelessness prevention fund or social services. Additionally, councils may be able to arrange grants through charities to help those who need financial assistance.
There is also the option of Discretionary Housing Payments extended through local councils. Being at the discretion of council offices, these are one time, non-refundable amounts for residents claiming Housing Benefits or Universal Credit and may be used to make payments for the following:
- Rent not covered by benefits
- Tenancy deposits
- Advance rent
- Removal costs
Since each council runs their own schemes, you should seek guidance from your local council office to learn about the options available in your area.
To learn more about the role of councils, we will try to explore the following areas:
- What Is A Deposit Replacement Scheme?
- Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?
- Can Council Help With Moving Costs?
- Can Council Help With Household Essentials?
- Can Council Help With Carpets?
- Can Council Help With Rats?
- Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?
What Is A Deposit Replacement Scheme?
A deposit replacement scheme gives tenants the option to make alternate payments instead of the tenancy deposit. They have the option to:
- Make a one-time lump sum payment instead of their tenancy deposit. This amount is lesser than the deposit and non-returnable at the time of leaving the premises at the end of the tenancy agreement.
- Pay an extra amount on top of the monthly rent. This is also a non-refundable amount and will not be considered to cover the costs of potential damage to property when the tenant leaves the premises at the end of their term.
Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?
Yes, councils can help with rent arrears in many ways such as repayment plans of easy instalments. Additionally, claimants who are also on benefits in addition to availing a council house will find it easier to seek easy payment plans from their councils or social housing landlords. For instance, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may simply have your payments transferred to for payment of your rent through Direct Debit or a Standing Order.
If this is not a workable solution as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not account for the entire amount of your rent, you may apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is extra money provided by your local council to meet your rent payments or arrears (if you have any). You are not required to return this amount to the council. If you are on Housing Credit or Universal Credit, you can ask your local council for a DHP form. Find your local council here.
If you are struggling with living expenses, you can try Reducing your living costs through your council’s assistance.
Can Council Help With Moving Costs?
Yes, councils can help with moving costs. They have certain allowances available with them to extend financial aid in the form of grants or loans to those who are in need and qualify.
At times, they may be able to arrange a Discretionary Housing Payment, which is a one time grant extended to cover the costs of housing.
Applicants claiming Universal Credit may apply for a “budgeting advance”. This is an interest-free loan that aims to cover the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.
Find your local council to learn about the offers that they may be able to make depending on your circumstances.
Can Council Help With Household Essentials?
Yes, local authorities can assist with household essentials for their tenants. While councils may not directly pay for the furniture or home equipment that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all.
Residents who are on low-income and unable to afford living essentials such as furniture, household equipment may be able to find help in the following ways (in addition to council’s assistance):
- Social landlord
- Grant giving organisation
- Second-hand furniture seller
- Affordable credit
Can Council Help With Carpets?
No, councils do not help with the provision of carpets for residents of council houses. However, if you inform your local authorities that you need carpets for your council house, they will be able to connect you to certain charities to help you find grants for furniture and carpets, while some of them may offer preloved items including carpets at reasonable prices.
However, local authorities can assist with household essentials for their tenants. While councils may not directly pay for the furniture or home equipment that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all.
Can Council Help With Rats?
If you are a private tenant, it depends upon your tenancy agreement whether the liability for pest/rodent control falls upon the landlord or the tenant.
In case you live in a council house, pest control in the surrounding areas of the council remains the responsibility of the council itself. However, pest management within the household depends upon your situation. While councils are not committed to providing pest control services, you should inform them of such a situation and seek their guidance on how to proceed with its management.
In some cases, councils may be able to connect you to reliable and affordable pest management providers. In exceptional cases, they may be able to manage the expense as well. It is advisable to Report a pest problem to your council office as soon as you detect it.
Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?
Applicants will need to check with their local councils whether a place of residence will be chosen and assigned by the council or the residents be given the option to choose. In the case of the latter, once the application is approved, the local council may share an online platform where the process of “bidding” takes place.
If a candidate finds a suitable home and prefers it as their residence, they may inform the council of their intent by applying for it online. This is called “bidding”. The council may then direct them on how to proceed with the next steps in the bidding process.
A bid is merely a show of interest from the candidates’ side and does not guarantee that they may be assigned the premises. Depending upon the priority band and the time taken as part of the waiting list, the council decides whether the property is to be assigned as a housing facility to the bidding candidate or not.
In some cases, should candidates not approve of the housing facility assigned by the local council, they have the option of refusing it. However, too many refusals may lead to removal from the waiting list.
Not only can councils help with deposits, but they can also suggest alternatives if an applicant does not qualify for local council schemes. From Discretionary Housing Payments for those claiming benefits to rent deposit schemes to connecting applicants to charities and arranging grants, there are a number of options available for financial assistance for those struggling to meet their living expenses.
FAQs: Can Council Help With Deposit?
Can deposits be covered by rent?
Since deposits serve as a guarantee of return of the property to the landlord and that too with no damage, it is highly unlikely that landlords would favour that desports cover rent. However, should a tenant not be able to pay their last month’s rent, they may discuss this possibility with their landlords.
Can you negotiate rent deposit?
Yes, you can negotiate this amount with your landlord. However, it usually up to 5 weeks of rental payment which is returned to tenants when they vacate the premises.
Can the council force me to private rent?
While they may not force anyone to rent privately, councils, at times, do make arrangements for those who are on low-income or homeless through paying their rent deposit and monthly rent in advance for a rented property.
Can Universal Credit help with a deposit for a house?
If you are claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefits, you can apply for Discretionary Housing Benefit to help you with housing costs, including a deposit for a house.
What reasons can a landlord keep my deposit?
Your landlord can claim your deposit if you owe them rent, you’ve broken inventory (including cutlery items) or you’ve caused damage to their property.