Can The Council Help With A Deposit For Private Rent?

Individuals with a low income tend to struggle with rental deposits, especially in the case of private rent. The aim of this blog post we aim to learn whether or not the council can help you with a deposit for private rent. We will explore the ways through which the council extends help to tenants in such cases as well as available alternate options. 

Can The Council Help With A Deposit For Private Rent?

Yes, the council can help tenants with a deposit for private rent. Primarily, they can do this in one of two ways:

  • a rent deposit scheme through which financial aid is extended to those who cannot afford a rent deposit. The applicant receives the entire amount in advance and repays it in instalments.
  • a rent guarantee scheme that provides a written guarantee to your landlord confirming your inability to make an immediate cash deposit and your commitment to pay the amount over some 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 throughout the guarantee. 

However, in most cases, the council will favour individuals facing homelessness or in dire need to leave their previous homes for a new one for such schemes.

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. You will be asked to provide copies of your bank statements, proof of income and savings to establish the extent of the financial assistance required from the council.

In addition to getting help from the council, if you are looking for support for a private rent deposit, you can also apply for grants or benefits (depending on your eligibility). For instance, if you are a UK resident on a low income with savings of less than £16,000, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. You can use these payments for your private rent deposit.

You can also look for private landlords who do not ask for a deposit when renting out their property. Guidance in this case is available through the Rightmove and Zoopla websites; as well as letting agents. If the aim is to avoid paying a deposit altogether, you can request a friend or family member to act as a guarantor on your behalf by taking responsibility for the fact that you will be making timely rental payments.

How Does The Council Help With A Deposit For Private Rent?

In addition to a rent deposit scheme and a rent guarantee scheme, there are some other ways through which the council helps with a deposit for private rent.

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

You can contact your council’s Discretionary Housing Payments scheme to apply for a DHP.

How Can I Get Help With A Deposit For Private Rent If I Claim Benefits?

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. 

If you claim any of the following benefits, you can apply for a budgeting loan to pay your deposit for private rent:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit

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.


The above discussion brings us to the conclusion that not only can the council help with deposits for private rent through different options but eligible tenants can also claim grants or benefits to get financial support.

FAQs: Can The Council Help With A Deposit For Private Rent?

What is the maximum deposit a landlord can charge?

The maximum deposit that a landlord can charge is 5 weeks’ rent whether you are assured shorthold tenants, students in halls of residence or lodgers. Your rent should be less than £4,167 per month.

Can the council give me a deposit?

The council helps tenants with deposits through the rent deposit and rent guarantee schemes.

How much is a holding deposit?

A holding deposit should not be more than a week’s rent for the property that you intend to reserve until you make the final payment of the deposit or any rental advance to the landlord.

Can deposits be covered by the 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 a 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.


Get help with renting costs – Citizens Advice.

Options if you cannot afford a deposit or rent in advance – Shelter England

Get financial help from Rent Deposit Schemes

What if I do not have money for a deposit?

Discretionary Housing Payment – What is Discretionary Housing Payment?