What is the Deposit Guarantee Scheme?
The deposit guarantee scheme was set up to help people who are homeless, or threatened with homelessness, and unable to raise the deposit necessary to secure private rented accommodation.
The deposit guarantee scheme is a written agreement and represents a deposit equal to the value of one month's rent. The deposit usually covers damage or rent arrears incurred by the tenant for the duration of their tenancy, up to the value on the agreement.
In the event that a landlord needs to make a claim against the deposit guarantee at the end of the tenancy, the tenant will be required to repay this money to us.
Who is eligible for this scheme
The deposit guarantee scheme is offered at the discretion of the Homelessness Officers on a case by case basis. The applicant must firstly meet all of the following criteria:
- Be homeless or threatened with homelessness;
- Have a local connection with the Tendring district;
- Be unable to raise a deposit through other means;
- Be able to live independently and maintain a tenancy.
Who is not eligible for this scheme?
The deposit guarantee scheme will not be offered to people who:
- Have previously had a deposit guarantee which has been claimed upon, unless the debt has been repaid.
- Are subject to immigration control under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996.
- Are homeless intentionally and have no priority need.
- Are able to raise the deposit themselves.
- Are moving into a shared house where they have only been granted with a licence and not an assured shorthold tenancy.
Deposit Guarantee Agreement
The deposit guarantee agreement is a legal document that needs to be signed by the landlord, the tenant and us before the tenant moves into the property. A signed copy of the agreement must be returned to the Housing Options Team for the deposit guarantee to be valid.
If the tenant moves in before the deposit guarantee has been approved, we cannot provide cover under the scheme.
Once a deposit guarantee agreement is in place it cannot be transferred, at any time, to another property.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
Since 6 April 2007 all landlords or letting agents have been required by law to place cash deposits, for assured shorthold tenancies, in a government-authorised tenancy deposit scheme.
The deposit guarantee scheme is exempt from the above, because it is a written guarantee and no money is passed to the landlord when the tenant moves into the accommodation.
Finding suitable / affordable accommodation
If you have been offered the deposit guarantee scheme by your homelessness officer, the next step is to find a property with a landlord who is willing to accept the scheme.
The property you find must be affordable and we will need to see that you can meet the rental payments, either through your own income, or with the assistance of local housing allowance.
A deposit guarantee will not be agreed on certain types of shared accommodation or accommodation that we assess as being too large for your requirements.
Before a deposit guarantee can be agreed on a property we will need to be provided with photographs of the property. It may also be necessary for environmental health officers to carry out a health and safety inspection on the property.
What if the landlord claims on the deposit?
The deposit guarantee scheme will allow the landlord to submit a claim, once the tenancy has ended, to offset losses caused through rent arrears and/or damage caused to the property.
The landlord can only claim up to the amount that is written on the deposit guarantee agreement, which is typically equivalent to one month's rent.
If a claim from a landlord is substantiated, and we pay money to the landlord, the tenant will be responsible for the repayment of this sum to us.
It is therefore in the best interest of people who have a deposit guarantee to ensure that they do not accumulate rent arrears, and, if the time comes for them to leave the property, it is left in the same condition that it was in when they took on the tenancy.
Advice and Information
If you require any further information please contact:
- Housing Options Team, Tendring District Council, Town Hall, Station Road, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO15 1SE.
- Telephone: 01255 686438, 686444, 686445, 686446
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org