Rent Deposit Scheme
The Housing Options Service operates a private sector rent deposit scheme to house people into the private rented sector.
Many private landlords advertise and manage their properties for rent through letting agents. They usually charge one month's full rent in advance and an additional one month as a deposit as part of the agreement to take on the tenancy. Agents often charge a fee for their services and are likely to require you to agree to them carrying out a credit check, which they will also charge for.
The council can advance a deposit and rent in advance to residents accepted onto the scheme who don't have the deposit and are on a low income or on benefits. The Council works with the Herts Credit Union to offer interest free loans for the rent in advance.
Applicants who are eligible are those that are homeless or threatened with homeless within 56 days. You will need to be a current resident of East Herts and have been so for at least one year or be permanently employed in East Herts for at least 16 hours for over one year.
You will not be eligible if you have an outstanding debt to the council or social landlord.
How the scheme works
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness within 28 days and are unable to find your own solution, you will need to approach the council for advice.
The council will need to complete investigations into your application i.e. be satisfied that you are threatened with homelessness and have no outstanding debt.
If the council is satisfied that you are eligible we will advise you of the size accommodation you would be eligible for and the rent level you should be looking at. You will be expected to find your own accommodation.
Once a property has been found the Council will need to check that that the property is suitable for you given your income and household size and ask for details of the landlord/letting agent.
If the property is suitable you will be asked to sign the Rent Deposit Agreement with the council and a loan agreement with the Herts Credit Union. You will also be advised of your payment arrangements. The council will either pay the landlord direct or make a cheque payable to the landlord. You will also have to sign agreement with the landlord for the tenancy of the property.
If you are a housing register applicant you will be required to update your application.
If you are eligible for housing benefit you are responsible for managing this and will be required to submit a housing benefit application as a private sector priority. If there is a difference between the rent and the amount of Housing Benefit you receive you will need to make up the shortfall.
Further details are available on our Housing Benefit page.
Moving and Agency Fees
We can assist with agency fees but not moving costs or holding fees.
Once the property has been found and the property is suitable an appointment will be made with you to sign to visit the loan agreement and check paperwork. Payment is made directly to the landlord/letting agent. This can occur very quickly i.e. within a week.
Damage and Rent Arrears
If you cause damage to the property, the landlord may be able to retain some or all of the deposit. If a claim is made, a council officer will visit the property with the landlord to go through the inventory with them to confirm the damage. Photographs may be taken. However, the landlord will not be able to claim for general wear and tear.
If you leave the property owing rent, the landlord may be able to retain some or all of the deposit.
If any money is retained by the landlord, you will then be liable to repay this money to the council.
Apply for the Rent Deposit Scheme
If you are interested in this as a housing option you should contact the Housing Options Service to discuss your current housing situation and to make an appointment. Please call 01279 655261 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.