What if I do not have money for a deposit?

If you don’t have money for a deposit there may be a bond or rent guarantee scheme in your area that can help you, or you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment from your local council.

How do I find a local bond scheme?

Not all areas of the country have a bond or rent guarantee scheme but many do. They are usually run by the local council, a housing association or a charity.

The Crisis Help to Rent database lists some schemes, but it’s worth checking with your local council as well because many other schemes are available. Find your local council here.

Will they help me?

Different bond and rent guarantee schemes have different rules. For example, there may be a limit on how big a deposit they can help with, and some will only help certain groups of people (such as young people or people on benefits). Some schemes may also have a list of participating landlords who have properties available.

What happens to the money?

Rent guarantee or bond scheme

Most schemes work by providing a written guarantee to your landlord to cover any losses due to unpaid rent or damage. No money actually changes hands.

When your tenancy ends, your landlord can ask the scheme-provider to pay for damage you caused or rent you didn’t pay. You will then normally be asked to repay the money to the scheme.

Your landlord doesn’t have to register any guarantee with a tenancy deposit scheme.

Rent deposit scheme

Some schemes may offer loans for you to pay over to the landlord as a deposit. Usually, the scheme lends you the money in advance and you pay it back over a period of time from your wages or benefits. If there are no problems, you should get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

If you have an assured shorthold tenancy, the deposit you pay from the loan must be protected by a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

Discretionary housing payments (DHP)

If you receive, or are entitled to, housing benefit or Universal Credit (UC) housing costs, you can apply to your local council for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) for help with the cost of your deposit. A DHP is an extra payment to help people who are struggling with their housing costs. To apply for a DHP use the tool on our advice page here.

More help with housing costs

If you are struggling to pay for other housing costs, take a look at our page on Cash in a Crisis, which has lots of helpful advice.

If you are under 25, take a look at our Setting up your first home advice page, specifically put together for young people.

Other pages in paying for housing

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline

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