What if I do not have money for a security deposit?

If you don’t have money for a security 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 security 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?

Bond ‘guarantee’ schemes

Most schemes work by providing a written guarantee to your landlord to cover any losses due to unpaid rent or damage. When your contract ends, your landlord can ask the scheme-provider to pay for damage you caused or rent you didn’t pay.

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

No money actually changes hands in a guarantee scheme. Some schemes offer a guarantee for the duration of your contract, but most schemes only provide a guarantee for a specific period of time (e.g. 2 years). If the guarantee is only for a certain time, you may have to make small payments towards a deposit. Once you have built up enough payments you will then be able to pay this sum to the landlord as a security deposit. The bond scheme will end the guarantee once your landlord receives the security deposit. The deposit must then be protected in a deposit protection scheme.

Bond loan schemes

Some schemes may offer loans for you to pay over to the landlord as a security 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 occupation contract.

If you have a standard occupation contract, the deposit you pay from the loan must be protected by a 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

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an adviser
email us

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This page was last updated on: May 17, 2023

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.