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.
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.
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.