Tenants who are permanent residents of Bridgend are protected from homelessness by a scheme that can replace the traditional cash rent deposit. Guarantees are made by the Bridgend Bond Board to assist people who are referred by Bridgend Council or other housing assistance organisations.
The effort to facilitate new tenancies has had the double benefit of reducing vacancies amongst private landlords and helping local citizens obtain private housing when they might otherwise go homeless. To focus on this goal of facilitating new tenancies, Council partnered with a Welsh charity to create the Bridgend Bond Board. The Wallich provides the backing necessary to tenants who lack the funds to pay their own bond.
This scheme enables a citizen to move into a private home or flat in which they can afford the normal rent payment. While they may have enough in savings to pay the rent in advance, they may not have double that amount saved to cover the deposit. This is a common problem that affects a major portion of the local population.
Many landlords have already pledged their support to the scheme by accepting bond guarantee certificates instead of requiring only cash deposits. Some see the benefit of clearing vacancies sooner. Others enjoy avoiding the costs associated with tenant deposit protection. The main purpose of the scheme is to provide financial protection from damages or arrears caused by tenants.
Residents who participate enjoy getting into a place of their own without having to worry about temporary accommodation or staying with friends or relatives. The scheme helps them establish a new tenancy before they have been able to save the cash. Since temporary accommodation often costs more, many residents might never gain access to private housing without the scheme.
To request help, any citizen who has been a Bridgend resident for a substantial period of time may place an enquiry through one of the following contacts:
- The Bridgend Bond Board actually issues the bond certificate. It is located at 10 Park Street. Anyone may telephone 01656 654 442 to request additional information about the process or to schedule a meeting on site.
- Bridgend Council provides referrals for the scheme. Any resident who seeks advice through the Housing Options & Homelessness Prevention Service may request aid through the bond scheme. Appointments are available at the Civic Offices on Angel Street. Telephone is 01656 643512.
Either contact can provide the information needed to determine if the client is a candidate for the scheme. In some cases, a client may instead be referred for a budgeting loan from the Social Fund. These carry zero interest and can provide the cash needed to make a deposit along with the flexibility to repay over a period of up to two years.
If a bond guarantee is approved, tenants are expected to make small deposits over a period as long as two years depending on the length of the tenancy agreement. This allows residents to increase their savings, thereby eliminating the need to further participate in the scheme on subsequent tenancies.
Deposits are made into a savings account with Bridgend Lifesavers Credit Union. This nonprofit financial institution has partnered with The Wallich to make deposit accounts available to tenants. Enquiries about this Bond Saving Scheme may be made by telephoning the credit union at 01656 729912.
The results of the partnership have been good for the tenants and the landlords of this community. Homelessness is reduced, vacancies are down and many people are able to move beyond temporary accommodation. This is good for the taxpayer too, since a self-sufficient household no longer needs help from Council or social services.