The councils of Conwy and Denbighshire have partnered to help their citizens gain access to affordable rental housing. They lend their support to the charity Nacro which administers the Conwy and Denbighshire Bond Scheme.
The purpose of the scheme is to expand access to private rental housing to those who can afford it, but cannot necessarily come up with the additional funds required for rent deposit. It solves a huge affordability obstacle to boost occupancy rates and reduce homelessness.
Applicants who are approved may choose any private home that meets guidelines of affordability, cleanliness and safety. Landlords may agree to accept a bond certificate guaranteed by council government in lieu of a cash deposit.
There are situations where a landlord initially refuses to accept the bond. Nacro can contact the landlord on behalf of a prospective tenant to negotiate acceptance of a bond so that a new tenancy can be approved. Landlords are not obligated to consent, though many do to reduce vacancies.
One of the primary focuses of Nacro involves the resettlement of citizens who have previously exhibited poor social behaviour. Offenders receive counselling on substance abuse, education on independent living and training towards job skills. With the support of staff, participants can settle into a stable residential situation where they can focus on steady employment and self-sufficiency.
Nacro actively focuses on helping those who are technically homeless. Many have been staying with friends or family on a temporary basis. Some have been living at hostels or even in their car in recent days. Clients include those who lost their jobs, left the military, had their homes repossessed or who went through a divorce or relationship breakdown.
Since both Conwy and Denbighshire Councils have mandates to provide temporary housing to curb homelessness, these residents are also of particular importance. The goal is to get all homeless persons who are able to afford private housing into a permanent housing arrangement.
The bond essentially protects landlords from damages incurred during a tenancy. If walls or floors are damaged, or if an appliance is broken, a claim may be made in accordance with the bond to cover those costs. Arrears can also be claimed against the bond. Claims may be up to the full amount of the bond as long as they are documented and substantiated. Most bonds are written to cover an amount equal to four weeks rent. There are no interest charges or fees owed by tenants or landlords to access the scheme.
People who live in either Conwy or Denbighshire may first contact the Housing Options team at their council:
- Conwy County Borough Council provides a Housing Options and Support Team. Residents may call 01492 576271.
- Denbighshire County Council Housing Options is available at 0300 4561000.
Referrals from council or other aid organisations are recommended. Residents who self-refer may call Nacro directly at 01745 361728. In-person sessions are available at the offices on Clwyd Street in Rhyl.
Tenants who are granted bond approval are then encouraged to save money through regular deposits. Bonds are intended to last for six months, with the balance of savings expected to cover rent deposit from that point forth. Landlords are still protected by the bond even though tenants have not saved the full amount during the first six months of the tenancy.
The rent deposit bond scheme is paid for by Conwy County Borough Council, Denbighshire County Council and the Welsh Assembly Government.