Powys residents who lack the savings to move into private rented sector housing can get help through two schemes that aid in rent deposits. A new tenancy can be possible despite the high costs to move in.
Bond Guarantee Scheme
The Powys Bond Board has the primary role of establishing new tenancies for residents that cannot afford to pay both the deposit down and advance rent. The Board has the task of encouraging landlords to approve an alternative arrangement for taking deposits.
Since no actual cash changes hands, landlords need to know that their interests will still be upheld if the tenancy fails. There are many reasons for this, which could include theft, vandalism or neglect. The most common reasons for claims made against deposits are to cover damages to the property or appliances and arrears. Not all charges are eligible for coverage by the Powys Bond Board.
The Powys Bond Guarantee Scheme provides a level of assurance that can mitigate the risks of renting to someone with an unknown rental history or credit rating. If there are damages to the premises, Council can reimburse the landlord for those costs.
A person who is struggling with homelessness or is about to be homeless can request that a landlord agree to accept a bond guarantee certificate in lieu of cash deposit. If they accept the idea, then an agreement will be negotiated on behalf of the tenant and the landlord by the Bond Board.
Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme
Council may approve a cash payment on behalf of a local resident if it is needed to establish a new tenancy. In some situations a landlord may be unwilling to accept a bond guarantee.
Some landlords want more discretion over what charges can be placed against an actual cash deposit at the end of the tenancy. Council can authorise a Discretionary Housing Payment to a landlord on an approved property that lies within the county. DHPs are normally associated with tenants in arrears, but Powys County Council decided that they can also be used for rent in advance, deposits and removal costs.
This budget is limited. Therefore many alternatives may be considered prior to approval of this option. If a payment is released to the landlord for deposit, remaining funds would be returned to Council at the end of the tenancy. Any charges against the deposit would be the responsibility of the tenant, and Council will expect to be repaid those amounts by the tenant.
How to apply
Powys residents with a connection to the county may first review their eligibility for benefit payments by contacting the Housing Benefit Department. Telephone is 0845 602 7032. An appointment may be requested at Council offices on Ithon Road in Llandrindod Wells.
Tenants may also contact their local Housing Options Team to help initiate the application for aid. For some who are dealing with hardship, these schemes can be one of the best ways to get moved into a new home. Unlike loans, the only amount that a tenant must repay is any charges for damages or arrears, just as someone would have to pay back to a landlord on their own.
- North Powys communities, including Machynlleth, Newtown and Welshpool may call 01938 551350.
- Mid and South Powys areas, including Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Ystradgynlais may call 01597 827221 or 01597 827257.
Deposit assistance loan
Tenants may borrow the money for rent deposit if they cannot receive approval through one of the assistance schemes. Loans through banks are not an option for everyone though.
Social Fund Budgeting Loans carry zero interest and can be repaid over the course of up to two years. Loan caps depend on the size of household, as children can more than double the amount available to borrow as compared to a single adult. Anyone receiving benefits for at least six months may apply for a budgeting loan by calling 0800 389 0271.
New tenant furniture scheme
To further facilitate new tenancies, one charity can provide used furniture at no charge. Phoenix Community Furniture Scheme Ltd is able to deliver furniture and household items that are necessary when moving into a new home.
The charity operates out of Newtown but is able to deliver items anywhere in Powys. Residents may call 01686 623 336 with enquiries.