Renfrewshire Council utilises a unique method for helping residents get around the normal rent deposit requirement. Someone who cannot afford to pay the money upfront in addition to rent in advance can get an extension on the amount of time necessary to pay it.
A special arrangement gives new tenants up to six months to live in a new flat while they save for a cash balance. It works just like a loan, except there are no credit requirements and no interest is paid.
What makes this possible is a Council guarantee that replaces the initial deposit. Council guarantees to the participating landlord that any damages caused by the tenant will be promptly reimbursed whether or not the tenant has the money. Total reimbursed amounts are limited by the amount of the bond. The bond amount is equal to a single month of rent charges.
Citizens who are approved for the scheme may move in by paying only the first month rent payment. The regular rent payment must be made on a timely basis.
A small amount must be paid in on regular instalments to the landlord to be placed on deposit. These amounts will eventually total the amount of the normal rent deposit.
Tenants have six months to accumulate enough to cover the deposit requirement. In some cases, Renfrewshire Council will agree to renew the agreement, allowing a total of twelve months for the instalments to be made. Such arrangements require approval by the Council, tenant and the landlord.
Landlords receive a bond certificate that guarantees them repayment of any approved charges. They supply an invoice along with the required receipt in any situation where the tenant caused damage to itemised property and failed to pay. Those amounts are reimbursed up to the total amount of the bond. Landlords know that they can get quick payment for damages on any amount not exceeding what one month of rent costs. Any damages that exceed this amount are charged to the tenant and the landlord is responsible for pursuing those charges. Limitations include rent arrears, utility arrears, normal wear and tear, rent in advance and any charges that exceed the single month bond amount.
Council will still pursue reimbursement from the tenant for any amounts that were paid on their behalf. An instalment arrangement can be made. Tenants who fail to honour their tenancy agreement may forfeit any future chance to participate in the scheme.
This arrangement is intended to assist lower income residents of Renfrewshire to gain access to the private rented sector. It allows them to bypass the normal prepayment requirement of two month’s rent. The goal is to remove a common obstacle to independent living. Council provides access to the scheme as a way to reduce and prevent homelessness.
Residents aged 35 and above have normal access to the scheme. Young people can still participate but they are limited to the single/shared room rate of the Local Housing Allowance. This can limit choices for some applicants.
Commonly approved candidates include low income earners and those who are receiving benefit payments. Longer term residents are more likely to be approved than someone who is relatively new to the area.
To be considered for the scheme, residents may contact Housing Advice and Homeless Services at Renfrewshire Council. An appointment may be requested with the Prevention Team by calling on 0141 618 5807. Appointments are held on 15 Abercorn Street in Paisley.