The ability to access private rented housing is enhanced for those at risk of homelessness, thanks to a scheme authorised by Monmouthshire County Council. Council has partnered with Solas Cymru LTD to create the Right-Move Bond Guarantee Scheme to stamp out homelessness.
What the scheme does is to negotiate an alternative arrangement with a private landlord to accept a bond guarantee instead of a cash deposit. There are already many landlords on the list who are willing to participate in this arrangement. Any landlord not on the list could be added if they are willing to accept terms negotiated by Solas. Solas is the operator of the bond scheme and does so on behalf of the council.
The property must be within the County of Monmouthshire and applicants must be local residents that have a connection to the area. Any private rental home is eligible for consideration. It must be a suitable fit for the individual or family taking into account family size. The monthly rent must be affordable. Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is considered in this calculation. In situations where rent exceeds LHA an assessment is conducted to ensure the tenant will be able to afford rent and related utilities (gas, electric, water, telephone). Safety and cleanliness are also a priority. An inspection may be required by the Environmental Health Officer to confirm that the home meets council requirements.
When a landlord consents to the scheme, then an applicant may be able to put down less money to move in. Just paying the rent in advance for the first month is enough. No deposit is required since the bond replaces that requirement.
The bond actually covers both damages and arrears that result from the tenancy. This means that any covered appliances and property that are included in the initial inventory can be repaired or replaced at the expense of council. Any arrears can also be charged by the landlord to council. The total amount that is covered by the bond is one month’s rent.
The fact that Monmouthshire County Council guarantees the bond does not relinquish the tenant’s responsibility of any arrears or damages. The resident would still owe those amounts, but they could receive assistance with setting up affordable instalments. This is favourable to the alternative where a landlord might expect those amounts paid immediately.
What makes this such a good arrangement is that Council provides protection from unauthorised charges. They will investigate any invoices submitted by the landlord, which can provide protection from spurious charges. If a debt is owed then Solas will work with Monmouthshire County Council LHA team to minimise the debt. Ultimately if money is due, then they can assist with those instalments.
The bond is designed to assist residents who are homeless or currently in a temporary living situation. If temporary accommodation is unacceptable or about to end, then that person is considered to be at risk of homelessness and would therefore be a prime candidate for rent deposit assistance.
Low income is a requirement. Applicants who are receiving benefit payments are also considered. Since the purpose is to help those who lack the savings necessary to pay a deposit, applicants with savings of over £500 beyond rent in advance may be denied aid. Anyone currently living in a housing association or council housing cannot use the bond to move.
To apply, a person may visit their Local One Stop Shop or call Solas at 01495 764156. They may also visit council in person at Floor 6 of County Hall.
The Right-Move Bond Guarantee Scheme is administered by Solas Cymru on behalf of residents of Monmouthshire County Council. An applicant is required followed by an interview to discuss the needs of the applicant.