When a tenancy starts, the Housing Options Team from St Edmundsbury council can help the low income pay the rent deposit due. The council provides assistance in one of two ways, from a loan or a bond guarantee. The rent deposit help is all part of the council’s scheme that are aimed at reducing homelessness in the borough.
The assistance is provided directly from the council, but they partner with landlords in the private sector to place families or individuals into a home. Free advice and linkage to LHA, benefits, and other referrals are also given. There is also financial aid for residents of St Edmundsbury that are homeless.
No interest loans or bond guarantees
The scheme will provide two types of help. As one form of assistance, the council will allow the applicant to borrow the amount needed for either the damage deposit or one month’s rent in advance; as most landlords require that money in advance. The funds will need to be paid back over 12 months, and is one form of using loans for helping with rent. Though the loan is interest free.
Their second type of rent deposit help is a bond guarantee. Many landlords are hesitant to let to a tenant with a low income. Or they have challenges in allowing a recently homeless person to live in their property, even if the individual now has a job. The guarantee from the St Edmundsbury will help reduce the risk of the landlord letting to those tenants.
The bonds will cover both any damages that are done to the home/flat as well as any arrears on the rent that will build up. The damages paid for will need to be reasonable wear and tear; if the property has more significant damage then the tenant will need to pay back the council.
If there is damage or arrears on the rent, the landlord will need to make a valid claim at the end of the tenancy agreement. They need proof of the event. If the St Edmundsbury borough housing options team agrees to this, then they will work to recover any excessive amount of the claim on the rent or damages from the tenant.
St Edmundsbury bonds will also pay for any rental arrears. If the tenant falls behind over the length of the tenancy agreement, then the bond will be used to pay back the landlord. This is a form of direct financial aid that covers housing costs. However, the aim is to ensure the arrears never comes up in the first place. Therefore, free housing advice will be given to the tenant as listed below.
Free advice from St Edmundsbury council – The housing options team wants the tenant to be stable. The aim is to help prevent future evictions from a home and to stop homelessness from occurring in the borough. This means that advice on everything from budgeting, employment, debt arrears assistance, and more is given. All of these services will hopefully allow the tenant to continue to pay their rent on time to the landlord, and it also makes the property owner more comfortable.
Applications – Any loans or bond guarantees are for the low income who do not have the money (or savings) to pay the upfront costs on their own without financial help. In addition, applicants need to be threatened with homelessness, living in a hostel or shelter, or now homeless as well as local to the St Edmundsbury borough.
In addition, the prospective tenant needs to find their own private sector home. The council can help here, but the property needs to be affordable, safe, and reasonable living condition too. Only then may rent in advance or deposits be paid.
For more information, or to apply, the the St Edmundsbury housing options team is at West Suffok House, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3YU. Ring the office at 01284 763233.