The introduction of a bond scheme by Caerphilly County Borough Council was innovative at the time of its creation in 2003. It was hailed as a way to help lower income residents and those receiving benefit payments to be able to move into private rented housing. Since its creation the Caerphilly bond scheme has guaranteed the deposit for hundreds of Welsh citizens so they could enter new tenancies.
Council supports the scheme because of its positive effects on reducing homelessness. They have a mandate to assist potentially homeless citizens to gain access to adequate housing. While temporary accommodation is sometimes used, the goal is to get residents into one of the available rental properties in the same town.
Leaders are also encouraged by the benefit that is extended to participating landlords. Fewer cases of illegal evictions are occurring. Landlords are educated on proper procedures. Ongoing advice and support is given to tenants to ensure that rents are paid promptly and that the premises are kept in a clean and safe condition.
Tenants can skip rent deposit
The primary feature of the bond scheme is the ability for residents that lack savings to still move into private housing. Landlords expect the customary one month’s deposit to be paid in addition to rent in advance. This effectively doubles their housing cost for the first month which can make it unaffordable. It creates a huge obstacle to new tenancies amongst the poor or cash strapped residents in Caerphilly.
A bond guarantee certificate can take the place of a cash deposit. It works in similar fashion as cash, providing protection to a landlord in case there are damages beyond normal wear and tear. If the tenancy ends prematurely, then a claim against arrears can also be made against the bond. Council essentially guarantees that these costs will be paid even if the tenant is unable to make payment. The funds are provided without delay, and then Council will pursue repayment of those costs by the tenant. This repayment could stretch over many months, and a payment plan can be arranged if it eases matters for that tenant.
Gwalia Care and Support Bond Scheme
Council often provides advice to those who are at risk of homelessness through their contact centre. Residents may call 01443 866567 to speak with an adviser who can make recommendations for how a housing situation might be resolved. If someone is believed to be a candidate for the bond scheme, then a referral may be made to Gwalia Care. Gwalia Care supports efforts to house citizens of Wales and they are the administrator of the Caerphilly bond scheme.
Residents who would like to apply may either first call Council for a referral or they can call the organisation directly at 01443 811670. Initial telephone screening questions may apply. An adviser will want to meet directly with an applicant to fully understand their needs and to provide the best care.
Some residents find a suitable property but the landlord is unwilling to accept a paper bond instead of cash. Gwalia Care can meet with the landlord to negotiate a possible solution where a guarantee is accepted. This is part of the service. The organisation serves both the resident and the landlord to reduce homelessness and vacancies.
Anyone who is struggling to maintain an appropriate dwelling due to recent hardship, job loss or benefit changes is encouraged to speak with an adviser about the scheme. They may be a candidate for help that can get them into their own home months sooner.
One final feature of the Caerphilly bond scheme is the savings component. Hundreds of new credit union accounts have been opened in the name of participants who are gaining independence. They make regular small deposits that will one day match or exceed the value of the bond, thereby giving them the financial resources to establish a new tenancy without requiring outside assistance. An adviser can explain the process for saving, which is conducted only as a tenant is able to afford the allocation.
In addition to the deposit, if an applicant has no savings to pay rent in advance, it may be possible for aid to meet this need also. Calls to the Housing Advice Centre at 01443 873552 can match a resident with a knowledgeable adviser who can determine what levels of support may apply.