Here are some commonly asked tenant questions and answers about our Deposit Bond scheme:
The Deposit Bond Scheme has been set up as a way of helping those in housing need when they wish to take on a private rented tenancy.
The private rented sector is a very important source of housing and usually a deposit has to be paid to the landlord, or letting agent, to secure this type of accommodation. It can be difficult to find the money for the deposit, especially as there are often a number of other expenses when moving home.
The Deposit Bond Scheme can help those who are unable to afford the deposit to be able to move into a home in the private sector. The Bond is an agreement with us, but at the start of the tenancy you and your landlord must sign up to the conditions of the Bond agreement with the us. The agreement explains the terms and conditions of how and when a claim can be made by the landlord.
A Bond is not a transfer of cash, but a written guarantee issued to the landlord on behalf of you, the tenant, to cover the deposit for your new home. This Bond will cover your deposit for 2 years, in which time we would expect you, as the tenant, to have saved to cover your own deposit.
Once you have found an affordable property, prior to moving in, the Bond Officer will arrange to inspect the property to confirm it is suitable and to record the condition by way of a signed photographic inventory. The Bond Officer will then agree the details of the Deposit Bond with the landlord. The Deposit Bond and Inventory will be signed by you and the landlord and there will be a copy for both you and the landlord to keep for future reference.
You will be responsible for paying rent and for keeping to all the other terms of the tenancy agreement.
If you need any help or advice during your tenancy, contact the Housing Options team on 01803 208723.
Properties to rent can be found through local letting agents, adverts in local newspapers and shops, on the internet and by word of mouth. You need to find a property that is the right size and has the right facilities for your needs. You will need to make sure that you can afford to pay the rent, all the household bills and any other expenses that must be paid, such as the cost of petrol or bus fares to get you and your family to work or school.
The property must be in good condition and the landlord must meet the required property standard.
We can only issue a Bond if the property meets the required standard. If during the Bond period we are informed that the property has deteriorated as a result of lack of maintenance by the Landlord/Letting Agent then we will suspend the Landlord/Letting Agents right to claim against the Bond until the property disrepair is rectified.
After the Bond has been issued we will be in regular contact with the Landlord/Letting Agent to assess how the tenancy is going and to evaluate what inspections have been undertaken to ensure that the property has not been damaged and is safe and habitable. This may include an inspection by the Bond Officer at key review dates.
Once a tenant finds a suitable property, you can submit an application.
Help with a deposit and Rent in Advance
If you are in receipt of Housing Benefits or Universal Credit (housing costs element) and you need help with a deposit as well as rent in advance you will need to apply through Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP).
If you are not in receipt of Housing Benefits or Universal Credit (housing costs element) and need help with a deposit as well as rent in advance you will need to apply through our Crisis Support scheme.
Help with a deposit only
If you need help with a deposit only and do not require help with Rent in Advance then please contact us using our contact form.
Alternatively you can visit our Paignton Connections office where our Customer Services advisors will assist you in making an application.
The criteria for who can apply to the Bond Scheme can be found on our criteria page. The Bond Officer will look at your circumstances and decide whether you can be accepted onto the scheme.
The Bond is an agreement with us, but at the start of the tenancy you and the Landlord/Letting Agent must sign up to the conditions of the Bond agreement. The agreement explains the terms and conditions of how and when a claim can be made by the Landlord/Letting Agent if needed. This is subject to a review of any rent in advance and Housing Benefit.
The Deposit Bond is a guarantee provided by us to a private Landlord or Letting Agent for a specific tenancy. If you damage the property or there are rent arrears at the end of the tenancy, we agree to pay the cost of repairs and/or rent arrears up to the maximum value of the Bond on review of your claim. The maximum value of the Deposit Bond is normally the monthly rent for a tenancy. If you have a pet, this may be enhanced for damage caused by pets on agreement with the Bond Officer.
A Bond Certificate will be issued to each tenant detailing all aspects of the Bond.
From August 2016 we have decided to change how we support tenants moving into their new home by guaranteeing a Bond rather than providing cash deposits. This is to provide a more efficient service to tenants needing to move, also helping to resolve tenancy issues whilst promoting financial responsibility and encouraging tenants to look after their accommodation.
The Landlord or Letting Agent also has the added benefit of knowing the deposit is backed by us and will also have access to advice where needed.
By issuing the Bond we also have the opportunity to have more control over our finances and are able to be proactive in working with landlords and tenants to ensure that accommodation is looked after. This can benefit all of us and means that tenants are more likely to be able to maintain tenancies long term.
We would also like to promote better working relationships with Landlords/Letting Agents by offering reassurance and contact.
When you move out of the property, you need to let us know. The landlord will also inform us within 5 days if their tenant gives notice of their intention to leave. We will inspect the property again to check its condition. The Bond Officer will be responsible for making a decision if a claim is made by the Landlord/Letting Agent and will compare the condition of the property at the end of tenancy inspection to the photographic inventory taken when the Bond was agreed.
It is best if this is done after the property has been emptied with the Bond Officer, you and the Landlord/Letting Agent present. If any work is needed to clean or repair damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear, or there are rent arrears, the Landlord/Letting Agent can claim the cost of these up to the value of the Deposit Bond on agreement with the Bond Officer.
If a claim has been agreed, we will cover up to the Bond amount agreed and arrange to pay your landlord. If this happens you will be recharged for the amount that we have had to pay. It is, therefore, important that you do not damage the property or fall behind with your rent. If you do not repay us, we will endeavour to take legal action to recover the money. In addition, the landlord may also take action against you for any amount he is unable to recover from us.
Many landlords ask for a Bond and one month’s rent in advance. In certain circumstances we may be able to offer help with rent in advance. To find out more please click here (link to DHP/CS).
If you are unhappy with the Bond Officers decision or the Bond, please contact 01803 208053 and your complaint will be registered.