The Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme - TENANTS
I am interested in renting in the private sector but can't afford a deposit
Since 2003 the Council has successfully run a Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme helping over 220 households secure accommodation in the private sector. Instead of a tenant paying a deposit to the landlord, the Council gives the landlord a Deposit Guarantee Bond, which is an amount equivalent to one month's rent. We work with private landlords who are prepared to accept tenants who receive housing benefit. Typically the council will put forward prospective tenants who have a housing need and a local connection.
I am interested in renting privately - can this scheme help me?
The Council may be able to help by introducing you to a private landlord who has a property to let and if you are not able to afford a deposit, provide a Rent Deposit Guarantee to the landlord. The Council does not actually rent the property for you and you are not a Council tenant.
To be considered for this scheme you need to be registered on the District Housing Register (which is managed by Paradigm Housing Group on our behalf) assessed as being in housing need, have a local connection with this District and be referred or put forward for this scheme by Paradigm Housing if they consider this option suitable for you. If you are not already on the Housing register please contact Paradigm Customer Services team on 01494 830991.
What is a Rent Deposit Guarantee and how does it help?
The Council can provide a landlord with a Rent Deposit Guarantee of up to one month's rent to encourage them to accept you as their tenant. Because no money changes hands the Landlord is not required to join a Deposit Protection Scheme. It is a three way agreement with the Council, the Landlord and you. If a Landlord makes a claim under the RDG the council would recover from you any costs paid out under the terms of the guarantee so it is in your interest to make sure the property is kept in good order and to make sure the rent is always paid up to date.
What does the RDG cover?
Like any deposit the RDG will cover the cost of arrears of rent, loss or damage to the property over and above fair wear and tear and other uninsured losses caused by the tenant up to the maximum amount of the guarantee. In the event that costs go above this level the landlord would still have recourse to make a claim against you for these through the small claims court. Where there is a claim under the Guarantee the Council would then recover the costs from the tenant.
What sorts of properties are available?
All different types of property are available through this scheme but exactly what and where changes all the time as new landlords come forward and tenancies come to an end. If you are referred to the scheme we will do our best to find you something that matches your needs.
Can I find a property myself and still be part of this scheme?
Yes, providing that both the Landlord and South Bucks agree and all the terms of the scheme are met. The landlord should contact the Council to arrange an appointment.
How much will the rent be and what if I can't afford it?
Before the tenancy starts the Landlord will be able to assess a reasonable rent level by referring to the
Local Housing Allowances (LHA)
published and updated monthly on the Council website.
You can apply for Housing Benefit to help you to pay the rent if necessary and we will advise you how to do this. The LHA information is also used to calculate Housing Benefit entitlement and will help you to decide whether you can afford the property. If there is any shortfall between the amount of Housing Benefit payable and the rent you agree to pay the Landlord, you have to pay this and if you don't, you will fall into arrears and put your tenancy at risk.
You can also use the
Web Benefits Calculator
to get an indication of how much benefit may be payable depending on different variables.
Local Housing Allowance - Tenant Guide
Housing and Council Tax Benefits
web pages to see more information and other FAQ's.
How long will it take for my Housing Benefit to come through?
We will advise you how to make a Housing Benefit application. Once the Tenancy agreement is signed you can submit your claim. The process usually takes 2 -4 weeks to set up providing you give all the necessary information with the application. You can register to use the online claim tracking facility on the Council Website.
Housing Benefit is paid four-weekly in arrears. Please remember that it is your responsibility to pay your rent to the landlord no matter how it is funded.
Can my landlord get access to information about my housing benefit claim?
Yes, your landlord can also register for the Housing Benefit online service to see certain restricted details about your claim:-
A summary of details relating to your claim.
Next payment details
Previous payment details.
It is not the landlord's responsibility to follow up your Housing Benefit claim or payments.
Who will manage the property?
Your landlord is responsible for the management of the property including carrying out repairs and related problems if they arise etc as well as collecting the rent.
Who is responsible for the repairs to the property?
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 details the repairs the landlord is responsible for. These include:
the structure and exterior of the property
bath, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations
heating and hot water installations
water, gas and electricity supply and meters
other repairs agreed between you and the tenant
The Repairs Guide leaflet produced by Communities and Local Government gives more information about Landlord's and tenants responsibilities for repairs.
What does the landlord usually provide?
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement for a minimum term of 6 without a break clause.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies guide for Landlords
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Will the Council re-house me at the end of the let?
A suitable property which is in good lettable condition.
Normally includes carpets, curtains - nets and drapes, a cooker and fridge-freezer.
Smoke detectors to Hall and Landing ceilings From October 2008 EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive requires that you provide an Energy Performance Certificate - This is a legal requirement. The landlord should give you this at the start of the tenancy.
A valid CORGI registered Landlord's Gas Safety Certificate - this is a legal requirement. The landlord should give you this at the start of the tenancy and a new one every 12 months.
A valid Electrical Safety Certificate for the property (NICEIC or similar, Periodic Inspection Report).
A contact number so you can contact the landlord if there are any problems.
Suitable valid buildings insurance which remains the landlord's responsibility. You should arrange insurance for your own possessions.
No, not necessarily. You should update your Housing Register application with details of your new address once you move in and keep it updated with any change to your circumstances so that your needs can continue to be assessed but when a private tenancy comes to an end it is your responsibility to find suitable alternative accommodation for your needs. The council may be able to help you to access other private rented accommodation and you also have access to Housing Advice provided by Paradigm Housing to discuss any specific needs or difficulties.
What happens at the end of the tenancy?
At the end of the tenancy the landlord may decide to renew the agreement with you or bring the tenancy to an end by giving you notice to quit. There are rules about doing this properly and the leaflet produced by Communities and
Local Government A guide for Landlords
gives information on how to end a tenancy properly, as well as other obligations for landlords. If you have any doubt about whether or not your landlord is acting properly you should get housing advice straight away - contact Paradigm Housing on 01494 830991 or
(Opens new window to external site) who provide advice on tenancy matters.
The Landlords who take part in the RDGS are given information about their responsibilities and obligations at the start of the tenancy.
Before you hand back the keys an appointment will be arranged for the Council and the landlord to check the condition of the property and identify any problems for which you could be held responsible.
Who do I contact to take this further?
Please see the contact details below.
For more information please contact Paradigm Housing Customer Services on
0300 303 1010