New tenants who are unable to afford an upfront cash deposit can now make use of the Council’s Deposit Assistance Scheme to help secure a new home.
What is the Deposit Assistance Scheme?
The Deposit Assistance Scheme allows us to provide a non-cash deposit (or a bond guarantee) to a landlord or agent in place of the usual cash deposit.
This provides protection against the costs of any damage or losses to the property when a tenant moves out. If landlords face the costs of such damage or loss, they can claim against the bond guarantee to recover the money.
In addition to providing bonds, we also offer a tailored advice service for new tenants, completing affordability checks and providing help and support to enable tenants to set up and maintain their new tenancy.
Who can apply?
You may be eligible for the Deposit Assistance Scheme if:
- You are homeless or threatened with homelessness e.g. your landlord has served you with an eviction notice
- You are on a low income, or receiving benefits and unable to afford/find the funds for the usual cash deposit
You will also need to show that you have a local connection to Wigan e.g. you live or work in the area, have family in the area or care for someone who lives in the area.
Will you help me find a property?
No, you will need to find your own property, with a landlord or agent that is willing to accept the scheme. We can however give advice regarding affordability and where you should focus your search, and are able to talk through the scheme with the landlord if they have any queries.
What happens once I find a property?
We will carry out some checks with you to ensure that the property is affordable and suitable to your needs.
A visit to the property will be carried out to ensure it is safe and free of repairs, and we will produce a detailed record (or inventory) to show the condition of all fixtures and fittings before the tenancy starts. This helps to protect both you and the landlord.
The inventory and Deposit Assistance Scheme agreement documents are then signed by all parties - the Council, tenant and landlord.
How much can the scheme cover?
The non-cash deposit will be to the value of 1 month’s rent, up to a maximum of £600.
Can this be paid in cash to the landlord?
No, the scheme does not cover cash deposits. The Council will provide a bond guarantee, with assurances that we will cover the costs of any damage or losses to the property (up to the bond value i.e. 1 month’s rent), if identified at the end of the tenancy. Landlords will need to inform us of any damage or losses, and prompt payments will be made upon receipt of claims.
What will the landlord need to do?
There are no additional obligations placed on landlords through the scheme, although we will make checks to ensure they are fulfilling their usual duties. Landlords will need to:
- Provide a property suitable for the needs of the tenant
- Provide a written tenancy agreement (and share a copy with us)
- Provide copies of the current gas and electric safety certificates, the Energy Performance Certificate and the Government’s ‘How to rent’ guide to the tenant
- Ensure the property is safe and of a good standard throughout the tenancy
- Get in touch with the Council if they have any concerns
- Let us know promptly when the tenancy ends, if making a claim against the Deposit Assistance Scheme
- Sign the relevant paperwork for the scheme and provide access to the property so we can complete our checks.
What happens if I damage the property and the landlord makes a claim?
You should look after your home throughout the tenancy. If you do cause damage, you are responsible for putting it right or covering the cost of the repair. However, if damage is left at the end of the tenancy and the landlord needs to make a claim, we will make the necessary payment to the landlord and look to recover the costs from you.
How can I apply?
To apply for the Deposit Assistance Scheme, you will need to: