New tenants who can not afford a security deposit can make use of a bond guarantee scheme provided by Wigan Council.
What is the bond scheme?
A bond guarantee is a legally binding agreement between Wigan Council, the landlord and the tenant.
It replaces the ‘up-front’ cash deposit that landlords require to cover the cost of any damage to, or loss of, their property when a tenant moves out. If landlords face the costs of such damage or loss, they can make a claim against the bond to recover the money.
In addition to providing bonds, the scheme also provides practical help and advice to help customers to find a home and to run it successfully. They also introduce tenants to Unify Credit Union (external link), to help them to gain financial independence and avoid using inappropriate lenders.
Who can apply?
Homeless people or those facing homelessness in the near future can apply if they:
- Are on universal credit, job seeker’s allowance, income support, a low wage or otherwise unable to raise the cash for a security bond; and
- Have a local connection or other valid reason for wanting to live in the Wigan Borough; and
- Would not be owed the full homelessness duty by the council.
What will they do?
If your application for a bond guarantee is accepted, they will:
- Ask you to join a workshop on finding a home - These will also help you learn about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
- Provide a house hunting pack - Including a letter of introduction for the landlord, which explains the bond scheme and how to proceed if both parties agree to a tenancy
- Let you know of any properties that are available
- Be available to offer you advice and support in finding a home.
What happens if I am offered a property?
You are under no obligation to accept an offer of accommodation if it is not what you want. The landlord decides who to rent a property to, this means that, unfortunately, the bond scheme cannot become involved if a landlord decides not to accept a customer who is referred to the scheme.
If you are offered a property we will:
- Ensure that the property meets required standards
- Check the Local Housing Allowance rates each month to ensure the property is affordable
- Help you to complete a housing benefit application and provide a full benefit check
- Arrange for you and the landlord to sign the Bond Guarantee Agreement (and the tenancy agreement if this not already been done)
- Carry out an inspection to write a list of all fixtures and fittings in the property.
How can I apply?
Find out if you are eligible to apply by arranging an interview at any of the following:
- Housing Options Team Tel: 01942 487732
- Wigan Life Centre Tel: 01942 404128
- Leigh Life Centre Tel: 01942 404091