Rent deposit and guarantee schemes
If you want to move into rented accommodation but are having trouble raising the money for a deposit, rent deposit or guarantee schemes can help you.
What is a rent deposit or guarantee scheme?
These schemes aim to help people in housing need access accommodation in the private rented sector. Instead of you having to pay a deposit and/or rent in advance, the scheme will provide a financial guarantee to your landlord to cover the cost for you.
Who asks for a deposit?
Most private landlords or letting agents ask for a deposit. See the page about deposits for more information.
How do the schemes work?
Different schemes work in different ways:
Finding suitable accommodation
Some schemes will find suitable accommodation for you, while others will ask you to find your own property and then negotiate with the landlord on your behalf. In this case, you may even get the deposit or rent reduced.
Some schemes will check the property over for you, to make sure it's safe and well maintained.
The deposit and sometimes any advance rent will then be guaranteed for you by the scheme.
Repayment of the rent and deposit
Some schemes will ask you to repay the deposit and advance rent in instalments over a period of time. When you move out, the landlord will refund the deposit to you, provided you haven't damaged the property or left any unpaid rent or bills.
Other schemes won't ask you to repay the deposit, so when you move out, the deposit is returned to the scheme. However, if the landlord doesn't refund the full deposit because you have damaged the property or left unpaid rent or bills, you will have to pay the scheme back.
Some schemes also offer support in other areas, for example advisers can help you to claim benefits, develop budgeting skills and find furniture for your new home.
Who can apply?
This differs from scheme to scheme, but usually rent deposit schemes are aimed at people who are:
over the age of 18
homeless or threatened with homelessness (that is, likely to become homeless in the next two months)
single or a childless couple
on a low income or in receipt of benefits.
Who runs rent deposit schemes?
How do I apply?
To see if there's a rent deposit scheme operating near you, you can:
get in touch with the council's housing department (you can find details on your council's website)
You can also apply for a discretionary housing payment to help pay towards your deposit.
Last updated: 11 June 2018
Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.