Rent deposit, bond and guarantee schemes

Search for local schemes and find out about other options to help pay a deposit and rent in advance for a private rented home.

Find a scheme through your local council

Your council may have its own rent deposit, bond or guarantee scheme. They may know of other local schemes run by charities.

These types of scheme can help you rent privately by providing either:

  • cash to help with a deposit and rent in advance
  • a written guarantee to the landlord that the scheme will cover unpaid rent or damage up to a certain amount

You may have to pay back money paid out on your behalf.

Who the council helps

Most schemes are aimed at people who are facing homelessness or have an urgent need to move.

This includes when you've received a section 21 notice in your current tenancy or have been asked to leave by friends or family.

Ask your council for help if you're facing homelessness within 8 weeks

Use the Help to Rent database

The homeless charity Crisis have an online database listing schemes across the UK that help people find and keep a private tenancy.

Most schemes on the database are aimed at single people who are homeless or facing homelessness. Some also provide support once you've moved into a private rented home.

Search for a scheme on the Crisis Help to Rent database

Apply for a discretionary housing payment

Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) provide extra help with housing costs from the council. There's a limited budget and not everyone who applies for a DHP gets one.

You can apply if you get housing benefit or the universal credit housing element where you live now.

DHPs can be used to pay for:

  • rent not already covered by benefits
  • deposits and rent in advance
  • removal costs

If you get a DHP it may be paid direct to your new landlord.

You don't normally have to repay a DHP.

Get an interest free loan if you claim benefits

You can apply for an interest free loan from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you claim:

  • universal credit
  • employment and support allowance (ESA) - income related
  • jobseeker's allowance (JSA) - income based
  • income support
  • pension credit

You must have claimed 1 of these low income benefits for at least 6 months

How to apply if you get universal credit

You may be able to get a budgeting advance. 

This can be used for a deposit, rent in advance and removal costs.

Apply for a budgeting advance on the Universal Credit helpline 0800 3285644

Or you can speak to your work coach at Jobcentre Plus.

You won't qualify if your earnings from an employer or self employment over the last 6 months are:

  • more than £2600 - if you claim as a single person
  • more than £3600 - if you claim with a partner

How to apply if you get other benefits

You may be able to get a budgeting loan if you get one of the other benefits listed.

This can be used for rent in advance and removal costs. It can't be used for a deposit.

You can either:

  • complete the application online
  • download and print off form SF500

Apply for a budgeting loan or download the form on GOV.UK

How much you could get

Your household Maximum loan amount
Single people £348
Couples £464
Families with children £812

Paying back an advance or loan

You usually have to pay the DWP back within:

  • 1 year if you get universal credit
  • 2 years if you get one of the other benefits listed

The DWP will deduct money from your benefits until the loan is repaid.


Last updated 28 Nov 2019 | © Shelter

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