Can I get help with paying the deposit for my flat?
It can be difficult to find a deposit and rent in advance if you're on benefits or a low income. If you'll be claiming housing benefit to help with the rent, it will be paid in arrears so you'll still need to find a month's rent in advance.
If you don't have money for a deposit there may be a deposit scheme in your area that can help you. The way these schemes work varies. They usually have rules about who they can help: some only help people on benefits or a low income; some are only for young people: and others may not help people the council has a legal duty to house. But most only have limited funding so may not be able to help even if you fit their criteria. In addition, some landlords won't accept a deposit guarantee from a rent deposit scheme.
You may also be able to get help with rent in advance (but not your deposit) from the social fund. There are two different types of loan available that may be able to help with rent in advance, these are:
- Crisis loans - you'll need to show that you need help with rent in advance because of an 'emergency or disaster', unless you have also been awarded a community care grant. If you have become homeless suddenly then you may be able to argue this is an emergency. You do not need to be getting benefits to get a crisis loan.
- Budgeting loans - you may be able to get help with rent in advance through a budgeting loan, and you don't need to have had an emergency or disaster. To qualify, you must have been receiving income support or jobseeker's allowance for at least 26 weeks.
Both crisis loans and budgeting loans must be paid back - usually by taking a small amount per week from your benefits. It can be difficult to get a crisis loan or budgeting loan because funds are limited and priority is usually given to people in most need. If you want to apply for a crisis or budgeting loan, seek the help of an experienced adviser in making the application e.g. from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or a housing support worker.
Question answered by Shelter