Rent deposit scheme

The council's deposit guarantee scheme is intended to help people who are homeless or in housing need, by offering landlords or ladies a guarantee to cover loss or damage to the property (beyond fair wear and tear). The deposit guarantee is not a solution to an emergency situation as the application may take five to ten working days.

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Who can the scheme help?

Applicants need to be:

  • Aged 18 or over and not subject to the Single Room Rate Restriction
  • In housing need: for example "2 bedrooms overcrowded" or about to lose their home
  • Unable to raise the deposit themselves, because they are on low income, or unemployed, or receiving benefit
  • From the South Oxfordshire District or have a local connection by virtue of family or employment.

How does the scheme work?

Most landlords or landladies ask for a deposit to be paid when a tenant moves in. This scheme will ensure that if tenants are eligible, a deposit bond will be issued in place of deposit. The bond will be up to a maximum of six weeks' rent, and can last for any period up to 12 months. Landlords/ladies can be secure in the knowledge that the council is guaranteeing the bond.

Please note that although White Horse Lettings provides a range of free services to landlords, the tenancy agreement is a private contract between the tenant and the landlord. 

The tenant (not the council) is legally responsible for paying the rent. White Horse Lettings will endeavour to resolve any rent issues; however, the council is not liable for any arrears accrued during the tenancy. (The same would apply if the property was let through a letting agency.) The management of the property, e.g. repairs, is also the responsibility of the landlord.

What type of accommodation is included?

The scheme covers self-contained bedsits, flats and houses.

How much can the rent be?

We have guidelines for the maximum rent that is acceptable based upon the market rents charged within the area. We cannot guarantee deposits greater than these amounts.

Tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent should claim housing benefit from us. Benefits will only be paid for reasonable rents so tenants should have the rent checked before they move in. If the rent is too expensive the tenant may not get help with all of it. There are time limits for claiming housing benefits so it is important that tenants contact us at once for advice. For more information see our pages on Housing benefit.

How to apply for a deposit bond

We realise that tenants may be in a desperate situation so we will act as quickly as possible. We must visit the property and speak to the landlord/lady before the tenant moves in. This means it is important to contact us as soon as a tenant has found somewhere to live.

If you are a tenant and you wish to apply, or a landlord with a property to let, please contact the housing team.

What happens when the tenant leaves ?

We need to know as soon as the tenant is due to leave. If there is any loss or damage a claim must be made within seven days of the tenant leaving. We will then investigate the loss or damage.

Last reviewed: 07 - 11 - 2016

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