Accommodation Finding Scheme or Rent Deposit Scheme for private sector landlords
We offer a service to match local landlords with people who are in need of accommodation. We arrange introductions and offer advice and assistance to set up the tenancy.
We offer a rent deposit bond to landlords equivalent to one month’s rent, which may be used to cover damages during the tenancy. To protect the landlord and tenant, a full inventory is carried out in the presence of the landlord prior to the tenant moving into the property. A second inventory is carried out in the same manner after the tenant vacates the property.
Throughout the tenancy, the accommodation finding service officer will be on hand to give advice and to try to resolve any problems.
The scheme has been very successful. Currently there are 142 properties which have tenants introduced by us.
The service is free to both tenants and landlords and includes all administrative support, paperwork and advice.
We provide tenancy sustainment support working closely with Housing Benefits where necessary.
Rent Deposit Scheme Leaflet for Landlords (pdf. 603)
For more information telephone the Accommodation Finding Officer on 01372 732000.
Housing Advice for private landlords
Housing Services offers advice to private landlords who rent out their properties. Information is offered on how to find suitable tenants, setting up and ending tenancies, landlord and tenant law and the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.
Housing Services also has a wide range of leaflets on housing issues for private landlords, available on request.
Tenancy Deposit Protection
All tenancy deposits paid by an assured shorthold tenant have to be protected by the landlord in a government-backed scheme.
Landlord tenancy deposit responsibilities
- protect your deposit with a government-backed scheme
- provide tenants with information about the scheme used
Landlords must do this within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
A landlord has until 23 June 2015 to protect a deposit if it was paid on a tenancy deposit before 6 April 2007, the fixed-term tenancy expired after this date and the tenancy hasn't
Landlords must provide tenants with certain information about the protection of the deposit. This is called prescribed information.
Landlords must inform tenants in writing about:
- details of the tenancy deposit scheme used
- how to get the deposit back at the end of the tenancy
- what to do if there is a dispute about its return
- the landlord's name, address and contact details or the contact details of the letting agent that set up the tenancy
Landlords must also give tenants a copy of a deposit protection certificate, signed by the landlord.
Tenancy deposit protection schemes make sure that the deposit is kept safe and the tenant get back what they are entitled to at the end of the tenancy.
Landlord can choose which of the following schemes to use:
Capita Tenancy Deposit Service also provided a scheme for a short period, but stopped accepting new deposits in September 2013. Any deposits held by Capita have been moved to MyDeposits.
Penalties apply if the landlord doesn't:
- protect your deposit when they should
- give you the required information when they should
Landlord can be fined and it can be more difficult for them to end the tenancy.
Alternatively landlords can partake in the Accommodation Finding Scheme run by EEBC’s Housing Services. This is a no-fee scheme in which prospective tenants are introduced to the landlord. The scheme will provide a Landlords Deposit Bond normally to the amount of one month rent on the property. The scheme prepares a check-in inventory prior to the tenant taking up residence, and a check-out inventory after the tenant moves out. This gives the landlord the peace of mind without having the extra administration and expense of having to obtain a professional inventory firm to carry out the checks on the property.
Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance
As from April 2008 people renting from a private landlord and changing address or making a new Housing Benefit claim will have their benefit calculated from the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
Those not covered by the new LHA are:
- Council tenants
- Housing Association tenants
- Tenants with a registered ‘fair rent’
- Pre 1989 tenancies
- Tenancies provided by charitable or voluntary organisations which include care, support or supervision
- Tenants of caravans, mobile homes and house boats.
For the LHA the Valuation Office Agency’s previous valuations of individual accommodation has been replaced and instead the Valuation Office Agency will set a flat rate LHA for properties in the broad market area based upon the number of bedrooms. This will form the starting point of the LHA calculation. Entitlement will still be assessed taking into account a claimant's income and personal circumstances and thus may be paid at a rate lower than the Valuation Office Agency's figure.
The LHA for differing sizes of accommodation will be set by the Valuation Office Agency each month and the details will be publicised locally by the Housing Benefit Section. The LHA will be the rate for the month in which the claim starts. Unless there is some relevant change (eg the birth of a child), the LHA will be unchanged for 52 weeks.
The other main change is that the LHA will be paid directly to tenants with only a very few exceptions to this rule. Payment to a landlord may be made where the tenant is considered vulnerable and would have great difficulty in ensuring their rent was paid, or if the tenant falls into arrears of eight contractual weeks or more. Documented proof will be required to evidence why payments are made to a landlord. For example, rent account records that show arrears, and letters from social services regarding issues of vulnerability.