How can I get help with a tenancy deposit while I live in a hostel?

I work full time and I currently live in a hostel. I'm trying really hard to save the bond and deposit for my own place because I need to get out of the hostel as soon as I can. As it's really quite a struggle, is there any assistance to help me with the deposit and bond?

It sounds like you’re working really hard to get money together to move out, but the money for a deposit and other costs to renting can be hard to save up. But you’re not the only one who has had trouble getting this money together. And there is help available: you may be able to get help with a deposit through a rent deposit scheme; and you might be able to get a Social Fund loan to help with rent in advance.

A rent deposit scheme may be able to help you with your deposit. These schemes either pay your landlord the deposit, or guarantee they will pay for any damage at the end of the tenancy. Such schemes sometimes help with rent in advance. Some will help you to find a property while others will ask you to find the property yourself.

Rent deposit schemes usually have rules about who they can help. For example, many schemes only help people on benefits or a low income. Some schemes are only for young people, and others may not help people who the council has a legal duty to house, such as people with children. Most schemes have limited funding so may not be able to help even if you fit the criteria. Unfortunately, some landlords may also not accept a deposit guarantee from a rent deposit scheme.

Crisis SmartMove gives details of rent deposit schemes around the country. However this site does not list all schemes, so ask at your local council or advice centre to find out if there is anything else in your area.

If you will be claiming housing benefit to help with the rent, then it will be paid in arrears, so you would usually need to find a month’s rent in advance yourself and ask for housing benefit to be paid directly to you in the last month of your tenancy. But you can get a loan to help with the first month.

To apply for a budgeting loan, you must have been on benefits for at least 26 weeks. Your chances of getting a loan and how much you might get will depend on your personal circumstances. Budgeting loans can help with expenses such as furniture and household equipment, rent in advance, and removal expenses if necessary.

You used to be able to get crisis loans, but these have now ended and been replaced with some alternatives.

If you want to apply for a loan, you might find it helpful to seek further help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) or Housing Aid Centre.

Answered by Shelter on 06-Mar-2014

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