Local authorities could cover tenant rent and deposits as Government unveils £20m fund to prevent homelessness

Local councils are to be allowed to pay a tenant’s deposit or rent and contact agents to procure rental properties as part of a new Government fund aimed at reducing homelessness.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire has unveiled a £20m Private Rented Sector Access Fund which will allow councils to bid for support that will go towards schemes that help tenants who have been made homeless or are at risk.

The Government believes this will support up to 9,000 people at risk of homelessness.

It forms part of a new duty to refer – introduced this month – on public authorities to report those at risk of homelessness so local authorities can intervene at an early stage.

The Government’s bidding prospectus says schemes could provide:

  • Guaranteed rent or deposit scheme/bonds: Providing full or proportion of tenancy deposit or rent payments, or some form of guarantee to landlords.
  • Procurement: Contacting landlords and agents to seek out private rented properties and tenancies.
  • Property management: Managing the property on the landlord’s behalf for the purposes of placing a person/household into private rented sector accommodation.
  • Mediation support and training between landlord and tenant.
  • The minimum tenancy or existing tenancy supported by the schemes will be a period of 12 months.

Bidding for the schemes is open to all local councils.

The competition for bids runs for six weeks from yesterday.

Up to £5m in funding is available for bids for the 2018/2019 financial year with £15m available for the 2019/2020 financial year.

Brokenshire said: “It is vital we give people facing homelessness a route out of it and a chance to rebuild their lives. The private rented sector has an important role in this.

“This £20m fund will allow councils to put in place vital new schemes so that those at risk will have the support to secure their own tenancy.

“It is just one part of the wide-ranging work we are doing to help tackle all forms of homelessness, including our Rough Sleeping Strategy, as we ensure more homes are made available for those in need.”

Landlords welcomed the assistance but were unsure how this would help alleviate the housing crisis.

Richard Lambert, chief executive of the National Landlords Association, said: “While we welcome any assistance the Government can provide those in need of a home, this hardly addresses the cause of the housing crisis.

“More social housing needs to be built for those who are unable to access or maintain a tenancy in the private rented sector (PRS).

“The PRS is already picking up the slack by providing homes to people who would be better suited to social housing. Landlords are struggling to cover their overheads as housing benefit rates remain frozen well below the cost of renting.

“We also have concerns regarding the bidding war that councils must undertake to access the funding. It would make more sense for the Government to use their own statistics to allocate funding to where it’s needed most.

“This is just another example of the Government making a quick fix to appear as if they’re doing something. There are over 13,000 statutorily homeless households and nearly 80,000 household in temporary accommodation. Supporting 9,000 people doesn’t go far enough.”

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  1. cyberduck46



    What a joke.



  2. Will

    It seems to me that Government, Shelter, Generation Rent and Local Authorities have been landlord bashing so long that not many landlords will have any trust or any faith whatsoever with any peanut funded scheme. They have set themselves up as the enemy of landlords.  As for the James Brokenshire who dealt with the ill fated right to rent scheme telling me it was to be light touch legislation – light touch with a sledge hammer!

  3. eltell

    I’d wager another 9000 renters could be added to the list when the tenant fee ban kicks in and rents escalate to cover additional  landlord costs.

  4. RosBeck73

    Farcical. They treat the PRS like it needs to be eliminated – both central and local government treat us like we are scum – and then they want us to take the risks and house people with high needs. As we know, if that person later on doesn’t pay or wrecks the property, they will tell them to sit tight and stay as long as possible rent-free, and the likes of Shelter will assist them in cheating the landlord in the same way. We will then get told we are the ‘main cause of homelessness’ when we finally regain possession of our property. Better to leave this problem to the people who have caused it – by selling off council houses and not building any more. If we stay out of it, we can’t be blamed as much – except of course if we make the mistake of stating ‘no DSS’ – then they will hound and try and sue us for discrimination.

    1. kittygirl06

      Yes if they want landlord to take high risk then they should gaurantee all rent will be paid and all damages are also paid for via the council.  They should also gaurantee to pay for the eviction if its anti social behaviour property damage rent arrears.

      There are so many scum tenants getting away with rent arrears and trashed property its about time these were held responsible and made to pay out of their own pockets.

      Shelter never reports this but I would like the trades which are dealing with these issues day in and day out to speak out they must see the filth and crap that landlords are having to deal with.

      It should be easy if they have a CCJ that an amount is deducted via HMRC  or DWP via their NI number.

      Until better safe guards are in place landlords will not want to take high risk tenants.

      There is no pride or respect left in this country .



  5. The_Maluka

    My insurance policy forbids me to accept tenants referred by the Local Authority.  I wonder why?

  6. Deltic2130

    The usual ludicrously stupid response from the govt. £20m to help with preventing homelessness – how long will that last?! The morons in charge have created homelessness on an unprecedented scale. They’re currently ramming home the belief that they don’t want or need the landlords that house anywhere between 8 and 11m people, they want those families evicted for OOs, yet are constantly astonished at having to allocate ever-spiralling sums for homelessness! Only the govt can’t spot this, too busy chasing the votes of people who will probably never buy by hitting those who provide the housing stock. The utter utter utter utter *****.

  7. PossessionFriendUK39

    Won’t even ‘Touch the sides’  – better if the Govt didn’t help create Homelessness with mot of their policies.  But then just wait for the 177,000 PLUS  that will be homeless through Minimum Room sizes !

  8. MF

    After so many awful experiences, as a matter of policy I will not go anywhere near a tenancy with the direct involvement of a council.

  9. Rayb92

    Good luck with that government!!

    Gov and councils kick landlords to death then want help with the highest risk tenants !  I wonder if council will still advise them to ignore notices and stay put when being evicted if they are responsible in some way .. I’d rather leave my property empty unless council guarantee the lot indefinitely

  10. CountryLass

    So basically they are trying to pull private landlords in to the social housing sector? They are offering to manage the tenancy and liaise between landlord and tenant? S0d off, that’s my job!


    It would be much better to actually pay the housing benefit as rent, same date, each month in advance, the same as everyone else. Pay it direct to the Landlord/Agent without the clawback if a Tenant has been overpaid. That’s between the council and the Tenant. Nothing to do with us.


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