New legislation came into effect in April 2007, which states that all deposits (for rent up to £25,000 per annum) taken by landlords for assured and assured shorthold tenancies (most tenancies in England and Wales) must be protected by a government backed tenancy deposit scheme.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council runs a Rent Bond Scheme, which is free of charge.
Rent Bond Scheme
The Rent Bond Scheme is designed to help people who have a connection to the borough and are threatened with homelessness to secure accommodation in the private sector.
The council will indemnify you (the landlord) to a maximum guarantee of £1,000.
The bond will cover one, or all of the following, up to the guaranteed amount:
- Damage to property.
- Loss of rent (net of housing benefit payable, and not to include any rent allowance restriction) except where the tenant has obtained a guarantee for rent from a third party.
- Clearance costs attributable to tenants’ neglect.
The bond will not cover:
- Unpaid bills.
- Personal debts to the landlord.
- Fair wear and tear.
- Court costs.
The guarantee will be effective for two years, following expiry of the first fixed term of the tenancy, though this can be extended by negotiation.
The bond will become void if the landlord, or agent of the landlord undertakes any act that may be construed as an offence under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. In addition, landlords must be ‘fit and proper’ (ie no unspent convictions for fraud, dishonesty, violence, supply or misuse of illegal drugs, or not practiced any unlawful discrimination). They must not have contravened any housing law, or landlord and tenant law.
A bond will only be made available on properties which are:
- Offered on a minimum assured short hold tenancy of six months.
- Free from any serious hazards.
- Within the borough's boundaries.
What advantages are there for me?
Before a tenancy, we will:
· complete a full inventory with photographs
· carry out a free safety inspection of your property, giving advice where necessary
· check affordability for the prospective tenant. By ensuing the claim form and necessary documentation are
submitted for assessment the day the tenancy starts, we will try and make payments within one month
· attend a sign up interview with the tenant
· ensure any support needs of the tenant are fully assessed and referred to the appropriate agency. Any identified
housing support will be in place by the start of the tenancy.
· Nominate a key officer as a contact for the landlord or tenant for the duration of the tenancy. This key officer will differ dependent on the nature of the query (i.e. queries relating to housing benefit would be directed to the housing benefit department, general queries on behalf of the tenant to the Welfare and Resettlement officers and general queries on behalf of the landlord to the Landlord Liaison Officer)
How does it work?
· Once affordability has been established we will decide the amount of the indemnity
· A housing benefit form will be completed, if necessary, and all proofs collected to ensure the claim can be assessed promptly.
· You will be asked to sign a rent bond agreement
How do I make a claim?
You must contact us within 14 days of the tenant vacating the property, or at the end of the tenancy, to register or discuss a claim.
You will be asked to confirm the claim in writing, and to include estimates. If the claim is valid, you will be asked to undertake the work and send in receipts. We will reimburse costs up to the maximum agreed and will seek to recover the costs from the tenant.
The pre-tenancy inventory will be used to cross-check against the claim and the Landlord Liaison Officer will visit the property .
Indemnity will only be provided against rent arrears of the landlord has notified the LLO when the rent has remained unpaid for 14 days (without prior arrangement)
For further information please contact the Landlord Liaison Officer on 01256 845638