The Bond Scheme

Quick Guide

Wigan Housing Solutions is managed by the Citizens Advice Bureau and has been set up by the Wigan Homelessness Forum to provide bond guarantees to landlords on behalf of new tenants who can not afford a security deposit.

What is Wigan Housing Solutions?

A bond guarantee is a legally binding agreement between Wigan Housing Solutions, the landlord and the tenant. It replaces the ‘up-front’ cash deposit normally required by landlords to cover the cost of any damage to, or loss of, their property when a tenant moves out. If landlords face the costs of such damage or loss, they can make a claim against the bond to recover the money. In addition to providing bonds, the scheme also provides practical help and advice to help customers to find a home and to run it successfully. They also introduce tenants to Unify Credit Union, to help them to gain financial independence and avoid using inappropriate lenders.

Who can apply?

Applications for a bond guarantee will be considered from homeless people or those facing homelessness in the near future if they:

  • are on job seeker’s allowance, income support, a low wage or otherwise unable to raise the cash for a security bond; and
  • have a local connection or other valid reason for wanting to live in the Wigan Borough; and
  • would not be owed the full homelessness duty by the local authority

When applications are considered, Wigan Housing Solutions will want to be sure that the customer is willing to make a success of the tenancy.

What can Wigan Housing Solutions offer to customers?

Wigan Housing Solutions can:

  • be a route out of homelessness into private renting with an accredited landlord
  • provide a bond guarantee instead of having to raise the cash for a security deposit
  • help you to join Unify, the local credit union
  • help with housing benefit claims
  • make sure that rented properties meet proper standards
  • provide advice about rights and responsibilities as tenants
  • provide advice on budgeting and money matters

How does Wigan Housing Solutions work?

If your application for a bond guarantee is accepted, Wigan Housing Solutions will:

  • ask you to join a workshop on finding a home. The workshops also cover budgeting and housing matters to help people learn about their rights and responsibilities under the tenancy and to help them maintain it.
  • provide a ‘Home Choice’ pack of information about house-hunting. This includes a letter of introduction for the landlord, which explains the Wigan Bond Scheme and how to proceed if both parties agree to a tenancy.
  • let customers know of any properties that we have been advised are available.
  • be available to offer customers advice and support in home finding.

You will use your own judgment when viewing a property, and you are under no obligation to accept an offer of accommodation if it is not what you want. The landlord decides who to rent a property to, this means that, unfortunately, the Bond Scheme cannot become involved if a landlord decides not to accept a customer who is referred to the scheme.

What happens if I am offered a property?

Wigan Housing Solutions will:

  •  ensure that the property meets required standards.
  • Check the Local Housing Allowance rates each month to ensure that properties are affordable for customers.
  • help you to complete a housing benefit application. A full benefit check will also be available.
  • arrange an appointment for you and the landlord to sign the Bond Guarantee Agreement (and the tenancy agreement if this not already been done).
  • carry out an inspection to draw up an inventory of the property, which includes all fixtures and fittings.

How can I apply?

You can find out more information and if you are eligible to apply by arranging a housing options interview at any of the following:

  • Wigan Housing Solutions Tel: 01942 216843
  • Housing Options Advice Centre. Tel: 01942 487717
  • Housing Options Property Shop, Wigan. Tel: 01942 404128
  • Housing Options Property Shop, Leigh. Tel: 01942 404091