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Services in Christchurch

Rent in advance and deposit schemes

Our schemes assist people who are homeless or facing homelessness in securing private rented accommodation.

Schemes in each council vary and are dependent on funding available.

The schemes are for people who cannot raise funds to secure private rented accommodation themselves. If you are able to borrow the money from elsewhere, then you are not normally eligible for the scheme.

We will ask for your bank statements and proof of your income and savings to establish how much assistance you need and whether you can afford the property you have found. It is therefore important you provide these as soon as possible to avoid any unnecessary delays as we may not be able to help you without them.

What are the schemes?

There are three options:

Rent in advance

This is where a landlord requires rental money in advance of a tenancy commencing. Assistance may be provided through a repayable loan paid direct to the landlord. The loan must be repaid in regular instalments.


Landlords usually require a deposit which they should protect in a national deposit protection scheme until the end of a tenancy as security against damage or arrears. We would provide a deposit direct to a landlord, which in some cases could be arranged as a loan with you. Where a loan is used, this must be repaid on a regular basis, meaning you could have some funds returned to you at the end of the tenancy, unless any deductions are made for damages or arrears.

We may also arrange a deposit direct with a landlord but not arranged on a repayable loan basis with you. In these cases we only ask you for payment at the end of a tenancy if we recharge you for any damage caused or rent arrears.


These are written guarantees where no money is provided to the landlord at the start of a tenancy instead of a deposit. The rent bond agreements confirm councils will pay a landlord for agreed damages or rent arrears at the end of a tenancy, up to the agreed bond value. If a landlord claims against the bond you would be recharged by us for the amount claimed.

Who can access these schemes?

You can apply if you are over 16 and have been resident in the relevant area for the previous six months. You must usually have a priority need.

Priority need applies to the following:

  • a pregnant woman
  • a household with dependent children
  • someone vulnerable as a result of old age, mental illness or learning disability or physical disability or other special reason
  • someone homeless or threatened with homelessness as a result of an emergency such as flood, fire or other disaster
  • aged 16 and 17 years old and not in local authority care
  • aged under 21 years old who were in local authority care between the ages of 16 and 18
  • aged 21 and over who are vulnerable as a result of leaving local authority care
  • vulnerable as a result of leaving the armed forces
  • vulnerable as a result of leaving prison
  • vulnerable as a result of fleeing domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence

How do I access these schemes?

You will need to contact your local Housing Advice Service for further information.

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