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Carrie’s Home Foundation is passionate about helping everyone to find a home. In our home borough of Reigate and Banstead, as with many others, we have continued to see increasing levels of homelessness. Here we take a look at one of the local schemes that is helping to stop the rise.

Number of Homeless

Between 2011 and 2016, Reigate and Banstead Council investigated 703 homelessness applications. ‘Lone parent with dependent children’ represents just over half of all accepted homeless applicants. Data revealed that over 75% of all accepted homeless households have dependent children.

Causes of homelessness

The most common cause of homelessness is the loss of rented accommodation due to termination of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST). This cause has increased over the years and more than tripled from 2011-12 to 2015-16 totalling 30% of all causes. This could be due to Landlords selling properties or the tenant being unable to meet the rent required. This is becoming a greater issue in the borough.

One of the biggest issues for people looking to privately rent is that, in addition to paying the first month’s rent, tenants also must pay a deposit. The deposit usually amounts to between 1- and 2-month’s rent.

Next Step Rent Deposit Guarantor Scheme

One of the Council’s key schemes in preventing homelessness in our area is the NextStep Rent Deposit Guarantor Scheme. This scheme is run by NextStep, YMCA East Surrey and is funded by the Council.

NextStep encourage people, referred to them through the council, to find a potential private property to rent themselves. Once found, Next Step work with the tenant on budgeting, ensuring they can cover the rent and bills. They then offer to cover the deposit through offering a ‘rent deposit guarantee bond’. This is a moneyless contract, which states that Next Step will pay out on any damage incurred to the rented property. Next Step also offer free inventories and tenant introductions and provides both the tenants and landlords with support during the first 6 months of their tenancy. NextStep also source many of the properties and landlords themselves.

NextStep alleviates not only the pressure of finding extra money to cover deposits, they save tenants money on fees and help advise on budgeting.

Benefits for Landlords

This scheme not only benefits tenants. NextStep also provide a free service to landlords. They help find tenants, of which they have many on waiting lists, without the need to advertise or pay any fees. They supply all the paperwork for the tenancy to commence and offer financial security through the government backed deposit guarantee bond. In addition, support for the tenants through regular visits and budget plans is always welcomed.

Schemes such as this demonstrate how everyone can benefit. If you are a landlord and are interested in finding out more, please visit: https://www.ymcaeastsurrey.org.uk/landlords/

Let’s try and reverse the rising homelessness figure together.

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