Housing Minister Brandon Lewis today (3 February 2015) announced government-wide support for a new scheme that will become available to thousands of potential tenants.
The minister said he was determined to “create a bigger, better private rented sector”.
All of Whitehall has now agreed to offer deposit loans to staff looking to take up new tenancies in the private rented sector, following in the footsteps of the Department for Communities and Local Government. This includes the Home Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department of Health.
More help for tenants
The scheme, which works in the same way as a staff season ticket loan, will allow employees to borrow some of their salary upfront in order to pay for rental deposits, which is then repayable from salary payments over up to a year. It is available to be taken up in both the public and private sectors.
The Department for Communities and Local Government last October became the first government department to roll the scheme out to its staff, with ministers pushing other parts of government and the public sector to follow suit.
The department is working with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to increase availability across the private sector.
Brandon Lewis said:
With millions of people across the country renting their home we are determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector that is fair to tenants.
Today’s move will mean thousands of people will be offered a helping hand to rent privately through season ticket style loans from their employers.
I hope to see more employers in the public and private sector joining the scheme in the near future.
The scheme was created by the homelessness charity Shelter and the Greater London Authority was another public body to introduce the scheme for its staff.
The tenancy deposit scheme can be adapted by different employers to suit their needs, but generally employees are offered interest-free loans to pay their deposits when they move into a privately rented home, which are then paid back through their salary over the course of up to a year.
Employers who are offering the scheme include The Department for Communities and Local Government, The Greater London Authority and Shelter.
Government departments that have agreed to introduce the scheme include Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, HM Treasury, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs, Business Innovation and Skills, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defence, Department for Education, Department of Health, Department for Transport, Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for Energy and Climate Change, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Cabinet Office, Department for International Development and the Treasury Solicitors.
Under the DCLG scheme, staff can request a loan (by way of an advance of salary) in order to pay a deposit when moving into a privately rented home. The loan is conditional on the deposit being secured through a tenancy deposit protection scheme, and staff pay back the loan through deductions from their monthly salary across no more than the following 12 months.
The department has worked with Civil Service employee policy colleagues to produce guidance that can be adapted by organisations looking to implement deposit loan schemes.