A helping hand for two charities doing great work

As you may have seen, over the last year we’ve awarded up to £20,000 every three months to charities that focus their efforts on housing related issues. 

For the sixth round of awards since we started our Charity Donations Fund, we’ve had some really strong applications, with every detail being considered. We’re delighted to say we have two successful applicants: Launchpad Reading and H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing). Both of these fantastic charities will receive £10,000.

Launchpad Reading 

Launchpad Reading has a very simple, yet effective mission statement: We believe everyone in Reading deserves their own home and the opportunity to have a positive future. This is the foundation for all the great work they do in helping Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people turn their lives around and fulfil their potential. 

Launchpad had been unsuccessful in an earlier application, but this time round their application was much stronger – painting a vivid picture of why a donation was needed and how the money would be used. The review panel particularly liked the support they give people to become independent again, which goes beyond just rent and deposit guarantees. 

‘Helping people find a home is at the very core of what Launchpad does. A home is the foundation of all of our support and with the generous donation from the DPS Charity Fund we will together be making a home a reality for many more disadvantaged people in Reading and helping to prevent homelessness in the town.’  Ian Caren, Launchpad Reading CEO

 

H3 (Helping the Homeless into Housing) 

H3 works with those who’ve been homeless before, alongside other agencies, to help homeless people in their local community. It can be very difficult to find social housing for those homeless people who are not considered a priority. H3 gives homeless people the vital support they need to get them back into a life of independence. 

Their application was extremely detailed and clearly explained how their ‘Homefinder’ programme could help homeless people out of their situation. We believe this funding will go a long way to helping many more people over the years. 

 “A lot of people would have very limited options of getting rehoused without Homefinder. We have recently reached a project milestone by housing 100 people since the programme began and being awarded £10,000 from the DPS Charity Donations Fund is a fantastic boost as it will allow us to continue helping local people move into a place they can finally call home.”  Sheila Mason (H3 Trustee/Committee Member)

Have you thought about what would happen if your letting agent went bankrupt?

As a landlord, renting out a property can sometimes be stressful, especially if things outside of your control go wrong.

A new appliance breaking down outside of warranty, rent arriving consistently late or weather damage to your property’s roof… these are scenarios familiar to many landlords and ones you can usually deal with.

But what happens if your letting agent goes bankrupt? Unfortunately, this occurrence is not as rare as it once was, and we’ve seen a small but steady increase in cases over recent years. There’s no doubt this situation has the potential to be incredibly stressful and will have many repercussions, but if it’s protected with us then one thing you don’t have to worry about is your tenant’s deposit. Both our Custodial and Insured deposit protection schemes protect against this scenario, and we work with landlords to allow them to take over the management of the deposit from a bankrupt agent, maintaining protection throughout the process.

We were recently contacted by one of our customers after this scenario happened to them:

When my letting agent was declared bankrupt, I was worried that my tenants’ deposits would no longer be protected.

However, The DPS reassured me and guided me through the process of regaining the deposits. I was really impressed that the excellent systems in place at The DPS are equally secure for both landlords and tenants.
— Landlord

As this Landlord found out, we provide simple, secure deposit protection and you can trust us to keep your tenant’s deposit safe.

If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of deposit protection, you can find a host of information on our web pages, or you can always contact us on 0330 303 0030.


Did you know...

Agents can only use our insured scheme if they're regulated?

This means that all of our agents have client money protection insurance giving you a guarantee that your money is safe in the event of theft or misappropriation. Alongside our deposit protection, it’s the perfect combination.


£10,000 donation supports charity’s work homing 142 people

Framework was among the first charities to benefit from our Charity Donations fund, receiving £10,000 in our second round of awards last year. Their application really brought to life the problems faced by the people they set out to help, so we were delighted to hear from Jon Leighton, support service manager at Framework, about how they’ve been putting our donation to use:


Framework exists to help homeless people live independently in homes of their own. We work hard to develop people to the point where they are ready to take this step, but often face huge challenges in getting people housed at the end of their time with us.  
 
That’s why I am so proud of our Smartmove service - a residential lettings agency that exists to find decent quality and affordable accommodation within the private sector for vulnerable people – because it gives vulnerable and excluded people a fighting chance in an increasingly challenging rental market. 
 
In September last year, we received a cheque for £10,000 from The DPS to continue this work – something I and the rest of the team are hugely grateful for. More importantly, this contribution has helped real people to move into real properties – people who would otherwise not be housed.
 
The reasons why are in many ways understandable.

Private landlords are often unwilling to welcome people with a history of homelessness and other associated problems. However, with the reassurance of Framework acting as a mediator and contributing towards the cost of a deposit, the service has been very successful in negotiating suitable living spaces for vulnerable people across Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire. In the last year, the service has housed over 142 people, with a suggested saving to society of more than £500,000 (according to “Making it count” value for money indicators by Crisis).
 
Mani, aged 48, was one of those real people we helped through Smartmove. Having fallen into mental ill health after a relationship breakdown, Mani’s life was very much at a point of crisis. I think his words sum up better than I ever could why Smartmove is so important, and why this donation is so welcomed.

“I was all over the place emotionally and physically and after two months’ sofa-surfing I was feeling really low and depressed. I approached Smartmove who, after an assessment, offered me a room in one of Framework’s accommodation services. After five months, my support worker approached me to say he was happy with my progress and offered me the chance of a little flat with a private landlord. The offer of a flat of my own was a lifeline to me. I had been everywhere asking for a tenancy, but was unsuccessful. Now I can’t believe how good things are going! I have independence and I have started applying for jobs.”

The incredibly generous funding that Smartmove has received from The DPS means that we are able to help many more people like Mani on their route away from homelessness and towards independence. I would like to thank The DPS again for supporting Framework and Smartmove in particular.

The Smartmove service has enabled us at Framework to create some very productive links with the private rented sector. With the continuing depletion of social housing these links become very important. Finding a safe, secure and affordable place for people to live is one of our number one priorities. And the help we’ve received so far from The DPS and Crisis has been instrumental in creating an innovative and responsive service for vulnerable people.

About Framework

Framework was formed in 2001 and provides housing, support, training, care, resettlement and employment services, opening doors for around 11,000 homeless and vulnerable people across the East Midlands and parts of South Yorkshire. These include rough sleepers, people escaping domestic violence, care leavers, former prisoners and members of the armed forces, and people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems.


More success for The DPS!

We’re delighted once again to have received the recognition of the lettings industry, this time in the Letting Agency of the Year Awards 2015.  We took the Silver Award in the Best Lettings Supplier category which covers all sectors supplying services to lettings agents.

The Lettings Agency of the Year Awards is an annual event, held in association with The Sunday Times & The Times and sponsored by Zoopla Property Group. The Best Supplier category covers all sectors which supply services to lettings agents. Award winners were decided following a rigorous and thorough judging process by a panel of 20 industry experts. They assessed all the submissions, before conducting an extensive review of the entrants which included over 150 hours of telephone interviews and independent mystery shopping exercises.

We’re determined to keep improving our business, so we really are proud to receive this kind of recognition from our industry.

Julian Foster, Managing Director of Computershare Business Services said “It's fantastic to win this award so soon after winning Best Supplier of Tenancy Deposit Protection at the ESTAS, and is an acknowledgement of the great service The DPS team deliver to our customers, especially as we were measured against such a high calibre field of suppliers to the lettings industry."

The award was presented by women’s marathon world record holder, Paula Radcliffe.  

“This really is a great achievement for us and to receive an award from such a sporting legend, who achieved so much in their career, was also a great moment” said Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection.

Pictured: Paula Radcliffe, presenting Julian Foster and Daren King of The DPS with the award

Pictured: Paula Radcliffe, presenting Julian Foster and Daren King of The DPS with the award

A big boost for three housing charities in our first awards for 2015

As you may know, through our Charity Donations Fund we award up to £20,000 every three months to charities that focus their work in the housing sector. 

The first application window of this year closed at the end of March, and the applications have been thoroughly scrutinised. There were a number of strong applications, but we’ve made our decision. It gives us great pleasure to announce awards to three successful charities!

Colchester Emergency Night Shelter

Colchester Emergency Night Shelter (CENS) supports homeless adults in a range of ways, from CV writing to providing emergency accommodation. It often works with the most vulnerable of people, those with drug or alcohol problems, mental health issues or the long-term unemployed.

CENS did a great job of explaining how they would use the funds to set up a new Rent Deposit Guarantee scheme to fill a gap left by the closure of a similar scheme in the Colchester area. 

With a £10,000 award from our Charity Fund, CENS will help people who currently use the shelter to find and retain a long-term rented property. Throughout the first year of a new tenancy, CENS will guarantee rent payments, provide a conciliation service if things go wrong, and continue to support the tenant to become an active member of the community.

 

StopGap – Sheffield

The safety, security and respite that just two or three nights off the streets can provide is often enough to help people make positive steps towards longer-term housing arrangements. That’s the belief held by StopGap – a charity which covers the costs of short-term accommodation for homeless people in Sheffield. They did a great job of explaining this to us in their application, and will receive a £5,000 award as a result.

They will use the award funds to help them extend their reach, helping more people to escape the threats of violence, hunger, cold and wet weather, and the potential health problems that so often can make life a misery for homeless people. We particularly liked that everyone they work with must commit to working with a referral agency to ensure everything is being done to secure a longer-term solution.

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CINTRE Community

CINTRE Community is founded on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to live an independent lifestyle wherever possible. And we couldn’t agree more.

This application asked us to provide crucial funds for CINTRE Reachout South West – a service which helps people with a range of learning difficulties to live independently in their own homes. Key workers provide valuable support for things such as housing queries, managing money and acting as a responsible person or advocate, if needed.

Supportive communities are strong communities, so we’re delighted to award £5,000 to an initiative that is allowing people to develop and retain their independence in a supportive environment.

We’re proud to support SAFEagent Awareness Week

We’re committed to protecting tenants’ money, which is why we’re proudly supporting SAFEagent Awareness Week, running from 1 to 5 June 2015. SAFEagent was set up ‘by the industry, for the industry’ – it’s recognised by the Government and is supported by a number of organisations, including us.

When you see the blue and black SAFEagent ‘mark’ you know that the organisation you’re dealing with protects landlords’ and tenants’ money through a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme.

Client Money Protection Schemes reimburse consumers if clients’ funds are misused. They’re completely independent and don’t act on behalf of any letting agent. There are several schemes recognised by SAFEagent. These are operated by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Law Society and the UK Association of Letting Agents (UKALA).

To be a member of a CMP scheme, agents and landlords are required to have:

  • professional indemnity insurance
  • defined accounting standards relating to clients’ money
  • a customer complaints procedure 
  • membership of an ombudsman scheme

We’d like to encourage all letting agents to become members of SAFEagent, to give tenants the peace of mind that their money is safe and they’re being treated fairly.

We firmly believe in improving standards in the private rental sector and the SAFEagent accreditation is vital in achieving this goal. You can find out more about SAFEagent on their website

Beware of fraudsters targeting tenants

Con artists and fraudsters are constantly changing their tactics. This is why we continually monitor the use of our service, as from time to time tenants can sadly find themselves a target.

We’ve identified a new scam which is targeting tenants using websites such as spareroom.com.

Here’s how it works:

  • The fraudster advertises a fake property or room – often at quite a cheap rental rate to attract interest
  • To secure the rental, prospective tenants are told to make a deposit payment to The DPS using a set of bank account details that actually belong to the fraudster

How to spot the scam

First and foremost, we will never ask you to make a payment directly to us.

You should only ever make a deposit payment to the letting agency or landlord, and we advise that wherever possible you inspect the property/room in person before doing so. Always obtain a receipt.

In many scams, communication is conducted via email. Tell-tale signs will be bad spelling or grammar and overly informal language (e.g. “finish the deal”). They may also try to make you feel under pressure to do what they want, and will sometimes ask you to confirm information that they should already have.

Protecting your money

Fortunately fraudulent landlords and letting agents are a minority in our industry. The majority are genuine and treat their tenants fairly. For further peace of mind, it’s also worth checking if your landlord or agent is a member of an industry body such as the Residential Landlords Association (RLA), the National Landlords Scheme (NLA). the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), or the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS). Membership of these schemes indicates that a letting agent/landlord is genuine and committed to improving standards in the private rented sector. If you’re dealing with a letting agent, you can also check if they operate a client money protection scheme. The Safe Agent mark is an industry accreditation that shows an agent uses client money protection, which can also give you additional reassurance about the organization or person you’re dealing with.

Staying safe online

Here’s a few other tips:

  • Keep your passwords secret
  • Where possible, use passwords that include numbers, capital letters, lower case letters and symbols to make them more secure
  • Don’t write passwords down or save them in your phone
  • Take a good look at emails before clicking on any link – if it looks fake, or the offer sounds too good to be true, then think twice

You can also watch our video on ‘phishing’ to help you learn more about staying safe from fraudsters using email as a way to gain your personal information.

If you’re still not sure if an email has come from us, please forward it to us here and we’ll let you know if it’s genuine.

Do you rent to students?

We recognise that business runs a little differently for agents who let to students, which means your needs are different too.
 
We know it's getting close to that time of year when students will be ending their studies and their tenancies, which means a busy period ahead for you. With all your deposit repayments occurring at once, you need a deposit protection provider who can take away the administrative burden.

We’ve created a helpful infographic with some tips and tools to help make the process as easy as 123. We hope you find it useful.

Find out how Framework is using our donation to help homeless people in Nottingham

In September 2014 we donated £10,000 from our Charity Donations Fund to the charity Framework. 

Framework is dedicated to helping homeless people, preventing homelessness and helping those who are vulnerable find new direction and opportunities in their lives.

Our donation has allowed Framework to find accommodation for clients with very low incomes and very few housing options. One of their clients has already been able to move into a clean, affordable property, with fewer worries about finding the money to live. And even more people will be able to move in the coming months.

Are you a charity working in the housing sector that could benefit from some additional funding? Apply before our next submission deadline on 30 June 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

How is the Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre using our donation to help homeless people?

In September last year we donated £10,000 from our Charity Donations Fund to The Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre (CHAC). 

They are a small independent charity that gives free advice and information to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in their community.  

We took the opportunity to catch-up with CHAC to see how our donation helped rehouse five people in the Cheltenham area. One of those was a local man who was living in his car after the breakdown of his relationship, leaving him depressed and desperate. Our funding has helped him find a flat. He can now have his kids over to stay and is looking forward to getting back into work.

Over the last year The DPS Charity Donations Fund has donated £80,000 to good causes and we’re proud to be able to support the vital work of charities such as CHAC. 

If you would like to apply for funding, make sure you apply before our next submission deadline on 30 June 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

The Deregulation Act 2015

The Deregulation Act 2015 has been introduced to help clarify some of the requirements around protecting deposits, particularly those taken before 6 April 2007.

This new legislation in relation to tenancy deposits came into force on the 26 March, and was introduced following the Court of Appeal judgement in the case of Superstrike vs Rodrigues in June 2013.

How this will affect you

The key deposit protection changes affecting landlords and letting agents are:

•    Deposits taken before 6 April 2007, for tenancies which have subsequently moved onto a periodic tenancy on or after this date, now need to be protected in a tenancy deposit protection scheme if the tenancy is still running. Landlords have until 23 June 2015 to protect the deposit or potentially face a fine.
•    For deposits taken before 6 April 2007, where the tenancy became periodic before this date, landlords are not required to protect the tenant’s deposit. However, landlords won’t be able to serve a section 21 notice to regain possession of a property unless the deposit is protected.  
•    If a tenancy is renewed or rolls over on a periodic basis, landlords don’t need to reissue Prescribed Information to a tenant if the deposit remains with the same authorised scheme, and the parties and premises remain the same.
•    The legislation has also clarified that the reference to ‘the landlord’ within the Prescribed Information includes those acting on behalf of the landlord, such as letting agents.

Our Managing Director, Julian Foster, said: “We welcome these changes, which provide much needed clarity over the protection of older deposits.

“It brings an end to confusion over the management of deposits taken before the legislation came into force that have been retained by landlords past their original tenancy period. 

“We’ll now help landlords and agents act in time to protect older deposits.” 

There are further changes within the Deregulation Act 2015 that may affect landlords and letting agents. Full details of the Act can be found here. You should take independent legal advice in order to understand how this and other changes in the Act affect you.

If you’re a landlord or letting agent affected by the new changes and want to find out about your deposit protection options, call us on 0330 303 0030 or visit our website to find out about our schemes. We’re the only deposit protection provider to offer a choice between insured protection and a free custodial scheme.

 

Thank you!

We’re delighted to announce we’ve been awarded Supplier of the Year Best in Sector at the prestigious annual ESTAS awards.

What makes this award so gratifying is the fact it was determined based on customers’ ratings of our service. To have so many of you take the time to vote for us is fantastic and we’d like to thank you for your support.

The process also allowed voters to provide comments about our service and we received some great ones. Here are some of our favourites.

“This is an excellent service I wouldn't be without it. It offers confidence and assurance to landlords and tenants.”

“I would have no hesitation recommending The DPS. I have always been happy with the service received.”

“As a company dealing with different types of enquiries and requests, we always find the staff at The DPS helpful & knowledgeable!”

“We have used The DPS for over 8 years now - and we cannot fault their service at all. Thank you.”

Receiving this award means so much more to us than merely being able to say we’re Best in Sector.  It’s because it was voted for by you, our customers, and that more than anything else makes us proud.

Thank you once again,

The DPS Team

We’ve made reclaiming a deposit easier!

We’ve made some changes to the Joint Deposit Repayment process that will help to smooth your end of tenancy experience.   

When a landlord makes a claim to keep part of a deposit online (and gives their reasons why) the tenant can now review the claims straight away and respond to each one, speeding up the process.

We’ve also updated our Alternative Dispute Resolution online process so both the Landlord and Tenant can see when a claim has been made, the disputed amount and deadlines for evidence submission

To make sure you know how to use the updated processes, we’ve created new flow charts showing both landlords and tenants how to start the repayment process. Check them out on our website, along with our other updated process documents. 

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t forget you can ask our virtual agent, ‘Emma’ or contact us using our online form.

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Our second successful applicant of our Q4 2014 donation is…

Wycombe Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (WRDGS)! We’re pleased to reveal that they’ve received £10,000 from our Charity Donations Fund.

The charity prevents homelessness in the area covered by Wycombe District Council. They’re able to do this by:

       guaranteeing deposits needed by private landlords to secure a tenancy

       liaising between tenants, landlords and benefits departments if a problem arises

       offering free, confidential advice about housing.

 Catriona Plummer, Chairman of Trustees at WRDGS, said “landlords require rent to be paid monthly in advance, and as housing benefit is paid four weeks in arrears, many of our clients struggle to meet this requirement and secure accommodation.

 “This donation will allow us to help around 18 local households pay rent upfront and find somewhere for them to live despite their difficult circumstances”.

 We’re delighted that our money will help in this way and we look forward to catching up with them in six months to find out how their project is going.

 Are you part of a charity that has a project in mind to help those in the private rental sector? We may be able to support you. Apply before 30 June 2015 for a chance to receive funding from our Charity Donations Fund! Visit our website to download an application form.

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Our first successful applicant of our Q4 2014 donation is…

Aylesbury Homeless Action Group (AHAG)! We’re delighted to announce that we’ve awarded them £10,000 from our Charity Donations Fund.

They’re a charity who prevents homelessness by providing advice, support and information to people in the Vale of Aylesbury who’re without accommodation, facing destitution or poorly housed.

Karen Warner, Operations Manager at AHAG said “many people in Aylesbury are struggling financially, and the donation from The DPS will help our charity provide the helping hand they need to secure somewhere to live”.

Their project will allow clients to secure affordable rented accommodation and help to reduce the number of people in the area without a home. AHAG are also looking to help those who’ve already secured a property by offering a starter pack of basic household items.

Do you know a charity who would like to receive funding for their next project? Our second quarter is now open for applications. Apply before 30 June 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

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Meet Julian

Get to know our new Managing Director, Julian Foster! 

We recently announced that Kevin Firth, Managing Director of The DPS since 2006, is taking up a new opportunity within our parent company, Computershare. We’re delighted to introduce Kevin’s replacement, Julian Foster. Julian is also part of the Computershare team and is the current Managing Director of our Voucher Services business. To help you get a picture of our new Director, he recently took time out of his busy day to answer some questions about himself.

What are you looking forward to the most about working in the private rented sector?

It’s a growing sector, which is exciting to work in. We all hear the stories where there is a bad landlord or a bad tenant, or somebody has run off with someone’s money. But if you look at the stats, in 99% of cases, everyone does it the correct way and is in the industry for the right reasons.

Our job is to protect the deposit for the tenant so that at the end of the agreement the deposit can be returned to them, or to the landlord if needed. We want to educate both parties so they know what the law requires them to do.

I see our role as providing clear information and support to landlords, tenants and letting agents so they understand exactly what the processes are and how to follow them. Situations where processes are dictated by statute can seem complicated, so we need to make sure our customers are at the heart of what we do, and that we help them every step of the way. That’s our responsibility.

You’ve helped set up an industry body in a sector which was unregulated. Why was that important to you?

My previous role was heading up Computershare’s childcare voucher business. It looks after over 15,000 companies, over 140,000 parents and over 115,000 carers, so we’ve a massive responsibility to make sure it works well.

Providing employees’ childcare vouchers isn’t a regulated activity, but there had been a movement to get an industry body off the ground for some time – the Childcare Voucher Providers Association (CVPA).

We needed a code of practice to represent the interests of the industry, to protect everyone involved and give it a united voice. I wanted to differentiate CVPA members from voucher providers that didn’t adhere to the same ethical or quality standards.

Do you have any top tips for running a successful business?

I wouldn’t ever want to suggest to anyone that there’s a magic formula. There simply isn’t. In any business, your people are your biggest asset. As leaders, we need to make sure we give them the right tools, training and development to do their job and do it well.

It’s also worth remembering that everything we do is for our customers. Without them, businesses are nothing. It’s important to align your efforts to your customers’ values, for if they’re not interested, then you’re wasting your time. I always aim to put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

What will be the biggest challenge in 2015?

There’s an election in May this year, which means that there’s an opportunity for government policy to change. We’ve already seen some changes proposed on sub-letting that could heavily impact the private rental sector. If there is a shift in government policy, or proposals come in to law, we’ll need to be ready to help our customers with advice and guidance.

What do you enjoy doing to relax/wind down outside of work?

I have a three year old little boy who is a typical toddler - very demanding and lots of fun to be with. Fortunately, he enjoys the same things my wife and I like, so we spend a lot of time visiting animal parks and farms.

Tell us something about yourself that may surprise people?

I’m quite handy in the kitchen, I love cooking for my family and friends. I’ve been known to make homemade linguine on Christmas morning. Cooking is the only creative or artistic thing I can do.                                                         

About Julian   

2010: Joined Computershare following the acquisition of HBOS Employee Equity Solutions, where he was Commercial director

2011: Became Managing Director of Computershare Voucher Services and has overseen a series of major customer service enhancements

2011: Helped launch the Childcare Voucher Providers Association establishing a code of practice for the industry.

2013: Launched Salary Extras, a new employee benefits platform.

Making your life easier when reclaiming a deposit

We are pleased to announce we’re making some changes to our service which will enhance the Joint Deposit Repayment process, making life easier for landlords and tenants if they disagree at the end of the tenancy.

We’ll be improving our systems to capture more information online and make that information visible to the tenant immediately. When a landlord wishes to retain all or part of the deposit they’ll be able to enter their claim(s), providing details for each deduction made. The tenant will then be able to review the claim(s) online and agree or disagree to each, providing their response to each one they object to. By making these changes, if a tenant doesn’t agree with all the deductions made by the Landlord, we’re able to significantly reduce the timescales of the overall dispute resolution process by around 30%.  

Both parties will also be able to see when a claim has been made, together with the amounts and any deadlines for evidence submission. Any payments that are made will also be recorded in both the agent’s and tenant’s online accounts.

The changes will take effect towards the end of April. We’re also updating our process documents and “How to” videos, so make sure you keep an eye on our website for more information.  

 

We caught up with the 700 Club - see how they're using our donation!

The 700 Club were the final successful applicants of our first donation in May 2014 and received £7,500.

The 700 Club help homeless people in Darlington achieve independence. They provide accommodation and tenancy support for people with drug and alcohol problems. They also run “Bridge2Home” – a Bond Guarantee Scheme that helps clients’ access accommodation by underwriting the bond.

We were delighted to fund them because they’re a registered UK charity who improves the delivery of housing in the private rented sector.

We recently gave the 700 Club a call to find out how our donation has been used. They were eager to tell us our funding has provided vital support for their Bridge2Home project and helped hundreds of vulnerable people gain access to housing.

With our donation the Bridge2Home scheme is offered to more clients. Their bond guarantee has been increased from £150 to £400 so they can compensate landlords for higher risks! They also visit high-need clients more often giving landlords more protection when housing these clients. And clients have a home!

Previously the scheme had been cautious in underwriting bonds of clients with high needs because of the higher risk of damage to a landlord’s property. This increased risk also put landlords off accepting these people as tenants.

Thinking of applying for funding? Make sure you have a clear plan of how you will use our money so you are able to stand out against other applications. Apply before 31 March 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

700 Club cheque handover

Find out how The Homesavers Charity has put our donation to good use!

The Homesavers Charity was another successful applicant to our Charity Donations Fund in 2014. In May they received £7,500.

The charity helps people in Merseyside who’re on low income, facing homelessness or living in temporary accommodation access private housing. They offer tenancy deposits and financial guarantees to private landlords, which help prospective tenants into affordable housing. They also distribute survival packs to homeless people.

We awarded them funding because they improve the availability of private sector housing and they will continue to provide benefits in the long term.

We recently caught up with The Homesavers Charity and found out that five people have benefited from our donation! One of those was a woman from Liverpool who was given 28 days to leave her property. They were able to pay the £475 deposit for a house so her son didn’t need to move schools. Our funding also helped to support her housing benefit application, and money will be put aside each month so she can pay her own deposit once her tenancy ends.

Our donation was also used to help an unemployed woman and her children find accommodation when they faced homelessness due to the breakdown of her relationship. Her new landlord demanded more rent in advance because she didn’t have a rental guarantor; however The Homesavers Charity were able to cover this deposit so they could move into their home.

Inspired to apply for funding? Make sure you apply before 31 March 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

The Homesavers Logo

What has Sanctuary Trust offered to their homeless clients with our donation?

Last year we launched our Charity Donations Fund and our first successful applicant was the Sanctuary Trust who received £5,000.

This charity offers a hostel to homeless men in Rochdale and also run STEP, a ten-bed emergency overnight shelter. They set up a project to support these men in beating substance misuse.

The application caught our eye because they wanted to offer personal development training and recreational activities to help them get back on their feet.

We recently asked Sanctuary Trust how our donation helped them. We were delighted to hear they have been able to provide training for thirteen of their residents, including basic living skills, life coaching and cooking on a budget. As a result of their cooking classes the men were able to bake a festive feast for the charity staff over Christmas.

Do you want a donation from our fund? Be specific when you submit your project and let us know how it will benefit your community in the housing sector. Apply before 31 March 2015! Visit our website to download an application form.

Sanctuary Trust