The Michael Lynch Centre for Enterprise
71 Princes Street, Ardrossan, Ayrshire
KA22 8DG Tel No: 01294 475636

Scottish Charity No 028100
slider slider slider

CHAP provides free, confidential, independent advice, information and advocacy support on housing and housing related issues to all residents across North Ayrshire.

Advice and Information on: Rent arrears, Council tax arrears, Homeless issues, Eviction, Neighbourhood disputes, Re-housing issues.

CHAP can help

Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS)

Tenant Info >Landlord Info >Professionals


The Rent Deposit Scheme

The Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS) is now part of CHAP's portfolio of services, having taken over the management of the scheme in June 2005, on behalf of East Ayrshire Council.

DiGS provides the 'guarantee' of a rent deposit, (which is normally in place for between 6 to 12 months) claimable by the landlord, at the end of the tenancy (if within the guaranteed term), if any loss or damage is incurred.

The deposit enables those who are facing homelessness or are currently homeless, on a low income and unable to raise a deposit on their own, to access the private sector.

Information on DiGS


DiGS are now situated at 24b Grange Street in Kilmarnock from Monday to Thursday.

On Friday they will be based in Cumnock and will operate an outreach service at Yipworld.

For more information on Cumnock please click here.

Volunteering

Digs are on the look out for volunteers to help with the day to day running of the project. To find out more information please click here or contact Susan Prophet our Rent Deposit Co-ordinator on: 07939073695 or 01563 521288 (Mon - Fri)


Volunteering Opportunities

C.H.A.P Volunteering OpportunitiesThere are a number of volunteering opportunities throughout CHAP including, answering calls, buddying Advocates, developing resources, I.T.....(more)

Advocacy Department

C.H.A.P AdvocacyThe Advocacy Department can provide information and advice on a number of different issues relating to housing and homelessness.
To find out more click HERE

Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Question's regarding the DiGS scheme.

Click on a question to view details.

  • What is the Deposit Guarantee Scheme?

The scheme, managed by the Community Housing Advocacy Project (CHAP) and jointly funded by East Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire & Arran NHS, provides the "guarantee" of a deposit, payable to the landlord if the tenancy ends within 12 months from entry to a Private Let Tenancy if any loss or damage is incurred.

The deposit enables those on a low income and unable to raise a deposit on their own to access the private sector.

  • Who can access the scheme?

The scheme has been developed to assist those who are:-

  • Over 25 years (or have dependants).
  • On a low income and in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
  • Unable to raise a rent guarantee by their own means.
  • Have experienced or are at risk of becoming homeless.
  • Are able to sustain a tenancy with minimal support.
  • Are in receipt of High Rate Disability Living Allowance.

All applicants to the scheme will be interviewed by DiGS staff and asked to complete a detailed application form.

Applicants will also be requested to provide two references.

This would ideally be a previous landlord, employer or a professional person who knows you well. However, the landlord would have the final decision on whether to accept a client for his / her property.

  • How much is the deposit guarantee?

The deposit is equal to the lowest amount between the Local Housing Allowance allocation for the property size or the landlords asking rent per calendar month.

A pre-tenancy determination form is no longer required.

 As from April 7th 2008 the government are introducing LHA (Local Housing Allowance).

This will replace the need for a Pre-tenancy Determination as the LHA will be the identified Fair Rent for the property set by East Ayrshire Council. This LHA allocation will be paid direct to the tenant with any new claim or any break in the existing claim after 7th April 2008, where DiGS have no concerns regarding the tenants ability to sustain their tenancy, however where DiGS have concerns the LHA allocation for the rent of the property may be overridden and paid direct to the landlord for a set period of time which will be reviewed at times stated by Housing Benefit.

  • How long is the guarantee in place for?

This will vary from between 6 and 12 months dependant on the tenant's personal circumstances and their eligibility for Housing Benefit (If the tenants circumstances change and they are not entitled to any Housing Benefit then the guarantee will be withdrawn),their support needs and the duration of the tenancy agreement.

During this time we would be expecting that tenants could pay half of the guaranteed amount in the first 6 months and the remainder within 12 months.

Tenants would be encouraged to save on a regular basis through a savings account arranged by DiGS with the Clydesdale Bank.

  • What is covered by the guarantee?

The deposit guarantee would cover loss or damage to the property or any items on the inventory caused by the tenant or their visitors. This would exclude any damage caused by "fair wear and tear".

The guarantee also covers any loss of rent up to the agreed value of the deposit.
 

  • What will not be covered by the guarantee?

It will not cover:

  • Cleaning costs. However tenants will be encouraged, with support to ensure that the property is left in an acceptable condition.
  • Unpaid bills and personal debts to the landlord or damage to communal areas.
  • Rent arrears arising from the difference between the eligible amount of LHA (Local Housing Allowance) awarded and the rental price of the property.
  • Items not on the inventory.
  • Items covered by ordinary household contents insurance.
  • How will the scheme be managed / staffed?

The scheme will be managed by the DiGS co-ordinator and the DiGS Officer. Additional housing support will be provided by the established East Ayrshire Council Tenancy Support Team.

Housing support will include assistance with tasks such as form filling, accessing benefits, budgeting and home making skills. Support needs of the tenant will be assessed by the co-ordinator.

Support will be encouraged, but is not compulsory. Landlords may be more accommodating where support is being offered and may otherwise refuse a tenants application.

  • How will tenants be matched up to properties?

We will be developing two databases. One will be for potential tenants and the other for available properties.

As and when a landlord has a property available they will notify us and we will update this information.

We hope in this way we are able to match the landlord up with a tenant within a relatively short period of time.

  • Can I find my own property?

Yes. If you find a property that you would like to rent you can contact the landlord direct.

You can also advise us and we can contact them on your behalf and provide details of the deposit scheme.

  • Are all landlords able to access the scheme?

All landlords can access the scheme as long as they are registered with East Ayrshire Council and the DiGS scheme.

All landlord registration numbers provided by EAC are verified by the DiGS co-ordinator prior to the properties being utilised within the DiGS scheme. This is to ensure all landlords who are involved within DiGS meet a range of good practice criteria to be involved in the scheme.

 This would include things like providing a written tenancy agreement, giving notice before visiting the property and ensuring that Health & Safety standards are met.
 

  • What happens at the beginning of the tenancy?

After ensuring the landlord and the identified property are registered with East Ayrshire Council and the DiGS scheme and a Pre-property inspection list is complete for the property wishing to be used.

DiGS staff will verify landlord responses and ensure that it meets the relevant standards.

An entry date will be agreed. On the date of entry the tenant, DiGS staff and the landlord will be present.

At this stage the inventory and other documents will be completed along with the tenancy agreement and AT5. The DiGS team will complete and submit all information to Housing Benefit including any gathered information required for LHA to be paid direct to the landlord.

After the tenant has moved in DiGS staff will call on the tenant and complete an evaluation form on the service.

Support is ongoing for the tenant during the duration of the 12 month guarantee period with any queries or problems that may arise. Digs staff will complete home visits during the tenant's time in their tenancy while the guarantee is running. In addition if the tenant has accepted housing support they will be visited on a more frequent basis by their identified support worker.
 

  • What happens at the end of the tenancy?

As mentioned, an inventory and an inspection checklist would be drawn up for each tenancy.

At the end of the tenancy if the deposit guaranteee is still active (within 12 months) it is anticipated that the landlord, DiGS staff and the tenant would jointly inspect the tenancy and agree on any amount of deposit being claimed.

A meeting would be also arranged with DiGS, the landlord and the tenant 4 months into the agreement to discuss the progression of the tenancy. This would also allow 2 months notice to be given on either side where required.

 

  • Do I need to do anything else?

There are a number of conditions in place that the tenant has to meet in order to access the scheme.

They must agree to:

  • Ensure the immediate and continuous payment of Local Housing Allowance is paid directly to the landlord (if appropriate).
  • Give required notice if they wish to leave the property.
  • Pay all bills on time.
  • Pay all charges not covered by LHA allowance (top up rents, communal areas).
  • Keep DiGS informed of any changes in circumstances.
  • Keep to agreed lease conditions set by the landlord.
     
  • Can tenants use the scheme more than once?

Tenants are able to access the scheme on more than one occasion.

However, those using the scheme a second time are refused assistance if they have stolen or caused damage at the previous address or are in debt to the Council in respect of the first guarantee.

  • What are the benefits for tenants?

There are numerous benefits for tenants:

  • No need to raise a deposit at the initial stage of a tenancy.
  • Assistance to identify available properties.
  • Improved choices of areas to move to.
  • Access to quality and affordable housing.
  • Access to the services of the Tenancy Support Team.
  • Assistance with all aspects of setting up a tenancy.
  • Provision of an inventory and an inspection checklist for the property.
  • Provision of a "mediator" between tenant and landlord in the event of any difficulties.
  • How can I find out more about the scheme?

You can contact DiGS staff who can offer any further information or advice required.

Susan Prophet
Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS)
24b Grange Street
Kilmarnock
Ayrshire
KA1 2AR
Tel: 07939073695
Tel / Fax: 01563 521288

E-mail: digs@chap.org.uk
Or use our website contact form

Landlord Information

Tenant Info >Professionals  >Back to top

If you are a landlord and you wish to register with East Ayrshire Council please click here.
Once you have registered as a landlord you can then register for the DiGS scheme by clicking here.

A link showing current LHA figures can be found on this page of the East Ayrshire Council website.

Below you will find a list of Frequently Asked Question's regarding the DiGS scheme.

Click on a question to view details.

  • What is the Deposit Guarantee Scheme?

The Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DIGS) is managed by the Community Housing Advocasy Project (CHAP) and is jointly funded by EAC and Ayrshire and Arran NHS.

DIGS provides the 'guarantee' of a rent deposit, payable to the landlord, at the end of the tenancy if it occurs during the guarantee period, if any loss or damage is incurred.

The deposit enables those on a low income and unable to raise the deposit on their own, to access the private sector.

  • How much is guaranteed?

The guaranteed deposit is the lowest amount between the rent per calender month set by the landlord and the Local Housing Allowance as estimated by EAC.

  • How long is the guarantee in place for?

This will vary from between 6 and 12 months dependant on the tenant's personal circumstances and their eligibility for Housing Benefit (If the tenants circumstances change and they are not entitled to any Housing Benefit then the guarantee will be withdrawn), their support needs and the duration of the tenancy agreement.

Our aim is for the tenant to pay half the amount in the first 6 months and the remainder within 12 months ownership of the deposit.

Research has shown that where tenants have been involved in saving a deposit, they are less likely to abscond or damage the property. This would also protect the scheme from having too many deposits in place at one time and therefore putting it at risk of not being sble to meet all potential claims.

  • What is covered by the guarantee?

The deposit guarantee would cover any damage to the property or loss of rent up to the agreed value.

This would also cover the situation where the tennant abandons the tennancy without notice and there is a loss of rent.

 However with a database of tenants available it would be hoped that the property could be re-let quickly therefore minimising the amount of rent loss.

Loss or damage would cover all items not covered by household insurance, including wall and floor coverings.
 

  • What will not be covered by the guarantee?

It will not cover:

  • Cleaning costs. However tenants will be encouraged, with support to ensure that the property is left in an acceptable condition.
  • Unpaid bills and personal debts to the landlord or damage to communal areas.
  • Rent arrears arising from the difference between the eligible amount of Housing Benefit awarded and the rental price of the property (i.e. the top up payment).
  • The amount of the deposit guaranteed would not exceed the rental value estimated by Local Housing Allowance.
  • Are all landlords able to access the scheme?

Landlords would be expected to meet a range of good practice criteria (as recommended by Homepoint, Communities Scotland), to be involved in the scheme.

This would include:

  • Provision of a legally binding, written tenancy agreement.
  • Provison of an accurate rent record.
  • Ensuring that the accommodation is suitable for the size of the household.
  • Ensuring that the property must be in good repair and condition.
  • Being free of conviction for illegal evicition or harassment.
  • Where the property is subject to a mortgage, the landlord must receive the permission of the lender to let their home.
  • Giving reasonable notice before accessing the property for repairs.
  • Provision of a copy of the gas safety certificate - issued by a CORGI registered installer.
  • Ensuring that gas, electric and furniture safety requirements are met.
  • Respecting the tenants right to peace and quiet.
  • Following the proper legal procedures if they want the tennant to leave.
  • Maintain the stucture and exterior of the property, and fulfil their obligation to keep the property in good repair.
  • Provide the tennant with compulsory Repair Standards Information set by the government.
  • A member of the East Ayrshire Landlords Forum.

  • What are the criteria for tenants to access the scheme?

The scheme has been developed for those who are:-

  • Unable to raise a rent guarantee by own means.
  • Are in receipt of a qualifying benefit.
  • Have experienced, or are at risk of becomming homeless.

...and are able to sustain tenancy with minimal support.

Due to the limitations of the single room rent for under 25's, the scheme will only include applicants over 25 years. The exception being where an applicant has dependants.

Applications for the scheme should come via the EAC Housings Options Team or Social Work Department, self refferals, landlords, estate agents, or voluntary organisations.

All applicants to the scheme will be interviewed by DiGS staff and asked to complete a detailed application form.

 Two references will be requested for each applicant. However, the landlord would have the final decision on whether to accept a client for his/her property.

  • How will the scheme be managed / staffed?

The scheme will be managed by the DiGs Co-ordinator and the DiGS Officer. Additional housing support will be provided by the established East Ayrshire Council Tenancy Support Team.

Housing support would include assisstance with tasks such as; form filling, accessing benefits, budgeting and home making skills.

Support needs of the tenant would be assessed by the DiGS staff. Support would be encouraged, but would not be compulsory for tenants.
 

  • How will tenants be matched up to properties?

We will be developing two databases. One will be for potential tenants and the other for available properties.

As and when a Landlord has a property available they will notify us and and we will update this information.

We hope in this way we are able to match the landlord up with a tenant within a relatively short period of time.
 

  • Will the Housing Benefit payments be set up quicker?

At the moment we are not in a position to fast track housing benefit claims within the scheme due to the cost implications of this. However it is in the interest of the scheme as well as the Landlord to ensure that the benefits are in place as soon as possible.

As part of our procedure we will ensure that Housing Benfit forms are completed on the day that the tenancy begins and we will follow the progress of the application at 4 weeks.

Where the tenant is requesting the Housing Benefit to be paid direct to the landlord, DiGS staff will fill in the application for this and submit it with the Housing Benefit form and the gathered evidence at the beginning of the tenancy.

To access the scheme the tenant must sign to agree that any Local Housing Allowance payments are paid immediately to the landlord, where DiGS cannot override these payments being made to the landlord.

The tenant must also advise DiGS of any changes with any Housing Benefit claim.

Housing Benefit checks will be carried out by DiGS staff in relation to tenants placed through the scheme.
 

  • What happens at the beginning of the tenancy?

DiGS staff will send a Pre-property Inspection list to the landlord when registering the property with the scheme, this enables DiGS staff to assess it's suitability for the scheme. Any issues raised from the Pre-property inspection list are addressed prior to sign-up. Once a suitable tenant has been identified DiGS staff will arrange for them to view the property with the Landlord.

All tenants will have been interviewed and references will have been requested.

DiGS staff will then assist the tenant to establish the Local Housing Allowance allocation payable towards the identified property. On completion of this an entry date will be agreed.

When the tenant is moving in, DiGS staff will accompany them and complete the necessary paperwork for the scheme including an inventory and inspection checklist with the Landlord.

At this stage the tenancy agreement will be signed by both the tenant and Landlord. If the landlord does not provide the relevant documentation (gas cert, electrical cert, EPC and AT5 and lease the sign up will not be carried out).
 

  • What happens during the tenancy?

The DiGS staff will keep in contact with the tenant and provide support as and when reqired.
 

  • How and when will the deposit be repaid?

We would hope to have the deposit paid within the 12 month period.

At the start of the tenancy we will issue the tenant with a payment book. The tenant will be supported to make weekly payments into the CHAP holding account. This will also be assessed during the duration of the guaranteed period.

  • What happens at the end of the tenancy?

Prior to the tenancy commencing, the DiGS staff would be involved in drawing up an inventory and an inspection checklist with the landlord and tenant.

At the end of the tenancy if it falls in the term of the guarantee there would be a joint inspection of the tenancy with the landlord, DiGS staff and the tenant to agree any amount of deposit being claimed.

A meeting would also be arranged with the DiGS co-ordinator, the landlord and the tenant 4 months into the agreement to discuss the progression of the tenancy in relation to the deposit. This would also allow 2 months notice to be given where required. Thereafter the period of notice required by both parties would be as per the lease.

  • How do I make a claim?

At the end of the tenancy if it falls in the duration of the guaranteed period the landlord and the DiGS staff will meet to agree any damage or loss to be claimed.

A claim form should then be completed by the landlord with full details of the items to be replaced/repaired. This should include two estimates for each item.

The claim must be received by DiGS staff no later than 28 days after the date of inspection, it is then processed and if upheld by EAC a cheque is sent to the landlord. Proof of purchase/repairs will be required thereafter.

  • Can tenants use the scheme more than once?

Tenants are able to access the scheme on more than one occasion.

However, those using the scheme a second time are refused assistance if they have stolen or caused damage at the previous address, or are in debt to the Council in respect of the first guarantee.

  • What are the benefits for the landlord?
  • Access to a letting/re-letting service.
  • Reduction in void periods and loss of rental income.
  • DiGS would interview tenants and obtain reference prior to contact with the Landlord.
  • Access to the services of the Private Sector Housing Unit.
  • Access to The East Ayrshire Council Tenancy Support Team.
  • Assistance with devising a tenancy agreement.
  • Provision of an inventory and an inspection checklist for the property.
  • Provision of a 'mediator' between tenant and landlord in the event of any difficulties.
  • Access to information and advice on good practice.
  • How can I find out more about the scheme?

You can contact DiGS staff who can offer any further information or advice required. We can also arrange to come out and talk to you, or your organisation, about the deposit scheme.

Please contact:-

Susan Prophet
Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS)
24b Grange Street
Kilmarnock
Ayrshire
KA1 2AR
Tel: 07939073695 or Tel / Fax: 01563 521288

E-mail: digs@chap.org.uk
Or use our website contact form

CHAP and DiGs

The Community Housing Advocacy Project (CHAP) has been responsible for the management of the Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS) on behalf of East Ayrshire Council since June 2005. During this period, the organisation has committed itself to the effective running and development of the scheme and has strived to attain continuous improvement and acheive targets.

The Benefits

DiGS provides a "deposit guarantee" to assist people over 25 (or under 25 with dependant children) on benefits or low income and who are homeless (or are at risk of homelessness) and unable to secure a tenancy through normal housing channels, to find sustainable accommodation in the private rented sector.
This benefits local authorities as it enables them to offer another housing alternative to alleviate the shortage of temporary accommodation and social housing stock. It also is a cost effective way to meet homeless targets set by the government as the cost of housing a service user through a rent deposit scheme is much less than a preson presenting as homeless with a local authority.

The service user also benfits as it is able to offer them a choice in housing options and specific areas available. It also benefits landlords in numerous ways, i.e: reduced or no advertising costs. The Service Co-ordinator liaises with landlords, interviews service users and assesses support needs of individuals accessing the service. Home Support visits are carried out by staff to those placed through the scheme to ensure that they are caring for and sustaining the property.

Our person centred service incorporates support needs assessment and signposting service while staff and volunteers provide ongoing contact for those requesting assistance in order to sustain their tenancies, thus reducing the issue of repeat homelessness. Staff ensure all documentation is in place regarding the tenancy and housing benefit forms are submitted. Referrals are also made to other agencies to initiate the provision of training/education in basic life skills, budgeting and financial management for the service user, thus also being pro-active in preventing repeat homelessness.

Our Commitment

We (CHAP) continue to monitor our performance through on-going landlord and tenant evaluations as well as benchmarking with other Deposit Guarantee Schemes nationwide. As our philosophy is one of ongoing improvement, we continually monitor and self-evaluate our performance and remain extremely motivated in our efforts to maintain and improve upon current performance levels within all aspects of DiGs and to implement, where necessary and appropriate, any actions we deem to be both beneficial with potential to improve the scheme.

CHAP 2012 | Scottish Charity no 028100

Website Contributions

+ - =