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- 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
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
- 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be withdrawn), their support needs and the duration of the
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
- 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
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
- 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
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
Provision of a copy of the gas safety certificate - issued by a
CORGI registered installer.
Ensuring that gas, electric and furniture safety requirements
Respecting the tenants right to peace and quiet.
Following the proper legal procedures if they want the tennant
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
- 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
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
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.
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.
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
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
- 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
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.
Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DiGS)
24b Grange Street
Tel: 07939073695 or Tel / Fax: 01563 521288
Or use our website contact form