Last week Crisis wrote exclusively for LandlordZONE about its pioneering scheme to help private landlords rent their properties to vulnerable tenants.
Called the Edinburgh Skylight scheme, it is being watched by councils, landlords and homelessness charities around the UK as a new housing model.
The trickiest aspect of it is that few – if any – of the homeless people involved have the ability to afford a deposit.
But one of the city’s deposit protection schemes has been involved in Skylight since early this year and now offers those seeking accommodation through the scheme a ‘leg up’.
David Gibb, of MyDeposits Scotland, says he came across Skylight programme while working as a letting agent in Edinburgh (pictured).
When he joined MyDeposits, Crisis then approached him because, although the charity was providing deposit bonds for homeless people, they had significant issues helping them repay their deposits or understanding how much they had paid off.
“I discovered that we already ran a deposits scheme for a council in Cheshire and that we could use it in Edinburgh, enabling tenants to pay us the money until they have built up a deposit to replace the Crisis bond,” says Gibb. “We can then track their payments.”
“I feel it’s a fair solution, and it has helped widen the range of landlords who feel reassured enough to get involved, including corporate landlords.”
The sorts of people the deposits scheme helps includes victims of domestic violence who, after fleeing their homes, have no way to rent within the private sector because they have no access to money or even a bank account.
“In these circumstances paying a deposit and the first month’s rent is completely out of their reach,” he says. “I thought if we can do something to help here, then ‘let’s do it’.”
Find out more about Crisis’ Skylights programme in Edinburgh.