Frequently Asked Questions. The Bond Guarantee

Help to find a new home

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness, you are likely to be under a lot of stress, worrying about where you are going to live and perhaps not knowing what to do or where to start. We’re here to help. Scroll down for information about looking for a home and The Bond Guarantee.

They’re not just going to help you with housing, they’re also going to give you support and if other people need support, then you should ring The Bond Board because they always answer with an open ear. Without The Bond Board, I’d definitely be homeless


  • If your current landlord has asked you to leave your home, don’t move out before you have got advice. Contact us for advice HERE
  • If you have nowhere to stay tonight or need temporary accommodation, contact your Council’s Homeless/Housing Options team (details below). They can also help your with advice about applications for Social Housing, for example with a Housing Association.
  • Check to see whether you might be able to get help with a Bond Guarantee (details below).
  • Find advice about looking for a private rented property HERE

Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about The Bond Guarantee below.


What should I do if I have nowhere to stay now?

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness you need to know what your options are and the sooner you get advice, the better. First, you should contact your local homelessness team. They have a duty to provide you with advice and assistance and may be able to offer you emergency accommodation.

Rochdale Boroughwide Housing: Homeless Prevention and Advice
Bolton Council: Housing Options Team

If you are not in Rochdale or Bolton and need advice about being evicted or emergency accommodation, contact Shelter’s Housing Advice line on: 0808 800 4444

What is a Bond Guarantee?

A Bond Guarantee is a written contract signed by the tenant, the landlord and The Bond Board at the start of a tenancy. The contract promises that if the tenant leaves owing rent, has damaged the property or removed items belonging to the landlord, The Bond Board will pay the landlord up to a set amount at the end of the tenancy.

Can I get a Bond Guarantee?

You can apply for a Bond Guarantee if you can say yes to all four of these questions:

  • Are you 18 years old or older?
  • Are you currently homeless or due to become homeless?
  • Are you claiming benefits, or are you on a low income and getting benefits to help with your rent?
  • Do you have a ‘local connection’ to Rochdale or Bolton?

A local connection includes:

  • living and being settled in the area for at least 6 months or 3 years out of the last 5.
  • working in the area or having close family members in the area.

How can I apply for a Bond Guarantee?

Bond Guarantees during Covid 19

Unfortunately, our offices are currently closed and we are only able to offer a limited Bond Guarantee service during Covid 19.


  • You can only apply for a Bond Guarantee if you have been living in one of the Bolton homeless hostels for 6 weeks or more or
  • If you had already been accepted for a Bond Guarantee before Covid 19 and you  have found a potential property to move into, please Contact us


  • You will need to contact Rochdale Boroughwide Housing’s Homeless department in the first instance. They will assess your circumstances and may refer you to The Bond Board for a Bond Guarantee if they think that is the best housing option for you. Find their contact details HERE

What happens after I have applied for a Bond Guarantee?

Once you have applied for a Bond Guarantee, we will:

  • contact you to arrange an appointment as soon as we can.
  • discuss your circumstances with you and give you advice about your housing options.
  • usually give you a decision about offering you a Bond Guarantee at your appointment.

Sometimes, we need your permission to get more information from other people or organisations about your application before we can give you a decision.

Please note that The Bond Board is not an emergency service so we cannot offer you temporary or emergency accommodation. If you need this, you should contact your local homelessness team.

How soon can I get a property?

If you’ve been accepted for a Bond Guarantee, you can start looking for a property straight away. Sometimes this takes a few days but it can take longer to find the right property or a landlord who is happy to work with The Bond Board. We can help you to look for a property if you are finding this difficult.

See our top tips for finding a private rented property HERE

The landlord wants rent in advance as well as a bond. Can you pay this for me?

No. Unfortunately, The Bond Board cannot help pay rent-in-advance. If you find a property where rent-in-advance is required, you will need to cover these costs yourself, although you should ask us to try and negotiate with the landlord on your behalf first. Most landlords and Letting Agents working with The Bond Board will agree not to charge rent-in-advance.

The landlord will only accept a cash bond, can you pay my bond in cash instead of a Bond Guarantee?

No. The Bond Board cannot pay a cash bond to a landlord at the start of the tenancy. The Bond Guarantee is a written contract, with a cash value, between the landlord, tenant and The Bond Board. We can only pay cash to a landlord at the end of the tenancy if there are rent arrears, damage beyond normal wear and tear or theft from the property.

I need to move out of the area. Can you still give me a Bond Guarantee?

The Bond Board is a local charity and we can only provide Bond Guarantees for tenancies in some areas of Greater Manchester. If you need to move out of the area, there may be other organisations or local councils in that area that provide Bond Guarantees or similar services to The Bond Board. If you don’t plan to live in Rochdale or Bolton, you could contact Shelter’s free 24 hour advice line on 0800 800 4444. They provide free housing advice about the services available across the country.

I’ve had a Bond Guarantee before, can you help me again?

Having a Bond Guarantee once does not stop you from applying again. However, you would still need to be eligible to apply because you are homeless/threatened with homelessness, on a low income and with a local connection to the area. We would also look at what happened with your previous Bond Guarantee and then give you a decision as to whether we could help you again.

How much rent can I afford?

It is very important to get advice about how much help you could get towards your rent before signing a private rented tenancy agreement. The amount depends on your individual circumstances.

If you are claiming benefits to pay your rent, we will advise you how much money you will be entitled to. We will also discuss with you the money you have coming in and going out to decide what rent would be affordable, before you look for a property.

If you are a single person aged 18-35 you might need to share a property as the amount you can claim will probably not be enough for you to rent on your own.

Can my Housing Benefit/Universal Credit be paid directly to my landlord?

In most cases, any benefits you are entitled to towards your rent from the Council or DWP can be paid directly to your landlord, with support from The Bond Board to request this. However, if you are claiming Universal Credit, the DWP will decide this on a case by case basis, depending on your circumstances. They should normally pay your Housing Costs to your landlord at the start of the tenancy if you have been homeless, but they could review this later and pay the benefit to you.

The Bond Board helps everyone moving into a property to make a claim for Housing Benefits/Housing Costs and we can do this again at any time if you have benefit problems or difficulties with paying your rent.

Will I have to pay any rent on top of my Housing Benefit/Housing Costs?

Before looking for a property, we will discuss with you whether you can afford to pay any extra rent on top of the help you get from benefits. Some people decide to move into a property where the rent is higher than Housing Benefit/Universal Credit will pay. If you do this, you will have to pay the extra rent to your landlord so you don’t get into arrears.

If your rent is more than benefits pay, you could apply for Discretionary Housing Payments from your local Council, but you are not guaranteed to get the extra payments and even if you do, they aren’t usually paid for more than a few weeks or months.

If you find a property and we feel the rent is not affordable for you, we will try to negotiate with the landlord to reduce the rent. If this doesn’t work, you would need to find a cheaper property if you still wanted a Bond Guarantee from The Bond Board.

I need an extra bedroom, is this possible?

Unlike social housing, there is no ‘Bedroom Tax’ for private rented properties. However, Housing Benefit/Universal Credit will only pay an amount towards your housing costs based on the number of bedrooms you need and the location of the property.

It can sometimes be possible to afford an extra bedroom if you find a reasonably priced property. You may also be able to have an extra bedroom in other circumstances, for example, if you receive certain benefits and need a bedroom for a non-resident overnight carer.

Can I still apply for social housing at the same time as applying for a Bond Guarantee?

Yes. When you are homeless, it makes sense to apply for as many options as possible. If you are eligible for social housing, we will encourage you to apply and bid at the same time as looking for private rented properties. If you accept a social housing tenancy, you will not need a Bond Guarantee from us as you will no longer be homeless and you don’t need a bond for a social housing tenancy. If you move into a private rented tenancy, you can remain on the housing register for social housing, but your priority for housing will go down, as you will lose any homeless priority you had before.

What if my new landlord decides to sell the property or changes their mind once I’ve moved in?

If your landlord decides to sell the property or wants it back for another reason, you will be entitled to a written notice from the landlord. Unless you have rent arrears of over 2 months, you should receive at least 2 months’ notice to leave and this can’t happen within the first four months of the tenancy, so you should have a minimum of six months as a tenant once you’ve moved in.

There are lots of rules about how and when a landlord can give you notice to leave. The Bond Board can give you advice and support if your landlord wants you out. The Bond Board might be able to offer you another Bond Guarantee for a new home. If you have stuck to the tenancy agreement and there are no rent arrears, damage or theft from the property, it is very likely that we will offer you another a Bond Guarantee. If you have not, we will assess your circumstances and give you a decision about whether we can offer you another one.

If I have a problem with the landlord not doing repairs or other problems, can you help me?

Yes. The Bond Board only wants to work with landlords who act legally, fairly and responsibly. But people do have bad experiences with private rented landlords. These include landlords not doing the repairs that they should, harassing their tenants or even evicting them illegally. If you do have a problem with your landlord or the condition of your home, contact us as soon as possible and we can offer you advice and support.

We can also advise you on other problems, such as being threatened with eviction, benefit and money problems and much more. See HERE for further information about support available from The Bond Board.

Do I have to pay the bond back if the landlord claims against the Bond Guarantee when I leave?

If there is a claim made against your Bond Guarantee when you leave the tenancy, we will let you know and get your side of the story. We will pay the landlord up to the value of the Bond if they can prove that:

  • you owe rent
  • you damaged the property
  • you have taken items from the property that do not belong to you, OR
  • you have left the property without giving the landlord the correct notice, so you owe rent.

If we have to pay your landlord at the end of your tenancy, you do not have to pay us back.

However, a successful claim by a landlord on your Bond could mean:

  • you might not be able to get another Bond Guarantee from us
  • you may be asked to pay back some or all of what we have paid, before we would consider another Bond Guarantee for you in the future.
  • Leaving a private rented tenancy with rent arrears or damage might also affect what help you can get from the Council or Social landlords if you are applying for re-housing now or in the future.


Come along to our free ‘Quid’s In’ coffee mornings every fortnight in Rochdale town centre. Get help with looking for a home or any problems with your private rented tenancy and have a free brew (or two!) with us.

Our coffee mornings are free, friendly and informal. Even if you don’t need advice, you can still come along if you just fancy a chat.


Christine’s homeless story

Get our top tips for how to find a private rented tenancy


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