If you are getting Rent Supplement for a long period and you are in need of long-term housing, you may be eligible for the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). The scheme is run by local authorities. The local authority makes the final decision regarding who is eligible under the scheme. In general, people who are getting Rent Supplement for more than 18 months are considered for RAS.
Under the scheme local authorities draw up contracts with landlords to provide housing for an agreed term for people with a long-term housing need. The local authority pays the rent directly to the landlord. You may continue to contribute to your rent but you pay this contribution to your local authority, not to your landlord.
The key elements of the scheme are:
• Local authorities pay the full rent to the landlord on behalf of the tenant
• Landlords must register tenancies with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and the tenancies are governed by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (pdf).
• The property must meet minimum standards for private rental accommodation.
• Deposits are not required since the local authority has entered into a contract with the landlord.
Further information is available on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, including an explanatory leaflet for landlords (pdf) and a list of RAS contacts in local authorities.
Apply to your local authority.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.