Pioneering deposit scheme to revolutionise affordable housing

02 February 2018

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A unique and innovative scheme that aims to revolutionise the way first time buyers can gain a foothold on the property ladder was recommended by Woking Borough Council, at last night's meeting of the Executive, for approval by Full Council next week (Thursday 8 February 2018).

The 'Earn Your Deposit' scheme will offer over 400 tenants of Thamsewey Housing Ltd, a company owned by Woking Borough Council that provides affordable rented accommodation across the Borough to residents, the opportunity to earn money towards a deposit on their first home.

The scheme would be available to 'good tenants' who pay their rent on time, look after their home and garden and do not cause a nuisance to neighbours. The monetary value a tenant could earn after a qualifying period would be dependent on meeting the scheme's criteria and the size of property they rent.

Cllr David Bittleston, Leader of Woking Borough Council, said: "Delivering more affordable homes is a key priority for the Council. In the past three years, we have successfully provided 430 affordable new homes, 58 per cent of all new homes in the Borough.

"However, this is nowhere near enough to meet current demand and it is now time to rethink the way we rent and purchase property to help alleviate the current housing crisis. This innovative, ground-breaking Earn Your Deposit scheme could be the way to support social tenants, whilst preserving our housing stock for future generations.

"Sadly, many tenants who rent affordable homes from Thameswey Housing Ltd have little or no hope of saving enough money to afford a deposit on a home of their own.

"The Earn Your Deposit scheme is designed to help address this issue. For example, a tenant in a two bedroom property could receive 2,400 per year towards a deposit on a home of their own. For families in a four bedroom house this rises to 3,600 per year with a cap of 80,000. Consequently, a family could earn enough to put a substantial deposit on a property.

"This mutually beneficial scheme enables Thameswey Housing Ltd to retain its affordable housing stock and gives tenants the ability to purchase a property in the private sector. I strongly hope that this scheme will be adopted by other councils and housing associations across the country giving people currently trapped in the rental sector the real hope of one day owning their own home.

"As Leader of the Council, I have asked the Government to consider substituting the Right to Buy with this pioneering approach to halt the continuing loss of affordable homes to rent."

If the scheme is approved by Council at its meeting on Thursday 8 February 2018, it will be necessary to adjust all Assured Shorthold Tenancies accordingly, with all tenants that wish to transfer to their new tenancy arrangements by 31 December 2018.

The full report, which was presented at last night's Executive meeting, can be viewed here.

Further information

The table below sets out the proposed annual monetary value (upto a total of 80,000) which could be earned by Assured Shorthold Tenants. These values will be kept under review.

Property size

Deposit earned annual ()

Studio

1,600

1 Bed

2,100

2 Bed

2,400

3 Bed

3,000

4+ Bed

3,600