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Tenant Passport Deposit Guarantee

If you would like to rent a property from a private landlord but are struggling to find the deposit or bond, or even a property that's suitable, then the Tenant Passport could help you move into a new property with some help from Sunderland City Council.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness please call 0191 520 5551 and talk to the Housing Options Team, who may be able to support you with temporary accommodation. They are available Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5pm and calls outside of this time will be passed onto the team. Find out more about help and advice that is in the city if you are homeless.

Who qualifies?

To qualify for the Tenant Passport you should be unable to afford the deposit, also known as a bond, to rent a property from a private landlord within the Sunderland City Council area. If you are looking outside our area or if you already have a deposit on a current property, then unfortunately you won't qualify.

You don't have to be on a low income or benefits, but you will need to pass our references that do background checks with current and former landlords, as well as our Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) team and other council departments and Northumbria Police, where there is a good reason to do so. A history of poorly managed tenancies, ASB, rent arrears or criminal behaviour means that you won't qualify for our help. You will also need to pass the Right to Rent checks to show that you have the right to rent a property in England. This applies to all applicants.

How the Tenant Passport works and how to apply

You need to complete the Tenant Passport application form and show us some accepted forms of ID. Please also make sure you read and understand the Tenant Passport terms and conditions.

We will then complete a reference check, which can take up to two weeks but will often be quicker. If they are satisfactory, we will ask you to complete some online tenancy training, and if you pass this then we will provide you with a Tenant Passport which is valid for six months.

There is no cost for this service.

The Tenant Passport gives you a deposit guarantee of up to £750 for a private rented tenancy in the Sunderland City Council area, subject to us inspecting the property and your landlord's agreement. The deposit guarantee lasts for 24 months, which should give you time to save towards your own deposit that you can give to your landlord at the end of the guarantee period.

When you have the Tenant Passport you can search for your next home online or with local landlords and agents. We may also have properties that are available through our accredited landlords service. Don't worry if you can't find something straight away as the Tenant Passport is valid for six months from the date of issue.

If your landlord is happy to accept a deposit guarantee then we will inspect the property that you would like to rent and will complete a written inventory - with photographs - detailing the property condition. You and the landlord need to agree to this inventory and the deposit guarantee agreement. When this is complete you can start your tenancy.

At the end of the tenancy, or guarantee period, we will inspect the property again to assess if there is a valid claim for damage, rent arrears or other breach of a tenancy agreement. If you have broken the terms of your tenancy agreement and your landlord is owed money then we will pay them up to £750 and recover the money from you. If you don't pay the council then you could end up with a County Court Judgement (CCJ).

Next Steps

If you are interested in applying for a Tenant Passport, please complete the Tenant Passport application form. We will then request your ID documents and start the referencing process.

You can email privatesectorhousing@sunderland.gov.uk or call us on 0191 520 5551 during normal working hours if you have any questions or need more help.

If you are a landlord or agent, we have produced more information for landlords and agents about the Tenant Passport for you.

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