Frequently Asked Questions

We have collated a few questions and answers which we are frequently asked - these will provide some guidelines, but do use our "drop-in" service or simply contact us.

How do I know if I qualify for a bond?

To qualify to apply for a Bond you would need to fulfil all of the following:

  • Over the age of 18 and under 65,
  • Either homeless or facing homelessness,
  • On benefits or a low wage,
  • Not have any children living with you,
  • Able to show that you have a local connection (normally at least 6 months residence prior to application).

Can you give me Bond for somewhere outside North Somerset

  • No – KeySteps is specifically a local charity. You will need to contact the local council of the place you are moving to for advice on sources of help.

What if I don’t qualify for a Bond?

  • We can signpost you to other services that are available to help people in your situation.

How do I apply for a Bond?

  • You will need to attend a drop-in session (Mondays and Wednesdays 10am – 2pm).
  • Complete an application form and return it with at least one reference on headed paper from:
    • Current or previous landlord
    • Current or previous employer
    • Support worker (or other referee, as agreed with KeySteps).

How soon can I get a property?

  • Once your application for a Bond has been approved you can look for a property.
  • Make sure the landlord is happy to accept a Bond rather than cash.
  • Sometimes it can take a while to find a suitable property – KeySteps staff will do their best to help you find somewhere that meets your needs.

Does KeySteps have a list of properites / landlords?

  • No – but we have connections with local landlords and will help to match you to a suitable property.

How much rent can I afford?

  • KeySteps will help you to calculate how much rent you can afford.
  • KeySteps will only issue a Bond where you will be able to afford the rent – for instance if you are under 35 you will only get enough Housing Benefit for a room in a shared house, not a self-contained flat.

I want an extra bedroom, is this possible?            

  • Housing Benefit/Universal Credit will only pay an amount towards your housing costs based on the number of bedrooms you are considered to need, and the location of the property.
  • It is only possible to afford an extra bedroom if you find a reasonably priced property.

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

  • KeySteps will help you to make your claim for Housing Benefit. In some cases it will be possible to arrange for the rent to be paid direct to the landlord.

Can I still apply for social housing even if I apply for a Bond?

  • Yes – but KeySteps cannot issue a Bond for social housing, supported housing or Bed & Breakfast.

The landlord wants rent in advance and an administration fee as well as a deposit. Can you pay these for me?

  • No - KeySteps can only offer to cover your deposit, but we can advise you regarding how to afford other fees, or help you to find a property where they do not apply or cost less.

The landlord will only accept a cash deposit, can you pay cash instead?

  • No - KeySteps cannot provide cash up-front.

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

  • You can apply for another Bond if you still meet the criteria and there wasn’t a claim on your previous Bond.

Do I have to pay the Bond back?

  • We do not insist on you paying back the value of the Bond however we do encourage you to put a little money into our savings scheme when you can afford to.
  • If there is no claim the savings will be paid back to you.
  • If you wish to transfer your Bond to a new property it will help if you have made an effort to save.

I’ve never had a private rental before – how much help can I expect from KeySteps?

  • KeySteps staff are available to help you with all aspects of setting up and maintaining your tenancy, from applying for Housing Benefit or getting repairs done to finding furniture or dealing with changes when you start work – see For Tenants tab.