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Lib Dems launch Help to Rent scheme

Words: Laura Edgar

A Help to Rent scheme has been launched as part of the election campaign by the Liberal Democrats, aimed at supporting young workers to move out of the family home.

Under the scheme, said the Liberal Democrats, people aged 18-30 years old would be able to borrow up £1,500 - £2,000 in London – from the government to go towards a tenancy deposit.

To be eligible for the scheme, tenants have to be in paid employment, not own their on home and cannot be seeking social housing tenancy.

The loans can be paid off over one or two years. Once they have been paid off, the Liberal Democrats said they could be used for future rental properties.

The party explained that the effect of having young working adults in the family can lead to parents either upsizing or delaying downsizing family homes to accommodate older children, which reduces the availability of family homes.

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said it is “simply unfair” that young people are having to live in their childhood bedroom because they can’t afford the upfront costs of a deposit to rent a property despite having a paid job.

“When you get your own job, you want to stand on your own two feet, have your own space, and not have to rely on the bank of mum and dad.

"Our Help to Rent scheme removes this barrier to young people's independence, providing access to up to £2,000 towards their tenancy deposit so they can fly the nest and rent their own space."

Ian Fletcher, BPF director of policy, said: “The announcement builds on the excellent work of the CBI and Shelter, who have encouraged employers to voluntarily offer loans for tenancy deposits, much like loans already offered for travel season tickets.

"Schemes such as these are also made possible by the vast majority of legitimate landlords and agents, who lower the lending risks to the state by signing up to one of three government-sourced deposit-protection schemes."

The party will make the scheme available to eligible tenants in both England and Wales if they are in the UK Government after the general election in May.

Last week, Labour said the party would encourage banks to fund 125,000 homes for first-time buyers in England, while the Conservatives are aiming to double the number of first-time buyers by 2020.