Employers helping renters

Today, in partnership with Shelter, the Greater London Authority & the Department of Communities & Local Government (DCLG), The Co-operative group launched their rental deposit loan scheme. Over 70,000 employees will now have access to a low cost, low risk source of tenancy deposit funding.

This is a significant milestone for the scheme that Shelter pioneered in November 2013. It proves that it can work across the third, public and private sector; and that it can be adapted for a workforce on a wide range of incomes. We hope that The Co-operative’s adoption of the scheme is a watershed moment, with other employers following in their footsteps.

Adrian Shooter, The Co-operative Group Director of Resourcing and Diversity, explains why they have taken the opportunity to help their staff with housing costs:

 “House hunting and moving home are stressful times, and if you’re renting, having to find a hefty deposit can be a big ask and pile on more pressure.  At The Co-operative, we regularly look to find practical ways in which we can support our colleagues, outside of their normal pay and reward benefits.   So, when Shelter approached us with this innovative way to provide real assistance for people struggling to find these deposits by offering interest-free loans, we were delighted to get involved.

 “With more than 70,000 employees across the country, a large number of our colleagues are likely to rent houses from private landlords and this new scheme will be invaluable for them.  According to research by My Deposits, renters in England pay an average of £1,200 for deposits when they move into privately rented homes.  For the vast majority of people, this kind of money isn’t readily available at your fingertips.

 “The number of people renting is increasing rapidly, and we want to make sure we’re responding to our colleagues’ needs as people’s lifestyles change. 

 “In terms of providing these interest-free loans, we’ve worked really hard to ensure we turn the application around within five days, and pay the money straight into the employee’s bank account.  This means people can receive the cash quickly and easily, which is vital when there is intense competition for properties, as is often the case, and you need to act fast to secure your new home.

 “As a responsible employer, we’ve taken the decision to enable employees to borrow a maximum of 80% of their four-weekly pay, as we think this is a sensible amount for people to then pay back in equal payments across the year.  The scheme is open to all colleagues who have completed their probationary period, and who aren’t leaving during the loan period.

 “It’s no surprise to me that we’re the first major employer to offer this scheme to our employees across the UK, as The Co-operative’s always keen to pioneer better ways of doing business.  However, I don’t think it’ll be long before more companies follow our lead and also sign up. 

 “The rental deposit scheme is a great benefit to offer our employees and I’m expecting it to be really popular.  As a socially responsible employer, we also feel an interest-free loan from us allows employees to avoid borrowing from other means and incurring high levels of interest.  It might not be ‘bank of mum and dad’, but it’s a fair, sensible option for employers to demonstrate their willingness to support and improve the lives of their employees.”

If you would like to find out more about the scheme, and how you can implement it, please contact me at chris_thorne@shelter.org.uk

One Comment
  1. Wonderful! I actually “thought up” this idea last year, when I had to borrow £2000 from my bank just to afford to move in to a new flat, in order to start a new job. The bank was reluctant to lend me money without seeing a job contract, and the job was reluctant to give me a contract before the starting date, but it worked out in the end. Not ideal that I’m still paying back the loan installments on top of extortionate rent, though :)…

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