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Help with paying your rent

On this page you can find out about : 

Discretionary Housing Payments

Apply for a discretionary housing payment

These are extra payments for people getting Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit. They're for those who can’t pay their full rent.

The Discretionary Housing Payment Fund is cash-limited, which means we can’t guarantee that you’ll get this payment. 

Discretionary Housing Payment can help if:

  • your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover all your rent
  • you need help with moving costs
  • there's a Benefit cap on your Housing Benefit or Universal Credit

We can’t give you more than the total amount of rent you have to pay.

What it won’t cover:

  • meals
  • heating
  • lighting
  • hot water/water rates
  • service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
  • rent increase from unpaid arrears
  • shortfalls from Housing Benefit overpayment recovery
  • repayments of Universal Credit advance payments
  • when Housing Benefit payments are suspended
  • certain sanctions or reductions in what you are entitled to
  • Council Tax 

Applications for Discretionary Housing Payment will only be paid in exceptional circumstances and if your move is to a home which has an affordable rent.

  • we will need to see statements for the last 2 months for all bank/savings accounts you and your partner have, so please upload these when you make your application.
  • if you have any documents supporting your application (like medical certificates or a doctor’s letter) please upload these as well.

How the outcome is decided

Each situation is different, so we carefully consider every case.

We look at the following things when looking at your application:

  • your income
  • your savings
  • if anyone else can help you
  • if you have any loans or debts
  • if you could manage your money better
  • if you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled
  • if you have tried to put the situation right yourself

We also check your total income and savings and compare this to your outgoings.

If needed, we might contact you to discuss your claim in more detail, perhaps in a meeting with our money advisory service or housing advice team.

Timeframe for making a decision

We will try to make a decision within 4 weeks from when we get your application. We'll let you know the outcome in writing.

What to do if you disagree with the decision

If you don't agree with our decision not to award a discretionary housing payment, or the amount we're giving you, you can ask us to review it.

Please tell us within 1 month of receiving our decision letter, explaining why you disagree. Keep in mind, you can't appeal to the Tribunals Service for this.

Social Housing Under Occupation

If your home is too big for your needs, you can apply for the Under-Occupation scheme.

This can help you move to a smaller home, which will help reduce your housing or rent costs. It also opens up larger homes for families waiting to be housed.

Apply to be part of the Under-Occupation Scheme


Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much Housing Benefit you can get when renting from a private landlord. The amount you can get depends on where you live and the number of bedrooms you are entitled to claim for.

Find out more about Local Housing Allowance on the Valuation Office Agency website

We can help you understand, apply for, and make sure you get all the benefits that you’re entitled to. If you think you need help in getting all the benefits you should, then please complete a financial support referral form

Independent advice

If managing your money feels tough, it's important to get help as soon as possible. You can reach out to these organisations for independent advice:

Risk of becoming homeless

If you’re at risk of becoming homeless or worried about your housing situation, it’s important to act as soon as possible. Call our Housing Advice Team on 01954 713 000 to book an appointment.