Help with paying your rent
In addition to housing benefit, we can offer further financial assistance to help with your rent.
Discretionary Housing payments
Discretionary Housing payments are available to people who are receiving housing benefit, (including the housing element of universal credit), and are unable to pay their full rent.
The discretionary housing payment fund is cash-limited, we cannot guarantee an award.
Discretionary housing payments can help if:
- Housing benefit or the housing element in your Universal Credit does not cover your full rent
- You need help with the cost of moving
- You have a Benefit cap applied to either your housing benefit or Universal Credit
We cannot exceed the total amount of rent due.
Discretionary housing payments cannot cover:
- Heating costs
- Lighting costs
- Hot water/water rates
- Service charges not covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- Increases in rent due to outstanding arrears
- Shortfalls caused by 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 Rent in Advance will only be paid in exceptional circumstances and the move is to a property where the rent is affordable.
If you need help to fill in this form, please contact 01954 713 000.
If you have any supporting documents to support the reason for applying, for example, medical certificates or doctors’ letters, please upload them on the online form.
How the outcome is decided
Each case is considered individually, and the amount paid can vary depending on the circumstances of the 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 take into consideration your total income and savings and compare this to your outgoings.
In addition to your application, we may contact you to discuss your claim in more detail. You may be required to attend a money advisory service meeting or speak with our housing advice team.
We will try to make a decision within 4 weeks from when we get your application, and we will notify you in writing of the outcome.
What to do if you disagree with the decision
If you disagree with our decision not to award a discretionary housing payment, the amount we have decided to give you or how long we will give you a payment for, you can ask us to look at the decision again.
Please let us know within 1 calendar month of the date on the decision letter, detailing why you do not agree with our decision. You cannot appeal to the Tribunals Service if you disagree with our decision not to give you a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Social housing under occupation
If you are under-occupying your home, you can apply for the under-occupation scheme to get help in moving to a smaller property. This can help reduce housing or rent costs and it can free up larger properties for families who are waiting to be housed.
Local housing allowance
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much housing benefit you can get if you rent from a private landlord. The amount you can get is based on where you live and how many bedrooms you are entitled to under the rules of the scheme.
Find out more about Local Housing Allowance on the Valuation Office Agency website
Our benefits service offers additional support to our residents with understanding, applying, and ensuring they are in receipt of any benefits they are entitled to, along with ensuring that they are maximising their income by reviewing income and expenditure.
If you feel that you need assistance with ensuring you are receiving all of the benefits you are entitled to, then please complete a financial support referral form.
If you have are finding it hard to meet all your financial commitments, you should seek independent advice as soon as possible. You can contact the following organisations for advice:
- Age Concern helpline - 0800 055 6112
- Citizens UK Bureau - 0345 404 0506
- Money Advice - 0800 138 7777
- National Debtline - 0808 808 4000
- StepChange Debt Charity - 0800 138 1111
If you are at risk of becoming homeless or you are worried about your housing situation, it is important to act as soon as possible. Call our Housing Advice Team on 01954 713 000 to book an appointment