How to rent when a landlord won’t accept housing benefit

Some private landlords don't want to rent to tenants who claim housing benefit. Follow these four steps to convince them to rent to you.

1 Explain your housing history

  • Prepare what you are going to say to the landlord or agent when you contact them about their property
  • Don't start the conversation by asking if the landlord accepts people on benefits
  • Begin by explaining why you want to live in their property, and why you would be a good tenant
  • Focus on positive points such as that you've always paid your rent on time. Offer to send a record of your rental history and references from landlords

2 Prove you can pay the rent

Show the landlord pay slips or your current housing benefit receipts. Other options include:

  • Offer to pay more than one month's rent in advance
  • Provide the name of someone who will guarantee to pay the rent if you can't. This 'guarantor' is usually a close family member or friend
  • Ask the council if it will pay your housing benefit paid directly into the landlord's account

3 Ask someone to negotiate for you

If you are not confident enough to negotiate, ask someone who knows you well to do it. This might be a friend, colleague or family member who has dealt with landlords before.

4 Find landlords who accept housing benefit

Your local council may keep a list of private landlords who accept tenants on housing benefit. Ask their housing options or similar service.

Child walking along a wall

Some websites list properties where housing benefit will be accepted.

  • Property Adzuna – look for 'DSS accepted' as an exact phrase in Advance Search
  • Spare Room – scroll down to the bottom of the search form and select 'DSS OK'
  • DSS Move – search the nearest large town to you but be aware that some searches will return no results

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