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
  • Offer to send a record of your rental history and references from previous landlords

2. Prove you can pay the rent

  • Show wage slips or letters confirming that you can claim housing benefit
  • Offer to pay more than one month's rent in advance
  • Provide a 'guarantor'. This is usually a friend or family member who will pay the rent if you can't
  • Ask the council to pay your housing benefit directly to your landlord

3. Ask someone to negotiate for you

If you are not confident enough to negotiate with a landlord or agent, ask a friend, colleague, family member or advice worker for help.

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 housing advice service.

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

Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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