Get help with rent

Find out about benefits and other payments that can help you pay rent.

Your options

You could:

  • claim universal credit
  • apply for a discretionary housing payment
  • look at grants from charities
  • get help with bills and council tax

You can also get help with the upfront costs of moving into a new home.

Universal credit

If you are on a low income you can usually claim universal credit. You get help towards your rent as part of your monthly payment.

You usually have to wait at least 5 weeks for your first payment, but you can ask for a universal credit advance. This is a loan that you will have to pay back. Only ask for the amount you need.

In some circumstances, you may be able to get housing benefit to help pay the rent instead.

Make sure you claim all benefits that you are entitled to. Use the entitledto benefits calculator to find out what you could get.

Universal credit: how long it takes and money in advance

Our adviser Sam explains how long universal credit takes and why you should only ask for what you need in advance.  [video length: 0:36]

Discretionary housing payments

If your benefit payments do not cover the cost of your rent you may be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from your local council.

Different councils have different policies and decide how much is offered on a case by case basis.

You don’t normally have to pay a DHP back.

Grants from charities

Some charities offer grants to people in certain situations. You won’t have to pay these back.

Use the Turn2us grant search tool to find out if you can get help.

Tip: try adding more details on the second page such as your occupation or health issues to find more grants.

Help with council tax and bills

You may be able to get help with other household costs so you have enough money to pay your rent.

You could get:

Avoid payday loans

Payday loans are expensive and can make your situation worse. They don't provide a long term solution to financial difficulties.

It is always best to try and find a way to pay your rent, but if you miss a payment you won't always lose your home. You can come up with a repayment plan that your landlord may agree to.

If your landlord does take action to evict you they must follow a process. This takes time. You cannot be legally evicted from your home straight away.

When you're in rent arrears

Find out what to do if you are in rent arrears and struggling to keep up with payments.

How to deal with rent increases

You don’t always have to agree to a rent increase. You may be able to negotiate with your landlord.


Last updated 28 Nov 2019 | © Shelter

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