Get help with rent
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.
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 have to pay back. Only ask for the amount you need.
Make sure you claim all benefits you are entitled to. Use the entitledto benefits calculator to find out what you could get.
In some circumstances, you may be able to get housing benefit to help pay the rent instead.
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 benefits do not cover your full rent you could 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 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
If you can get help with other important bills you will have more money left for your rent.
Check GOV.UK to see if you qualify for:
council tax support - also called council tax reduction
a council tax discount - for example, if you're the only adult in your home
Citizens Advice has more on grants to help with energy debts.
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.
Rent increases and arrears
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Last updated: 9 October 2020