Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Get help with rent

You could:

  • claim universal credit (UC)

  • apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP)

  • look at grants from charities

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

Universal credit

Check you're getting all benefits you are entitled to. Use the entitledto benefits calculator to find out what you could get.

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.

You could get a universal credit advance. This is a DWP loan that you have to pay back. Your UC payments will be lower while you pay it back. Only ask for what you need.

You can get housing benefit to help with rent if you live in a hostel, refuge or some types of supported or temporary housing. You can still get UC for your other living costs.

Video: How long it takes to get universal credit

Video transcript

It takes at least 5 weeks from firstly making your online claim to receiving your first payment.

You can apply for a universal credit advance for essential items such as food and rent before your first payment's made.

Ask for an advance via your online account or speak to your work coach, or you can call the universal credit helpline.

Universal credit advance is an interest free loan which is normally paid back over 12 months.

This can be deducted from your universal credit future payments. So it's really important that you only ask for what you need.

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

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from your local council if your benefits do not cover your full rent.

Each council has their own policy and decide how much is offered on an individual basis.

You do not have to pay a DHP back.

Easy read advice

Find easy read advice about discretionary housing payments (DHPs) on the Mencap website.

Grants from charities

Some charities offer grants to people in certain situations. You do not have to pay these back.

Use the Turn2us grant search tool to find out if you can get help. Try adding more details on the second page such as your occupation or health issues to find more grants.

Avoid payday loans

Payday loans are expensive and can make your situation worse. They are not a long term solution to financial problems.

You do not have to leave if you miss a rent payment. Your landlord can only make you leave if they follow a legal eviction process.

You could come up with a repayment plan. Find out how to deal with missed rent payments.

Find out about emergency grants, loans and money help if you cannot afford things like rent, food or energy bills.

Rent increases

Find out more about rent increases for private tenants.

Cost of living help

The Trussell Trust Help through Hardship helpline can give you personalised support with money, benefits and mental health.

Last updated: 2 October 2023

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help