Rent deposit, bond and guarantee schemes
Your council may have a rent deposit, bond or guarantee scheme. They may know of other local schemes run by charities.
These schemes can help you rent privately with either:
cash to help with a deposit and rent in advance
a written guarantee to the landlord that the scheme will cover unpaid rent or damage up to a certain amount
You may have to pay back money paid out on your behalf.
Who the council helps
Most schemes are for people who are facing homelessness or have an urgent need to move.
This includes when you've received a section 21 notice in your current tenancy or have been asked to leave by friends or family.
Use the Help to Rent database
The homeless charity Crisis have an online database listing schemes across the UK that help people find and keep a private tenancy.
Most schemes on the database are aimed at single people who are homeless or facing homelessness. Some also provide support once you've moved into a private rented home.
Apply for a discretionary housing payment
Discretionary housing payments (DHPs) provide extra help with housing costs from the council. There's a limited budget and not everyone who applies for a DHP gets one.
You can apply if you get housing benefit or the universal credit housing element where you live now.
DHPs can be used to pay for:
rent not already covered by benefits
deposits and rent in advance
If you get a DHP it may be paid direct to your new landlord.
You don't normally have to repay a DHP.
Get an interest free loan if you claim benefits
You can apply for an interest free loan from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) if you claim:
employment and support allowance (ESA) - income related
jobseeker's allowance (JSA) - income based
You must have claimed 1 of these low income benefits for at least 6 months
How to apply if you get universal credit
You may be able to get a budgeting advance.
This can be used for a deposit, rent in advance and removal costs.
Apply for a budgeting advance on the Universal Credit helpline 0800 3285644
Or you can speak to your work coach at Jobcentre Plus.
You won't qualify if your earnings from an employer or self employment over the last 6 months are:
more than £2,600 - if you claim as a single person
more than £3,600 - if you claim with a partner
How to apply if you get other benefits
You may be able to get a budgeting loan if you get one of the other benefits listed.
This can be used for rent in advance and removal costs. It can't be used for a deposit.
You can either:
complete the application online
download and print off form SF500
How much you could get
|Your household||Maximum loan amount|
|Family with children||£812|
Paying back an advance or loan
You usually have to pay the DWP back within:
1 year if you get universal credit
2 years if you get one of the other benefits listed
The DWP will deduct money from your benefits until the loan is repaid.
Need more help?
Find out about:
Extra help if you claim universal credit
Utility bills and your rights
Emergency grants, loans and money help
Last updated: 27 November 2019