Rent in advance

Private landlords usually ask for at least a month's rent up front. Find out if you can get help to pay rent in advance.

Payments before you move in

Most private landlords ask you to pay at least a month’s rent in advance to cover your first rent payment.

Some landlords will ask for more. For example, 2 months' rent up front.

You're often asked for a tenancy deposit too. This payment should be returned to you at the end of the tenancy unless the landlord has a reason to make deductions.

If you pay rent in advance and a deposit at the same time, make sure it's clear:

  • what each payment is for
  • how much rent is covered by the payment

Ask for a receipt if you hand over cash.

Payments after you move in

Check your tenancy agreement to find out what date your rent is due.

Most landlords ask you to pay your rent at the start of every rental period.

If you've paid more than a month's rent in advance, you won't usually have to make another rent payment until the period you've already paid for has passed.

Make a DHP claim for rent in advance

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from your local council to help with rent in advance for a new tenancy. 

To apply, you must be getting housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit in your current home.  

If you get a DHP for rent in advance it may be paid direct to your new landlord.

You don't have to repay a DHP.

Budgeting advances and budgeting loans

You may be able to get a budgeting advance or budgeting loan to help with rent in advance.

To qualify, you must have been claiming 1 of the following benefits for at least 6 months:

  • universal credit
  • income support
  • income based jobseeker's allowance (JSA)
  • income related employment and support allowance (ESA)
  • pension credit

You have to repay the advance or loan from future benefit payments.

Apply for a budgeting advance if you get universal credit  

Apply for a budgeting loan if you get 1 of the other listed benefits

Other local schemes 

Some councils, housing associations and charities run schemes to help people on a low income with up front costs when moving home.

Contact your local council to ask about schemes in your area

Use the Crisis Help to Rent database to search for a scheme


Last updated 16 Sep 2019 | © Shelter

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