The cost of living is increasing and you might be wondering: can I get help with my rent? If you rent a property directly from a landlord or via a letting agent, you might be able to get help with the costs of renting. Certain benefits or grants to might help you with a tenancy deposit, ongoing rent payments, or household bills.
Can I claim Universal Credit?
If you’re on a low income and have savings of less than £16,000 you can usually claim Universal Credit to help with your living costs.
If you live with your partner, you’ll need to make a joint claim for Universal Credit as their income and savings will be taken into account. This means that even if you are on a low income, you may not get Universal Credit because your partner earns too much.
You can get Universal Credit if you’re self-employed and on a low income, but your payments might change each month depending on how much you earn. You get help towards your rent as part of your monthly Universal Credit payment. This is also called your ‘housing payment’.
If you already get Universal Credit, you can apply for housing payments via your online account. Your housing payment can help you pay rent to a private landlord or a housing association. However, it may not cover all of your rent.
If you fall behind on your rent, you can have your housing payment sent directly to your landlord. The aim is to stop you falling further into rent arrears. This is called an ‘alternative payment arrangement’ (APA).
Can I claim Housing Benefit?
Housing Benefit can help you pay your rent if you’re unemployed, on a low income or claiming other benefits. However, Housing Benefit is being replaced by Universal Credit. You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you have reached State Pension age or you live in supported, sheltered or temporary housing.
Can I get help with a rental deposit?
Most landlords require a month’s rent as a deposit. It can be difficult to save up this money if you have debts or you’re on a low income.
Some councils run rent deposit or rent guarantee schemes. A rent deposit scheme lends you money to pay a tenancy deposit. You’ll pay back the money over time. A rent guarantee scheme (or bond scheme) gives your landlord a written guarantee instead of a cash deposit. You might have to repay the scheme provider any money paid out through the bond.
Contact your local council to find out what rental deposit help is available in your area.
What is a Discretionary Housing Payment?
Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are grants from local councils that you don’t have to pay back. They are designed to help with tenancy deposits, advance rent, removal costs and rent payments.
You will need to be claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit to get a DHP. Each council will only have a limited budget for DHPs and an application for one might not be successful.
What help with rent can I get if I’m a student?
The majority of students renting are expected to pay their housing costs from their maintenance loan. How much maintenance loan you’ll get depends on how much your parents earn – they are expected to help you with your living costs at university.
Most students won’t be able to claim Universal Credit. The main exceptions to this are if you’re studying part-time, are under 21 and can’t live with your parents, you live with your partner, you have children living with you, or you get certain disability benefits.
Students who find themselves in financial hardship should contact their student welfare officer for advice. There are often grants and bursaries you can apply for.
Can I get help with household bills?
If you rent a property you’ll normally be responsible for the council tax and bills for the property too. Some people on Universal Credit or Housing Benefit will be entitled to a ‘council tax reduction’. You’ll need to apply to your local council for this.
You may also get extra help with your energy bills during the current energy crisis. The government is giving low income households £650 to help with their living costs – the first instalment has already been paid and the second instalment is due in the Autumn.
Last Updated: October 7th, 2022