If you’re struggling to pay your rent
If you don’t have enough money to pay your rent there are things you can do.
If your rent has gone up, check if your landlord was allowed to increase your rent.
If you’re behind with rent payments
You should take action as quickly as possible. You can check how to deal with rent arrears.
Check if you can get Universal Credit for housing costs
You might be able to get extra money to help you pay your rent. Lots of people miss out on benefits they’re entitled to - so it’s worth checking what you can get.
You might be able to get Universal Credit for housing costs if all the following apply:
- you’re on a low income - this will depend on your circumstances
- you have savings below £16,000
- you rent a home
- you live in the UK
In some situations you’ll have to claim Housing Benefit instead of Universal Credit. This applies if:
you, and your partner if you've got one, have reached State Pension age – check your state pension age on GOV.UK
- you or your partner has been getting Pension Credit since before 15 May 2019
- you live in temporary accommodation
- your landlord’s a county council, registered charity, voluntary organisation or housing association and they give you care or support
- you get accommodation from a county council, registered charity, voluntary organisation or housing association because you need care or support
You can check if you can get Housing Benefit.
If you already get benefits
The government will send you a 'cost of living payment' if you get certain benefits, for example:
- Universal Credit
- Personal Independence Payments
- Attendance Allowance
- Winter Fuel Payments
If you already get benefits and you’re not sure you’re getting the right amount, talk to an adviser.
If Universal Credit or Housing Benefit doesn’t cover all of your rent
You can make a claim for a discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP is a single payment from your local council to help pay your rent. Your local council will decide whether to give you a DHP based on your circumstances.
Ask your local council for a claim form. You can find your local council on GOV.UK. It's a good idea to keep a copy of the form for your records.
You should give the local council more information about your situation, for example:
- how much Universal Credit or Housing Benefit you get
- how much you earn and spend
- why you can’t afford to pay your rent
- how not getting a DHP would affect you
- why you can’t afford to move somewhere smaller or cheaper
- any hardship being caused to any dependants, for example children or elderly relatives
If you need help filling in a DHP claim form, talk to an adviser.
Check if you can pay less council tax
You might be able to pay less or no council tax if for example:
- you have low income or no income
- you’re the only adult who lives in your home
- you or someone you live with has a severe mental disability
- you’re a carer for someone who isn’t your partner or child
If you can’t pay your rent
You should speak to your landlord or letting agency and tell them if you can’t pay your rent. They don’t have to help, but they might give you extra time to pay or reduce your payments.
There’s a risk that your landlord or letting agency might try to evict you, even if you haven’t missed any payments yet. If you’re worried that you might get evicted, talk to an adviser.
If you’re struggling with other bills
You should make a budget for your rent and other regular bills - for example gas, electricity and council tax. You can use your budget to understand where you might be able to save money.
Use the budgeting tool on the National Debtline website to make your budget.
If you’re struggling with the cost of living, you can get help to pay your bills.