Get help with the cost of renting privately

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

You might be able to get benefits or grants to help you with the cost of renting from a private landlord or through a letting agent.

It’s important to work out what you’ll need to pay before you move in, so you'll know if you can afford to rent the property.

Read more about how much it costs to rent.

You’ll also need to budget for your rent and regular bills - for example gas, electricity and council tax. You can use a budgeting tool to help you work out how much money you’ll need to pay your bills.

If you can’t pay your rent

Talk to an adviser if you don’t have enough money to live on.

You might be able to get help with emergency expenses if you need food or money quickly.

Help paying your rent deposit

It can be difficult to save up for a deposit, particularly if you’re on a low income.

Your local council might be able to cover the cost of your deposit through a rent deposit scheme or rent guarantee scheme.

A rent deposit scheme lends you money in advance for a deposit, which you’ll pay back over time.

A rent guarantee scheme (or bond scheme) gives your landlord a written guarantee - known as a bond - instead of a cash deposit. If you have problems paying your deposit, the scheme provider will use the bond to pay your landlord - this means you don't have to pay the deposit yourself.

You might have to repay the scheme provider any money paid out through the bond.

You might also be able to get a deposit through a homelessness prevention fund or social services. You might need to pay the money back over time - every council has different rules.

You can get more information from your local council - find your local council on GOV.UK.

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

Check if you can get Universal Credit.

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

You might be able to get extra money if you're already claiming benefits. The extra money you could get depends on what benefits you're claiming.

You might be able to get a budgeting loan if you're getting:

  • Income Support

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Pension Credit

A budgeting loan can help you pay:

  • rent in advance

  • other moving costs, for example hiring a van or buying new furniture if the place is unfurnished

You'll need to repay the loan. Read more about budgeting loans on GOV.UK.

If your benefits don't pay all your rent

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t cover all your rent and you need more money, you could make a claim for a discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP is extra money from your local council to help pay your rent.

You need to claim Housing Benefit or the housing costs part of Universal Credit to get a DHP. You can ask your local council for a claim form.

It's a good idea to keep a copy of the form for your records.

Your local council doesn’t have to give you a DHP - it depends on your circumstances. If you can’t pay your rent and you can’t get a DHP, you should talk to your landlord as soon as possible. Read more about getting help with rent arrears.

Talk to an adviser if you need help filling in a DHP claim form.

Using a guarantor

You might be able to get a landlord to accept you if you have a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who will agree to pay your rent if you can’t, for example if you lose your job.

Getting a council tax reduction

You might be able to pay less council tax by claiming ‘council tax reduction’.

You could get a council tax reduction if you:

  • have a low income or get benefits

  • have less than £16,000 in savings

  • live in the property you want to pay less council tax for

  • are responsible for paying council tax

You might be able to pay less council tax even if you’re not on a low income or getting benefits. This is called a council tax discount. You can apply if you live on your own or are the only adult in your home. Read more about council tax discount on GOV.UK.

You might not have to pay any council tax, for example if:

  • you or someone you live with has a severe mental disability

  • you’re a carer for someone who isn’t your partner or child

Check if you can pay less council tax.

Other help and support you can get

You might be able to get other benefits to help with your renting costs if you’re on a low income. Check what benefits you can get.

Talk to an adviser to find out if any charities in your area can help with your renting costs.

Next steps

Get help with rent arrears.

Help us improve our website

Take 3 minutes to tell us if you found what you needed on our website. Your feedback will help us give millions of people the information they need.

Page last reviewed on 01 December 2022