Get help with renting costs
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.
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 Housing Benefit
You might be able to get extra money to help you pay your rent.
You might be able to get Housing Benefit if you:
- are on a low income with savings below £16,000 - this will depend on your circumstances
- rent a property
- are a UK resident
Housing Benefit has been replaced by Universal Credit (UC)
Universal Credit (UC) is a new benefit that is replacing Housing Benefit. You might be able to claim the housing element of UC to help you pay your rent.
Not all landlords accept contract holders who get benefits. Check if your local council has a list of landlords and letting agents who rent to people getting Housing Benefit. You can get contact details for your local council on GOV.UK.
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.
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.
If you're getting income-related benefits
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
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.