Discretionary Housing Payments

Struggling to pay your rent?

If you are struggling to pay your rent, and get a Housing Costs Element in your Universal Credit (or are on Housing Benefit) you can ask the Local Authority/Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment. 

The Local Authority’s budget is limited so you will need to explain your particular difficulties and provide a financial statement showing that you cannot afford the rent that is due.

If you apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, you need to describe your personal circumstances in as much detail as possible to explain why you need the extra help and for how long you are likely to require it. You are more likely to get a payment if you will not need it for very long.

If you apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment, you must continue to pay your full rent until you have been told the outcome of your claim – otherwise arrears will build up on your rent account.

There is no time limit for applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment, so you can ask your Local Authority to cover a period in the past when you were entitled to some Universal Credit and were liable for rent – any payment awarded can help reduce any rent arrears on your rent account.

Sven and Wendy have been claiming Universal Credit since Sven lost his job a few months ago. They have been struggling to keep on top of all their bills and have fallen behind with their rent. Their Income Officer suggests they try for a Discretionary Housing Payment so they complete the form and return it to their Local Authority. They have to attend an interview and explain why they are struggling but they are eventually awarded £100 a month for 6 months.