Benefits and debt advice

Help to pay rent, mortgage and Council Tax

Pay your rent

There are three possible ways to get help with paying your rent.

Tenants from the private or social sector, who are at risk of homelessness because of rent arrears that occurred as a direct result of the Covid-19 restrictions or because of the cost of living crisis, may be eligible for a discretionary grant to reduce or clear these rent arrears. This is called the Tenant Grant Fund.

1. Housing Benefit (HB)

May be an option if you are eligible for a ‘legacy benefit’ such as

  • Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 
  • Jobseekers Allowance

which include a severe disability premium. You may also be able to claim HB if you are of state pension age or living in temporary accommodation.

When you claim HB you can also claim help with paying your Council Tax.

2. Universal Credit (UC)

Is the most likely way of getting help with paying rent. When making a claim for UC either online or by phone, make sure you give details about your rent, including any service charges you may have to pay.

3. Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) 

Could also be claimed if you are eligible for housing costs through HB or UC.

Apply for DHP
Please note when claiming DHP it is important that you state the full detail of your household expenditure. Often people think they should not include detail such as TV subscriptions, alcohol or smoking costs, and they can forget to include insurance costs. These can all be counted as legitimate costs which may improve the chance of being awarded DHP.

With many tenants’ income now being disrupted, payment of rent may suffer. As this is a priority to maintain accommodation, tenants must keep in touch with their landlord to work out how rent can be paid. There will be no evictions from Council housing during this period of crisis but unpaid rent will still be sought.

Tenants renting from a private landlord are more at risk from losing their tenancy if the rent is not paid. It is important that tenants communicate with their landlord and get advice as early as possible.

Pay your mortgage

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage then you may get help direct from your mortgage provider. You may be able to agree a three-month mortgage payment holiday. Contact your mortgage provider to find out more.

If you are on a low income and claiming benefits such as Universal Credit, Employment & Support Allowance or Income Support you may be eligible for assistance from the DWP to pay your mortgage interest. See Support for mortgage interest for details. 

Please note the Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) scheme is a loan that must be paid back. It may be advisable to get advice before entering into a SMI arrangement.

Pay your Council Tax

There is assistance available for people on low incomes, living alone or in special circumstances - see the help to pay Council Tax page on our website for details.

There are many people who get into debt with their Council Tax and there can be a significant cost to repaying such debt. Never forget to deal with Council Tax matters – there is help available to get you through difficult times.