Benefits and debt advice - coronavirus update

Help to pay rent, mortgage and Council Tax

Pay your rent

There are 3 possible ways to get help with paying your rent.

1. Housing Benefit 

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

  • Universal Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance 
  • Income Support 

When you claim Housing Benefit you can also claim help with paying your Council Tax - see below.

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, give details about your rent, including any service charges you may have to pay.

3. Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) 

You can also claim DHP  if you are eligible for housing costs through Housing Benefit 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.

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 and Support Allowance 
  • 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.

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.