A Guide to Social Housing

Paying Rent in a Social Tenancy

Rent is money paid by tenants to landlords in return for living in their property.


You and your landlord will agree on the amount of rent to be paid before your tenancy starts. You should not be expected to pay any rent until the day you move into the property.

Your tenancy agreement will state:

  • how much is your rent

  • when is the rent due

  • on which day should the rent be paid

  • how should be the rent paid (standing order, direct debit, cheque or cash)

Increases in rent

Your landlord has the right to increase your rent, this normally happens once a year. The landlord must give you at least four weeks' notice, in writing, before doing so. In addition, the landlord must consult you before increasing your rent and should take your views into account.

Help to pay your rent

If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to help to pay your rent from via universal credit or housing benefit.

If you are already claiming universal credit or housing benefit, but it does not cover all of the rent, you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment to help with the difference, or even to help towards paying off any arrears.

You should also arrange for a benefit check with a specialist adviser. Even if you're already claiming benefits, you may not be claiming everything you're entitled to.

Rent arrears

If you have rent arrears, don't ignore them, as your landlord will have grounds to start legal proceedings for eviction. Talk to your landlord and discuss how you will clear your arrears. Your landlord is much more likely to be sympathetic if they know that you are trying to resolve the matter.

If you are having money issues try contacting an agency such as Money Advice Scotland. A money adviser can help you look at your spending and help create an affordable budget plan.

Last updated: 5 October 2020

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