Help to pay a deposit and first month's rent

A private landlord or letting agent can ask you for up to 2 months’ rent as a deposit. If you cannot afford to pay a deposit, you could get help from a rent deposit scheme, a grant, or the council.

Find a rent deposit scheme

If you cannot afford a deposit or first month's rent, there are schemes that could help you get a private tenancy. These are sometimes called rent deposit schemes or rent guarantee schemes.

Usually you can get help from a scheme if you’re:

  • 18 or over

  • homeless or about to become homeless

  • on a low income or getting benefits

You can find a rent deposit scheme near you on the Crisis website.

Some schemes will help you:

  • find somewhere to rent

  • pay your deposit and first month's rent

  • check that the home is safe for you

  • find furniture

  • apply for benefits

  • budget costs for your new home

Not all schemes will offer all of this, so check what the scheme provider can offer.

Check if you need to pay the money back

Some deposit schemes will negotiate with the landlord on your behalf to get a lower rent and deposit. Others will pay the landlord the money and agree on a payment plan for you to pay them back.

In some cases, if the scheme pays your deposit they'll get it back from the landlord when you move out. This means you do not have to pay the scheme back, unless the deposit needs to be used for damage you've caused.

Other forms of help

If you're not eligible for a rent deposit scheme, you could get other help.

If you get Universal Credit or Housing Benefit and need help with rent or a deposit, apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Check you're getting all the benefits you're eligible for with the Turn2us benefits calculator.

If you’re on benefits or a low income, you could get a charitable grant. Use Turn2Us to search for grants in your area.

To pay for household items, clothing and moving costs, apply for a community care grant.

Contact the council if you cannot find a place to live. They can help you with you look at your options and apply for a home.

Last updated: 4 October 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England