Help to pay rent

If you rent your home and have a low income, or get welfare benefits, you may be entitled to help to pay your rent. This section explains all about Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance, as well as some other benefits.

Check if you're entitled to benefits

Use the Turn2us benefit calculator

You’ll need information on your household’s:

  • income and savings

  • outgoings, such as rent

  • existing benefits and pensions

  • council tax bill

Get help managing your money

Services that can help with budgeting, applying for benefits, and debt:

You may have heard about changes to benefits. You might want to check if the bedroom tax or the benefits cap affect you.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Universal Credit and help to pay rent

Find out if you could be entitled to claim Universal Credit for help to pay your rent and how to apply.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is gradually being phased out and replaced by Universal Credit. Only some people can still make a new claim for Housing Benefit. This page provides information about who may still be eligible and how to apply.

Applying for Discretionary Housing Payments

A Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) is money you can get from the council if your benefits do not cover your full rent.

Changes you need to report if you get benefits

If your circumstances change, it may affect how much benefit you can get. This page explains what changes you need to report and how to report them.

The 'bedroom tax'

If you have a spare bedroom and you're renting from the council or a housing association and getting housing costs through Universal Credit or are getting Housing Benefit, then the amount of benefit you receive may be reduced. This is commonly known as 'the bedroom tax'.

The benefit cap

The benefit cap will affect families and single parents across Scotland from July 2013. Find out more about how the benefit cap will affect you.

Universal Credit and Housing Benefit for students

Most full-time students are not entitled to any help towards their rent from either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, however there are some exceptions.

If you disagree with a Housing Benefit decision

If you receive a letter or an explanation from the Housing Benefit department that you disagree with, there are things you can do to get your benefits decision looked at again.

Your Housing Benefit decision letter

How to work out what your housing benefit decision letter means. What to do if you disagree with it or want to know how the council decided what benefit you will receive.

Help to pay rent if you're a private renter

If you rent from a private landlord and you are on a low income you might be entitled to help towards paying your rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. Find out how the amount you can get is calculated and information about Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Help to pay your rent if you rent from the council or a housing association

If you rent from the council or a housing association and you are on a low income you might be entitled to help towards paying your rent through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. Find out how the amount you can get is calculated.

Waiting for a Housing Benefit claim to be processed

What to expect while you are waiting for a Housing Benefit benefit decision. And what to do if you haven't heard anything from your council about your Housing Benefit claim.

Getting your benefits backdated

You can get your benefits like Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction backdated if you can show good cause. There are limits to how far back you can get benefits backdated.

Help with housing costs if you're under 35

If you're single, under 35, with no dependents and you rent from a private landlord and claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, the amount you get is based on the cost of a single room in shared accommodation. This is called the 'shared accommodation rate'.

Help to pay rent before I move in?

You may need to start paying rent on a new home before you move in. You may be able to claim housing benefit to cover your rent before you move in.

Universal Credit and Housing Benefit for two homes

Normally you can only get Universal Credit or Housing Benefit for one home at a time. However there are special circumstances where it may be possible to have your benefit paid for more than one home. Find out what these circumstances are and how to apply.

Help to pay rent while you are away from home

You might get Universal Credit or Housing Benefit if you are away from home, but only under certain conditions. Check if you're eligible and how long you might be able to claim for.

Housing benefit for your notice period

You may be able to get housing benefit for up to four weeks after you move. Housing benefit usually stops the day you move out of your home but there are exceptions.

If you rent from a family member

You may not be able to claim Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs if you pay rent to a family member or partner.

Claiming Housing Benefit - What forms do I need?

Find out how to make claiming housing benefit go as smoothly as possible. What forms you need to claim and more.

Last updated: 5 January 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England