If you rent from the council or a housing association you can get help if you’re having problems affording your rent. If you’ve missed a rent payment you’ll be in ‘arrears’ – this means you owe rent to your council or housing association landlord. It’s important to act quickly because you could be evicted if you get behind with your rent.

If you can’t make your next rent payment

If you can’t afford your next rent payment you should talk to your landlord and let them know as soon as possible. Your landlord is the local council or housing association you pay rent to. Find their contact details on your tenancy agreement or any letters you’ve had from them. It’s best to call up and speak to them. Explain why you’re finding it hard to pay your rent. Ask if they can give you any time to get help paying your rent. If you think you can make your payment on a later date it’s worth asking if they will accept that. After you’ve spoken to your landlord you should check what help you could get paying your rent.

If your landlord won’t agree to help you

It’s a good idea to pay your landlord as much as you can afford. This could help you if your landlord tries to evict you or you ask for housing help from the council. It shows you’re trying to pay what you can.

If you have a joint tenancy

If someone you live with stops paying their share of the rent, the council might try to make you pay for it. You can find out more about joint tenancies.

Check you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to

You can check what benefits you can get.

Ask for a discretionary housing payment

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn’t cover all your rent, you might be able to get discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP is extra money from your local council to help pay your rent – you don’t need to pay it back. You need to be getting Housing Benefit or the housing costs part of Universal Credit to get a DHP. You can ask your local council for a DHP claim form – find your local council’s contact details on gov.uk. Keep a copy of the DHP claim form for your records. Your local council doesn’t have to give you a DHP – it depends on your circumstances. Speak to an adviser if you need help filling in a DHP claim form.

If you’ve got a spare room

If you can’t get enough money to pay your rent you could ask to move to a smaller home or check if you could get a lodger.

Move to a smaller home

You might not get enough benefits to pay your rent if your home is too big for you. This is because your housing benefit or the housing part of Universal Credit is reduced because of the bedroom tax. If you can’t afford to make up the difference you might be able to move to a home with fewer bedrooms.

Check if you could get a lodger

A lodger is someone who pays you rent to live in a spare room in your home. You can also ask them to help out with bills. Getting a lodger could affect your benefits – it’s important to check if you’ll be better off or not. Depending on your tenancy type you might need to have permission from your landlord. Read more about getting a lodger and how to check if it would make you better off.