Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) is a discretionary fund that the Local Authority administers to  make up the shortfall in a households rental liability.  

To qualify an applicant must be in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

We will look at your circumstances to see whether or not you are eligible for a DHP and how much you will be paid and for how long you will receive the payment. The amount and length of award will depend on your circumstances and the amount of money we have available, but this would not exceed more than 52 weeks.

The Council recently launched a new online system for residents to manage their council tax and benefit accounts online. With the success of the online system and almost all new claims now made online, the Council has taken the decision to add the application for Discretionary Housing Payments online as well.

Paper forms will no longer be accepted from 1 April 2018.

Our new online form is easier to complete as you only have to answer the questions relevant to your circumstances. It is also quicker as we receive your application on the same day, meaning we can make a decision faster.

Eligibility for help

You can only receive a DHP towards your rent, if your receiving housing benefit. 

Please note: you will need to demonstrate that due to your personal circumstances you need extra help with your housing costs.

Qualifying for DHP

These are examples of some of the factors we take into account:

  • you have unavoidable extra expenses due to short term illness or significant health problems
  • you are having difficulty paying your rent whilst you look for cheaper accommodation
  • the Local Housing Allowance does not cover your full rent
  • your income has reduced due to the benefit cap
  • you are receiving Universal Credit and have a rental liability
  • you are receiving less housing benefit because you are under occupying  your property
  • your choice of housing was beyond your control due to urgency or special needs
  • you have unusual or special circumstances
  • when you moved into the property you could afford the rent but your circumstances changed and you cannot move until your tenancy ends
  • to help you with short-term rental costs until you are able to secure and move to alternative accommodation
  • to help with short-term rental costs while you look for employment
  • to help with on-going rental costs if you are a  disabled person in adapted accommodation
  • to help with on-going rental costs for foster carer
  • to help with short term rental costs for any other reason.

This list is a guide only and will not cover all circumstances. Each case is considered on its merits.

We also look at other factors such as:

  • if you have savings
  • if anyone in the household can provide financial help
  • if you have other debts
  • have you chosen to rent an over-expensive property without the means to pay the rent
  • if you have tried to re-negotiate the rent with the landlord.

DHP payment

Once you are awarded a DHP, we will tell you the amount you will get, and when payments will start.

Rent will be paid to a private landlord or housing association and the DHP will be included in housing benefit payments. However, if your rent is paid to the council, the DHP would be paid into the rent account inline with your housing benefit.

If your circumstances have changed and you were overpaid, you are expected to repay the overpayment.

It is very important therefore, that you tell us of any changes in your circumstances which may decrease your award,  so that we can avoid overpaying. 

Tell us if you have had: 

  • an increase in income
  • change in household composition
  • change of rental liability/address.

Apply for a discretionary housing payment

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