You can't afford the rent for your council home

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

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. If you’re worried about this, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

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

Use a benefits calculator to find out what benefits you could get. You’ll need to know your income and the income of anyone who lives with you.

If you’re still not sure what you could get contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau - they’ll do a full benefits check to find out what you’re entitled to.

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 will need to contact your local council to apply.

Your local council doesn’t have to give you a DHP - it depends on your circumstances.

You can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau 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 be able to move to a home with fewer bedrooms.

Find out more about transfers and exchanges on the Shelter Scotland website.

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.

Find out more about getting a lodger on the Shelter Scotland website.