Discretionary housing payments

If your rent is not met in full by housing benefit or universal credit and you have a temporary situation which makes it difficult to pay your rent, you can apply for extra help in the form of discretionary housing payments (DHPs).

To qualify for a payment you must be receiving housing benefit or the housing costs element of universal credit, and you will need to satisfy us that there are very good reasons for an award.

Discretionary housing payments can either cover:

  1. shortfalls between your housing benefit and your eligible rent
  2. deposit, removal costs, and rent in advance where you have to move address and have no other means of meeting these costs

Discretionary housing payments can’t cover:

  • any service charges that are not eligible for benefit (such as personal utility bills) and the maximum we can pay cannot exceed your total eligible rent
  • shortfalls between council tax and council tax reduction entitlement

We only have a limited amount of money each year to help residents with DHPs, so we need to ensure that DHPs are awarded to people who need them most and help those who are taking remedial action to address their long term circumstances.

Not everyone who applies can be given an award, so the more you tell us about your circumstances the better your chances are of getting an award.

Awards are designed to be temporary and short term and are made on a case by case basis dependant on individual circumstances. DHPs are not a solution for ongoing/long term rental shortfalls between housing benefit / universal credit and rent.

We will look at each case on its merits. We consider things like:

  • the size of the shortfall
  • health or disability
  • why it’s unreasonable to have to move
  • how long the help will last
  • what you are doing to improve your situation

These are just examples, you need to tell us all you can.



If you are unable to apply online, we will accept applications over the phone. Our staff will immediately call you back if you are worried about the cost of the phone call. Call us on 0208 356 3399 to apply.

We may ask you to provide evidence in support of your claim.

Page updated on: 10 December 2020

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