Private tenants handbook

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4. Help to pay your rent and council tax

You may be able to get help to pay your housing costs through:

  •   Housing benefit / Local Housing Allowance
  •   Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)
  •   Universal Credit
  •   Council tax support
  •   Budgeting loan

Housing Benefit

You may be eligible to claim housing benefit to help towards your rent if you're on a low income or benefits. If you make a claim for other benefits such as Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit with the Job Centre Plus or the Pension Service you may be asked if you also wish to claim Housing Benefit. Visit the Benefits and Welfare page on the Council’s website for more information.

Universal Credit (UC) - Housing Benefit Reform

Universal Credit (UC) is the new benefit for people of working age, designed to top up their income to a minimum level being introduced in stages between 2013 and 2017 across the UK. Tenants will eventually all claim UC instead of Housing Benefit. UC payments will be paid every month in arrears directly to the tenant.

Get a financial health check

There are a number of organisations that offer free and independent advice on your financial problems.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau have an online household budgeting tool to work out how much you have available to repay your non priority debts..

The Money Advice Service offer a free Money Health Check which shows areas to focus on and practical ways to improve your financial situation.

The National Debt Line offer free debt advice using their My Money Steps online tool or via their free debt advice line on 0808 808 4000 Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm.

Step Change Debt Charity offer free advice line for problem debt 0800 138 1111 (including all mobiles) or an online Debt Remedy via their website.

The Shelter money service offers advice on identifying the debts that need urgent attention and that could have the greatest impact if not sorted out. It will also help you to identify non-priority debts and offers advice on how to deal with bailiffs.

You can download and complete an income and expenditure form to show Exeter City Council or another agency if you need financial advice. There is either:

  • an income and expenditure calculator (excel format) which adds your figures for you, or
  • an income and expenditure (PDF) sheet that can be downloaded and printed so that you can add your figures yourself.

Further information on these topics and more can be found here: