Financial assistance with a deposit
Renting a home from a private landlord and financial help
Renting from private landlords is often the only option available, particularly in the short-term. This can be a good option, as you will be able to arrange a property quite quickly and choose the type of home you like and in an area you want.
Lots of people choose to rent privately. Some of the reasons why people choose the private rented sector are:
- long waiting times for council or housing association properties
- a wide range of locations available, including outside the borough
- flexibility to move to a certain location for schools, jobs, transport links or local services
- a variety of types of homes such as apartments or houses with gardens.
If you’ve found a private rented property and are having problems with paying the deposit or upfront costs you may be able to apply for financial assistance from the council (eligibility, terms and conditions apply).
Credit unions offer a range of loans, savings accounts, and money management services. If you need to borrow money for a short period of time, contact your local credit union: London Credit Union Plus.
Discretionary Housing Payment
Discretionary Housing Payment is an extra payment to help people who claim housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit and are struggling to pay rent or a tenancy deposit for a new home.
You must already be receiving housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit for where you live now. Ask for a claim form from your council if you live outside Tower Hamlets.
Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and LHA
If you rent privately and are on low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or the housing element of universal credit to help you pay your rent. You should make sure you can afford the property first, see Local Housing Allowance for each area.
You can ask for an advance payment of benefits if there is a delay in processing your benefit claim which isn't your fault, or you are waiting for an increase in your benefit payments due to a change in your circumstances. Contact Jobcentre Plus.
You can ask for an advance when you apply for universal credit, are waiting for UC payments to start or increase or report a change in circumstances that will increase your UC payment. Apply for an advance through your UC account or call 0800 328 5644.
Jobcentre Plus loans and budget advances
you can apply for an interest-free loan from your Job Centre Plus office if you have been claiming certain benefits for at least 6 months. It must be for essential items. Examples are rent in advance, moving costs or furniture. Ask the Jobcentre Plus about social fund budgeting loans or budgeting advances.
Help from family or friends
You may have to consider asking for financial help from your family or friends. It may be possible that some landlords will arrange for you to pay extra to build up a deposit. If this is the case, remember to get receipts for any payments.
Renting a room in shared accommodation will be cheaper than renting a flat. If you do not have any money, you may have to consider sharing accommodation until you have managed to save enough money to move into self-contained accommodation.
Help if you are homeless or if you are at risk of homelessness
The council’s Housing Options team may be able to pay the cost of securing a private rented home that is:
- right for you
- in the area you choose
If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness
- You will not need to pay any financial cost towards securing accommodation as the council may be able to offer landlords and agents an incentive package on your behalf.
- It is a quicker way to solve your housing problem
- You have choice to find suitable and affordable accommodation in an area of your choice
We will also:
- check you can afford the property
- help you to put in a claim for housing benefit
- advise you through the letting process
- offer you tenancy support for the first six months of your tenancy
Do I qualify for help?
Help may be available if you:
- are homeless or threatened with homelessness (including some severely overcrowded households)
- are eligible (defined by your immigration status, whether you are ‘habitually resident’ in the UK, in some cases your country of origin, and whether you are classed as a ‘worker’.)
- have a local connection to Tower Hamlets