Housing - Landlord not accepting housing benefit

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Explain your history

  • Prepare what you are going to say to the landlord or agent when you contact them about their property
  • Don't start the conversation by asking if the landlord accepts people on benefits
  • Begin by explaining why you want to live in their property, and why you would be a good tenant
  • Focus on positive points such as that you've always paid your rent on time. Offer to send a record of your rental history and references from landlords

Prove you can pay your rent

  • Offer to pay more than one month's rent in advance
  • Provide the name of someone who will guarantee to pay the rent if you can't. This 'guarantor' is usually a close family member or friend
  • Ask the council if it can pay your housing benefit paid directly into the landlord's account

Ask someone to negotiate for you

If you are not confident enough to negotiate, ask someone who knows you well to do it. This might be a friend, colleague or family member who has dealt with landlords before.

Find someone who will accept housing benefit

Your local council may keep a list of private landlords who accept tenants on housing benefit. Ask their housing options or similar service.


The information is this guide is based on the Shelter website and is correct as of December 2014. It is for England and Wales only.

Shelter gives practical housing advice and support online, in person and by phone. Our expert advisers give free, confidential advice 365 days a year, helping with everything from mortgage arrears to finding a place to sleep. If you need help email Shelter at: info@shelter.org.uk or call 0300 330 1234. Click here to visit the Shelter website or to make a donation.

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