Housing - Not covering rent

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To deal with a rent shortfall, you can:

  • apply for a discretionary housing payment to cover a shortfall
  • in the short-term try to increase your income or cut costs
  • check if you are entitled to other benefits, payments or tax credits

You can also ask people who live with you if they can increase their contribution to household costs or consider taking in a lodger.

If you are struggling with rent or arrears, it may be possible to negotiate a cheaper rent or delayed arrears payments with a private landlord.

Move home to a cheaper rent

Consider a transfer or an exchange to a smaller home if you’re a council or housing association tenant. Ask your landlord about this. If you are a private tenant or moving to a private rented home, check if your council has a rent deposit or bond scheme. This can pay the tenancy deposit or give a new landlord a rent guarantee.


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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