If you are worried about being able to afford your rent, you should ask for advice now. It is your responsibility to pay your full rent on time. To stay in line with your tenancy agreement and to prevent arrears action being taken, you need to pay your rent in advance. If you don’t pay your rent you could lose your home.
The options below give advice to make sure you can pay your rent and keep your home.
Do a benefit check
Check that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to. It could make the difference between you being able to stay in your current home or having to move to a different property. For example there could be state benefits or tax credits that you are entitled to but are not currently claiming.
Use the online 'entitled to' calculator to see what benefits you may be eligible for.
Ask the council for extra financial help
If you are facing hardship and are struggling to pay your rent, your local council may be able to help you with a discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP could help ‘top up’ your housing benefit. DHP is paid for a short time only. Whilst receiving DHP the council will expect you to try and improve your situation, so that when this award ends, you will no longer be facing hardship and will be able to pay your rent without extra help.
If your council is Epsom and Ewell you can click here for a DHP application form. If you come under a different council, please contact them and ask how you can apply for DHP.
If you need help or advice completing your DHP form, then our TSOs can help
Move to a smaller home
If you cannot find a way to make up the shortfall in your rent, you may have to consider moving to a smaller home in the local area, or a different area altogether. To stand the best chance of getting a move, register with the 3 options available:
- Rosebery’s internal transfer list
- Homeswapper - Some families are overcrowded in their homes, so you may be able to find someone willing to swap homes with you
- Register on your local council's waiting list
Please be warned that you could wait a long time to be rehoused through Rosebery’s and the Council’s waiting lists, and that there is no way in telling how long your wait could be. If you do not mind moving away from your local area, speak to your council to see if they can help or give advice regarding this.
Look for employment/ increase your hours
Changes to the Welfare Benefits system means that those who work will be better off. If you are not working at the moment or would like to change job to increase your hours/wage, then there are services out there to help you develop your skills and get that job.
Click here to find out about the services we have available to help.
Get a bank account
If you do not have a bank account already you will need one for Universal Credit. Alternatively you could get a Credit Union account.
For Universal Credit it will be best if your bank account allows you to set up direct debits and standing orders. If you are not eligible for such an account at the moment, speak to your chosen bank about setting up a cash account now. As time goes by and you build trust with your bank they will then consider upgrading your account. If you do this now you are more likely to have a suitable account for when UC begins to affect you.
Find more information here on credit unions and bank accounts
Create a budget
It might be possible to make some savings in your household budget. Use the Citizens Advice Budget Calculator to work out how much money you will have left to live on after you have paid your rent.
Check our Help With Money Matters section for more information to help your money go further. We will be updating our website with budgeting tips and budgeting workshop dates.
If there is not a budgeting workshop running, the TSOs can give one to one support.
Why not start paying an extra pound or two towards your rent now? Get your account in advance (and in line with your tenancy agreement) in preparation for Universal Credit. It’s also good to be in credit so that if you have problems, you won’t fall into arrears straightaway.
Because you will need to apply for Universal Credit online and manage your benefits online, it's a good idea to start learning about the internet and how to use it, and building your confidence with using a computer.
Find out how we can help you to Get Online
If you would like any support or advice our TSOs are here to help. Alternatively speak to a member of your local Citizens Advice service.
Avoid short term solutions such as borrowing money from a pay day loan lender or an illegal money lender.