Housing Costs

Housing costs can be your largest bill and it is certainly a priority. Therefore, having enough money to pay for these costs can be worrying. 

Please Note

This section is lengthy in parts as it covers help with paying your rent or mortgage and support if you are worried about housing costs. Please take time to read through all sections to find the best suitable help for you.

Help with Housing Costs

Depending on your housing situation, there are various schemes which can help with your housing costs:

Check your eligibility for help with rent payments

If you rent from a private landlord, your local council or a registered social landlord such as a Housing Association, you might be entitled to help with rent payments. Most people have to claim the housing element of Universal Credit.

Some people in limited circumstances can claim Housing Benefit. You should check if you can apply for Housing Benefit from your council.

Check if you can get Universal Credit
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Check if you can get housing benefit
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Check your eligibility for Support for Mortgage Interest Loan

If you have a mortgage, you might be able to apply for a Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan. This can help pay for the interest on your mortgage or home loan.  You can read our advice on deciding if you should apply for an SMI loan. 

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) loan
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Please Note

These schemes don't include payments to help with paying council tax. This has to be applied for separately. Use our  Council Tax Savings Tool to find out if you're eligible for any discounts or exemptions on paying your council tax bill. To find out more about Council Tax, go to our Council Tax section.

Extra Help with Housing Costs

If your housing benefit or housing element doesn’t cover all your rent, for example because you have a spare room, there are some options which might help.

Check your eligibility for Discretionary Housing Payments

If Housing Benefit or Universal Credit doesn't cover all your rent and you need more money, you could make a claim for a discretionary housing payment (DHP). A DHP is extra money from your local council to help pay your rent.

You need to claim Housing Benefit or the housing costs part of Universal Credit to get a DHP.

Your local council is responsible for deciding if you get a DHP and it will depend on your circumstances

You can check if you are eligible for a DHP by contacting your local council. You can find your local council's website, using the link below. 

Apply for Discretionary Housing Payments
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The above link will take you to the Scottish Government’s website where you can select your own council from a Drop-Down menu. This will move you onto your council’s website. In most cases, you should end up on the relevant page relating to Discretionary Housing Payments. In some cases, you may end up on your council’s main page and you will have to search for the particular benefit. If you are having issues navigating your council’s website, contact your council for further support.

Check your eligibility for the Rent a Room scheme

The UK Government lets you earn up to £7,500 a year tax-free if you let out a furnished room in your home. If you live with a partner, this amount is £3,750, and you can let out as much of your home as you want. It's quick and simple to apply, and the tax exemption is automatically applied if you earn less than £7,500.

It's important to remember that this will count as income for any benefit claims. If you get any benefits, you should check out our Benefits section where you can use a benefit calculator to work out how they will be affected.

Apply to the Rent-a-Room scheme
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Check your eligibility for a Budgeting Loan or Budgeting Advances

If you are on certain benefits, this can help you with buying household essentials such as a washing machine.  Budgeting loans are interest-free, and you only pay back what you've borrowed. You'll usually have to repay the loan within two years.  You can find out more about budgeting loans in the link below.

If you're on Universal Credit and can't get a budgeting loan, you can apply for a Budgeting Advance. If you get a budgeting advance, you'll get reduced Universal Credit payments until you've paid off the amount you have borrowed. This will normally be over 12 months.  You can find out more about budgeting advances in the link below:

Budgeting Loans
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Budgeting Advance
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Worried about Your Housing Costs?

Get Help from Citizens Advice Scotland

If you are struggling with rent arrears, our Rent Arrears advice pages provide detailed information including a quick guide factsheet which can help you work out what to do next.

If you need help dealing with your mortgage arrears, our useful advice website has various options on how to manage your mortgage arrears.

Alternatively, you can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Rent Arrears
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Dealing with your mortgage arrears
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Find your local Citizens Advice Bureau
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