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Help with rent

When you may get help towards housing costs if you pay rent

If you and/or your partner are responsible for paying the rent for the home you live in, Universal Credit may provide help towards the cost. It may be paid to you as part of the Housing Element. You will then need to pay your rent to your landlord yourself.

What being responsible for paying rent means

Being responsible for paying rent means you have a commercial agreement to make rent payments and have a contract or written rent agreement with a landlord, organisation or agency, for example a:

  • tenancy agreement
  • license to occupy
  • leasehold purchase arrangement
  • Boarders and lodgers

If you are a boarder or a lodger help towards your rent may include the costs for any meals provided.

Houseboats, caravans and mobile homes

If you usually live in a houseboat, caravan or mobile home, help towards rent may include:

  • site rent
  • mooring fees
  • waterway license fees


You may receive help towards rent for your usual home while you are temporarily living elsewhere for a limited period of time - for example, due to a flood or while essential repairs are carried out.

In certain circumstances you may receive help with rent on two homes at the same time.

You may receive help towards rent if the person responsible for paying the rent isn't doing so - for example, if your partner has left you and their name is on the tenancy agreement.

When help towards rent can't be paid

The Housing element of Universal Credit can't be paid if:

  • the person you pay the rent to is a close relative who lives with you
  • you live in supported exempt accommodation
  • you live in a bail hostel
  • you live in residential accommodation

The Housing element will not include help with ground rent or certain service charges.