Discretionary Housing Payments
The council can consider awarding a discretionary housing payment (DHP) if we think you may need help with housing costs. The fund available to the council is limited and needs to be fairly distributed to all eligible persons within the borough.
Who can request a DHP?
To be considered for a DHP you must be entitled to housing benefit or Universal Credit with an element for housing costs.
How much DHP could I be entitled to?
A DHP can make up any shortfall between your eligible rent that is not covered by housing benefit.
You may be able to get a discretionary housing payment to help meet rent in advance or a rent deposit. There are limited funds of DHP available so this type of award will only be made to those most in need.
You should only apply for a DHP for help with rent in advance or a rent deposit once you have found a property and the landlord or agent agrees that you can rent it.
We can only give DHPs to people receiving housing benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.
If you are receiving Universal Credit but don't get the housing costs element, you won't be able to get a DHP to help with rent in advance or deposit.
You will need to provide a letter from the new landlord detailing the address of the property, accommodation details, the amount of rent due and the amount of rent in advance and/or deposit required.
If you have rent arrears we may also be able to provide help towards these from the DHP fund, depending on the circumstances.
How long could I get a DHP for?
A DHP award is designed to be a short term award in order to assist in a period of financial difficulty. However, there is no set time limit and the council will consider each case individually.
How do I apply for a DHP?
You will need to submit a discretionary housing payment application. It is advisable to submit a form as soon as you feel you may need assistance.
If you wish to view our guidance on DHPs please download DHP guidance APRIL 2017 [doc] 66KB
How will I find out if I am awarded a DHP?
We will write to you to let you know our decision, even if we do not award a DHP.
As DHPs are not part of the mainstream benefit scheme there are no formal rights of appeal against decisions made in respect of them, but you can ask us to look at your case again if you do not agree with the decision.
If I am entitled to a DHP how will I receive the payments?
A DHP award will be paid alongside your normal housing benefit payments, depending on how they are paid.
If we make payments directly to your landlord, the DHP will be included with their normal payments for the duration of the DHP award. If we make payments directly to your bank account, your usual payment will also include the DHP entitlement for the duration of the award.
In some circumstances a DHP may be paid as a lump sum payment, this maybe to you or your landlord, depending on the circumstances.
Council tax exceptional hardship scheme
If you experience exceptional circumstances of financial hardship, then you may be able to claim some discretionary assistance with your council tax. This is not a cash payment, but an account balancing payment to help manage a debt.