Discretionary Housing Payments
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Discretionary Housing Payments

What are Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are extra payments if you need help with rent or housing costs. You must already be in receipt of Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit to be eligible.

For further information, read the DHP policy (PDF 160KB).


Before you apply

We would expect you to have done the following before applying:

  • try to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord
  • look for cheaper alternative accommodation
  • seek advice from other organisations about how you can improve your situation

Information you need to apply

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support Reference (if you have one)
  • Details of your income including amounts you receive
  • Breakdown of your expenses  how you spend your money each week
  • Details of any arrears or debts you have and the repayment amounts
  • Details of anyone who lives with you  including their income
  • Your bank details and your Universal Credit award letter  if you are receiving Universal Credit
  • The landlord’s bank details and the details of the new property –​ if applying for a rent deposit, bond or rent in advance
  • Reasons why you need extra help with your rent

We recommend that you complete the form in one go. You should complete it as soon as possible as we may only consider paying your claim from the date we receive your request.

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Click to expandWhat can Discretionary Housing Payments cover?

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Discretionary Housing Payments can be used to:


  • help with rent shortfalls
  • help with rent deposit or bond
  • help with rent in advance
  • help with rent arrears
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Click to expandWhat cannot be covered by Discretionary Housing Payments?

Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be used to pay for:


  • help with Council Tax
  • service charges not covered by Housing Benefit (gas, electric, water, meals)
  • increases in rent due to outstanding rent arrears
  • reduced income caused by sanctions or reductions
  • a shortfall in your Housing Benefit due to repaying overpaid Housing Benefit
  • extra payments you are making to clear rent arrears
  • removal costs. However, you may be eligible for help from Leeds Local Welfare Support Scheme, ring 0113 376 0330
  • a notice period if you have had to move properties at short notice. You may be able to get help with this by claiming for “Housing Benefit on 2 homes”, ring 0113 222 4404 or approach your nearest One Stop Centre
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Click to expandWhat types of shortfall in rent can it cover?

There are a number of reasons why the amount of Housing Benefit, or the housing costs element of Universal Credit, you receive is less than the rent you have to pay. These are the main types of shortfall DHP can cover:


  • Social Size Criteria – also known as the ‘under-occupancy charge’ or ‘bedroom tax'
  • Non-dependant deduction – you have an adult living with you who is not a partner, joint tenant or boarder
  • Baby due – you have moved into a bigger property as your family size is due to increase
  • Benefit Cap – your benefits have been capped
  • Local Housing Allowance – you are only entitled to the rate for a shared room or the maximum rate for 4 bedrooms
  • Any other reason than the above – for example, your income is too high to be entitled to full help with your rent
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Click to expandWhere can I get further help and advice?

Leeds Housing Options offer advice to people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or simply want advice about housing options. Telephone 0113 222 4412.

Leeds City Council Welfare Rights Unit gives free, confidential, impartial advice and support on a range of welfare benefits. They can check you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to, help you to complete forms and offer guidance when making appeals. Telephone 0113 376 0452.

Leeds Local Welfare Support Scheme is designed to help families and single vulnerable people under exceptional pressure to get help with food, fuel, travel and removal costs and basic household goods. Telephone 0113 376 0330.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) offers budgeting loans or short term advances to certain people who require emergency support.

Groundwork’s Green Doctor service is a free service to people on low income on how to use less energy, keep warm and save money. Telephone 0113 238 0601.

You can get free and confidential advice about debt and managing your money from:


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Click to expandI’m facing eviction – can you help with rent arrears?

If you are being evicted for rent arrears and have (or had) a shortfall in your rent, a one-off or a backdated payment of Discretionary Housing Payments can be made to help clear or reduce your rent arrears. However, an award will not be made if you were receiving enough Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to cover all of your rent at the time the arrears built up.

You must be able to show you have exceptional circumstances why you need to remain in the property and you are unable to afford the arrears yourself.

If you apply for Discretionary Housing Payments for this purpose, you need to provide proof of your rent arrears from the time they accrued. You do not need to provide proof if you are a council tenant.

Click to expandI need help with a deposit for rent, bond or a rent in advance payment

If you need help to move to somewhere more suitable, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment to cover the rent deposit, bond or rent in advance. However, you can only receive help with one of these.

You should only apply for help:



An award can only be made to help you secure the tenancy – if you’ve already signed the tenancy agreement or moved in, you have already secured the tenancy and an award will not be made.

Payments for a rent deposit, bond or rent in advance will be made payable to the new landlord – either by crossed cheque or straight into the landlord’s bank account.

If an award is made, you must complete a Housing Benefit Change of Address form and bring in a copy of your new tenancy agreement. ​​​​​​​​​​​

Click to expandHow we decide who can have Discretionary Housing Payments


DHP funding comes from central Government and is limited each year. Once the funding has been spent, no more awards can be made. We aim to make sure that payments are made to those who are most in need.

We look at the following when we make a decision:


  • your income;
  • your savings;
  • if anyone else in your house can help you;
  • if you have any loans or debts;
  • if you could manage your money better;
  • if you or anyone in your family is ill or disabled; and
  • if you have tried to put the situation right

We will not usually pay Discretionary Housing Payments if we think you can deal with the shortfall in other ways such as:


  • claiming other benefits you may be entitled to
  • negotiating any debt repayments
  • cutting down on unnecessary and avoidable expenses
  • using your savings to cover the shortfall for a period
  • any contributions that are or could be made by a non-dependant
  • whether it is possible for you to move
  • how long it will take you to find suitable alternative accommodation
  • possibility of eviction

This is for guidance only. We treat every case on its own merits and may also take into account other factors that we have not mentioned above.

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Click to expandWhat if I disagree with a decision?

If you disagree with our decision not to give you Discretionary Housing Payments, the amount we have decided to give you or how long we will pay you, you can ask us to look at the decision again.

You should write to us within one calendar month of the date of the decision letter, telling us why you do not agree with our decision.

Your case will be reviewed by another officer who will then make a final decision. You have no further right of appeal against the final decision. You cannot appeal to the Tribunals Service.

Click to expandWhat if my circumstances change?

Discretionary Housing Payments are based on your circumstances at the time you apply. If your circumstances change, you must tell us straight away as this could affect how much you receive.

Click to expandWhat if I’m overpaid?

Overpayments usually occur if:


  • your entitlement to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit ends
  • your entitlement to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit increases
  • your circumstances change

If you are overpaid Discretionary Housing Payments, you will have to pay this money back to us. We will not take any deductions from any on-going Housing Benefit you have. Instead we will send you an invoice asking for repayment.​​​​


Did you find the information you were looking for?

Contact details


Find your nearest council office


Telephone: 0113 222 4404


Write: Welfare & Benefits Service, Selectapost 15, Leeds LS2 8BA