What Discretionary Housing Payments are Available
As mentioned in our introductory article payments of this type can be made to you for a manner of things but any payment is at the decision of the council officer. You can appeal if you are turned down.
Local Authorities are tasked with certain objectives in mind when deciding on DHPs and as such anything that falls into the following categories could be considered for a payment.
• alleviating poverty
• encouraging and sustaining people in employment
• tenancy sustainment and homelessness prevention
• safeguarding residents in their own homes
• helping those who are trying to help themselves
• keeping families together
• supporting the vulnerable or the elderly in the local community
• helping customers through personal and difficult events
• supporting young people in the transition to adult life, or
• promoting good educational outcomes for children and young people
Renting A Property
If you’re looking to rent a property then you might be eligible. You are able to apply for DHP to secure a new tenancy. DHP are there to support people. You might need to apply for a DHP for:
Associated costs involved in moving e.g. Removals !
It is possible to get a DHPs for a rent deposit or rent in advance if required for a property that you haven’t yet moved into. The chances of you being awarded a DHP for a deposit are increased if your council does not operate a Bond scheme.
A bond scheme is a council operated scheme which is designed to offer a landlord a written guarantee up to a particular value to offer some insurance against damage caused to the property that is being rented. As it is a written guarantee and not a monetary payment, some landlords or letting agencies will not accept it as often it doesn’t protect the landlord against rent arrears as a cash deposit will normally cover. Also, the bond scheme adds an extra agreement that can further complicate the letting process and therefore landlords often look to avoid taking part in the bond scheme.
If you find a property you would like to rent and your housing benefit will cover the rent then it is possible that you can still claim a DHP if the landlord/letting agent is unwilling to accept the bond scheme.
It is possible when the DHP is making the payment of a deposit to secure a new tenancy the DHP can be made directly to the landlord.
Rent in advance.
Most private landlords and letting agents will normally insist on taking a deposit and one month rent in advanced. The local council are able to make a DHP for the rent in advanced even if it is outside of its area as long as you are current in receipt of HB in your current area.
Before being considered for a DHP for rent in advance or deposit the council will want to know:
* Are you due to have a deposit or rent in advance returned for any existing tenancy?
* Have you already received assistance from the Local Authority through a rent deposit guarantee scheme?
Once you have received a Discretionary Housing Payment for rent in advance or a deposit and use for that purpose the legislation does not require for it to be refunded back to the council, however, your local council might ask for this to happen at the time they grant you the DHP.