Discretionary Housing Payments
Discretionary Housing Payments are payments that we can make to people who require further financial assistance to meet their housing costs – however applicants do not have a statutory right to receive an award.
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot exceed the weekly or monthly eligible rent on a home; the amount awarded may cover all or part of a shortfall in rent, or the cost of taking up a tenancy.
Housing costs include:
- Rent liability
- Rent in advance
- Tenancy Deposits
- Other lump sum costs associated with a housing need such as removal costs
To qualify for a Discretionary Housing Payment a person must:
- be entitled to some Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (that includes a housing element towards rental liability) and
- require further financial assistance in order to pay their rent or other housing costs
A person receiving only Local Council Tax Support is not eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
Discretionary Housing Payments may be used to cover:
- Restrictions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit following the introduction of the Social Sector Size Criteria (also referred to as Under Occupancy or the Bedroom Tax) *
- Restrictions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit due to reductions in Local Housing Allowance
- Restrictions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit where the benefit cap has been applied
- Rent Officer restrictions such as Local Reference Rent or Shared Room Rate
- Shortfalls between Housing Benefit or Universal Credit and actual rental liability where a person is experiencing severe hardship or has exceptional circumstances e.g. a disability
- Deductions from Housing Benefit or Universal Credit due to non-dependents living in the household
- Rent deposits to help a person secure and move to alternative accommodation
- Rent in advance
- Removal costs
- Rent for two properties when a person is treated as temporary absent from their main home, for example due to domestic violence
* See section below Discretionary Housing Payments and Under Occupancy
The above list does not cover every situation that a Discretionary Housing Payment can help with. Each application will be considered according to its own merits.
Discretionary Housing Payments cannot be paid for:
- Any rent arrears owed
- Rent, when a person is getting Council Tax Reduction but not Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- Service charges that are not eligible to be covered by Housing Benefit or Universal Credit
- Shortfalls in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit caused by recovery of an overpayment of benefit
- Reductions in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit due to certain Department for Work and Pensions sanctions or reductions
- Council Tax liability
Discretionary Housing Payments and Under Occupancy
In 2020/21 The Scottish Government is continuing to provide funding to local authorities to fully mitigate people who are under occupying their home.
- To cover the reduction in the housing element of Universal Credit because of under occupancy a person must apply using this form
- To cover the reduction in Housing Benefit because of under occupancy a person must apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment by completing form DHP3 (PDF).
View further information on Housing Benefit and Under Occupancy.
Customer Contact Team