Housing costs

Apart from the rent or mortgage you need to consider any other charges that might be linked to your new home. 

If the landlord (or agent) provides a service like cleaning and maintenance of communal areas (usually with flats or sheltered accommodation), this additional amount can be charged on top of your rent.

Check what services are delivered and what the cost is before taking on a tenancy or buying a new home. If you are taking on self-contained accommodation, you will normally be expected to pay:

  • Council tax
  • Water charges
  • Fuel bills
  • TV licence fee etc.

Some landlords may include such charges in with the rent. Find out if any are applied for the property.

Help with housing costs

If you are working on a low income or on welfare benefits you may be entitled to help with your rent. If you need help with your rent and live-in social housing (Housing Association property) you may be able to get help by claiming Housing Benefit or through Universal Credit. 

Enter details of where you live on Find Your Local Council to be taken to your local authority website, where you can find out more information and see if you are entitled to receive help. 

For Universal Credit eligibility click here.

If you intend to rent in the private sector, you will get local housing allowance rather than housing benefit, click here to see the rules for claiming this allowance.

If you own the home you live in or have a shared ownership property and you are eligible for Universal Credit you may be entitled to a payment to help pay for your mortgage and some service charges. However, you need to have been on benefits for 39 weeks with no breaks to qualify and the support for mortgage interest is a loan which shall need to be repaid with interest when you sell or transfer.

If your current home is at risk because you are having financial problems paying the rent or mortgage you may be able to sort things out by seeking advice from Perennial. Our Helpline and Casework Team are here to offer you support and advice if you need help or information on housing and welfare benefits, including housing costs. They can provide you with your individual benefit calculation, so you are able to make an informed choice. Contact our Helpline on 0800 093 8543 now. All advice is free and fully confidential.

Help with council tax

If you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to help from your council towards paying your council tax. Since 1 April 2013, local authorities in England have taken responsibility for running their own local schemes that assist with council tax. These are called Council Tax Reduction or Council Tax Support schemes. You can no longer make a claim for Council Tax Benefit.

Depending on where you live, Council Tax Reduction (CTR) may be:

  • Discount worked out as a percentage of your council tax bill
  • Discount of an amount set out in the scheme
  • Discount equal to the whole amount of the council tax bill – therefore the amount payable would be nil.

Each local authority has its own local scheme, consequently there will be differences between schemes. It is recommended that you check the rules of your local authority’s scheme to see what your entitlement is. To find out about the scheme in your area click here.

If you are the only adult in the household, you could well be entitled to single person discount, which will reduce your council tax bill by 25%. If there is a full time adult student in your household, you may be entitled to a reduction in your council tax bill. To check if this applies to your household click here.

Our Helpline Team are trained to help people access the state benefits they are entitled to. You can find out more about council tax reduction and other benefits that you may be entitled to by calling us on 0800 093 8543. All advice is free and fully confidential.

Worried about becoming homeless?

If you find yourself homeless or under threat of being made homeless you should always seek advice straight away.

You may be legally homeless if:

  • You’ve no legal right to live in accommodation anywhere in the world.
  • You cannot get into your home, for example your landlord has locked you out.
  • It’s not reasonable to stay in your home, for example you’re at risk of violence or abuse.
  • You’re forced to live apart from your family or people you normally live with because there’s no suitable accommodation for you.
  • You’re living in very poor conditions such as overcrowding.

Many organisations as Perennial, Shelter and Citizens Advice Bureau, can help you but if find yourself without a home then the law places a duty on the local authority to advise you. 

Taking into account what help is available they will consider whether you fall into a priority group, the circumstances under which you left your previous housing, how vulnerable you may be and whether you have a local connection to the area. 

This will decide whether and what help the local authority will provide. In some cases, they will only be able to offer temporary accommodation in the first instance while they consider your application further.

  • To find your council in England and Wales to get help and advice click here.
  • To find your council in Scotland click here.
  • To find your council in Northern Ireland click here.

If you are not eligible for social housing most local authorities will provide you with some support in getting other suitable accommodation.

Perennial's support

If you have been made homeless or you are worried about being made homeless, do not hesitate to get in touch. We know the threat of becoming homeless is very stressful and we understand the impact this can have on you. We can help you to access specialist sources of information and support in many ways.

Simply fill in our Services Contact Form or call our Helpline on 0800 093 8543 and one of the team will be in touch.

All advice is free and fully confidential. 

The helpline is open 9am – 4.30pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Open 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday. Excludes bank holidays.