Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) 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.

A DHP 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 2017/18 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 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.

Contact Us

Customer Contact Team

revenues@moray.gov.uk

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