Housing - Self help guide

Affording to rent your own home

The amount of Housing Benefit paid to private tenants is capped at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates. Your LHA allowance is based on the number of bedrooms that you require.

Please allow for one bedroom per each of these criteria:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children aged under 10
  • Any other child (under 16)

The table below sets out the maximum amount of allowance that you may be eligible for based on your bedroom requirements and income. Your actual benefit may be less depending on if you work, the amount that you earn, and whether you live with a partner.

Maximum amount of allowance
Number of bedrooms Weekly amount
Shared accommodation £77.50
One bedroom £112.77
Two bedrooms £132.33
Three bedrooms £155.34
Four bedrooms £201.37

Find out more information about Local Housing Allowance.

Upfront costs

When you sign a new tenancy agreement before moving into your new property, you will usually have to pay some money up front before the tenancy starts. There are a number of different types of costs which are common in the private rented sector.

Tenancy deposits

Landlords and lettings agencies often require you to pay a tenancy deposit before moving into a property. This is an amount of money which the property owner places in a protected tenancy deposit scheme. As of 1 June 2019, the maximum amount that you can be asked to pay as a tenancy deposit is equal to 5 weeks’ rent, so make sure you aware of the weekly cost of rent and pay no more than this amount.

Agency fees

As of 1 June 2019, it is illegal for landlords and lettings agency to charge fees to administer you starting or renewing a private tenancy. This covers all administration fees such as referencing fees, credit check fees, and tenancy renewal fees. If any landlord or lettings agency insists that you pay any costs to cover administrative fees, then make sure that they are aware that this is against the law and that you do not have to pay to cover any administrative costs.

Rent in advance

You normally need to pay at least 1 month’s rent in advance before you move in. Before you sign a tenancy agreement, make sure that the amount of rent is agreed with the landlord or letting’s agency, and that you have the money available to cover this.

Struggling with the upfront costs?

If you cannot afford to cover some of the upfront costs, it may be possible that we can contribute towards the costs through one of the funding programmes which are available to some households depending on their situation. You may be able to access funds through Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), and if this is unsuccessful, some other alternative sources of funding. You can find out more about these by speaking to your housing officer or looking them up online.

Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP)

If you cannot afford to pay your rent, you may be able to claim extra help from the Council. This extra help is called Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs). The Council has a limited amount of money for paying out DHPs, so we may not be able to pay every claim. Our main priorities are to help prevent people from becoming homeless and to help ease financial pressure for vulnerable people who live in Coventry. It is available to people who are not receiving enough to cover their rent, and is also available for one-off costs such as rent in advance, deposits,

To be able to make a claim for DHP you must be a resident of Coventry and be receiving:

  • Housing benefit, or
  • Universal Credit with an award for rent costs

Other sources of funding

If your application for a DHP is unsuccessful, then there are some alternative sources of funding that may be available to help you cover costs. However, you will not be eligible for any other source of funding unless you have already had your application for a DHP rejected. If you are not eligible for DHP, then you would not need to apply for it before alternative funding is considered. Your housing officer will always refer you to a DHP before any other source of funding.

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