Privacy settings

Discretionary housing payments

Discretionary housing payments (DHP) are payments made by the council where it is satisfied that a person needs extra financial help with their housing costs (ie their rent).

Who can claim a discretionary housing payment?

Anybody receiving housing benefit or housing costs within their universal credit can make a claim, where there is a shortfall between the rent liability and the benefit awarded.

However, the DHP cannot be paid for service charges that housing benefit cannot cover, for example water rates, electricity and personal care.

We will consider a request for a DHP where a person can show that there is a genuine need for further help with their rent and where there are special circumstances to support that need. The council has complete discretion when deciding whom to make payments to.

A DHP may be claimed to pay for:

  • Rent deposits
  • Rent in advance
  • Moving costs

Please note that a person must be in receipt of housing benefit or housing costs within their universal credit at their current address in order to request a DHP for deposit, rent in advance or moving costs regarding their intended new address.

A DHP will not usually be awarded where it is considered that a rent being charged for a property is excessive or where the accommodation is too large for a person’s needs, and other suitable accommodation is available.

How to claim a discretionary housing payment

You can either complete a claim online or download an application form and complete and return it to us.

If you are downloading an application form, please complete it and return it to us with proof of all your expenditure and debts.

If you rent from a private landlord please provide proof of the amount of rent charge, rent paid and arrears to date.

What happens next?

We will look at your form and may contact you for more information.

Your application will be considered by a panel made up of representatives from the council and other advice agencies.

We will send you a letter to advise you of the panel's decision. 

How an award will be made

We will decide whether to pay direct to your landlord or to you. 

Changes of circumstances

You must inform us immediately of any change in your income and circumstances and the income and circumstances of anyone who lives in your household. For example:

  • Any increase in wages or any other income
  • Income support or jobseekers allowance ending
  • Anyone joining or leaving your household

It is a criminal offence to obtain monies dishonestly and the council will not hesitate to use its powers to prosecute if necessary.

Further information

If you require any further information please contact us, or call in person at Lancaster or Morecambe town hall, between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Welfare Rights

We are working with Welfare Rights who can arrange an appointment with you to help you with your application. Please email them at

So that Welfare Rights can assist you, please have details of your income, expenditure, proof of the amount of rent you pay and details of any rent arrears (if applicable).

Last updated: 20 August 2021

Lancaster City Council logogram

Cookies policy

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us to improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

Review your privacy settings