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Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP)

If you are already in receipt of DHP due to bedroom tax or the Benefit Cap then this will be automatically renewed for the following financial year if there have been no changes. You do not need to complete a new application form.

To be eligible for an award of DHP you must be in receipt of either Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance (LHA)or the Housing Costs Element of Universal Credit.

A DHP award can be made if:

  • your Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance or the Housing Costs Element of Universal Credit do not cover the full cost of your rent or
  • you need help with a rent deposit for a private tenancy within the Perth and Kinross Council area. 

You will not be able to get a DHP award if: 

  • your housing costs are for help towards paying a mortgage
  • the shortfall is caused by having deductions taken off your Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to repay an overpayment
  • you have to pay more rent because you are paying back rent arrears
  • the shortfall is due to you having to pay certain service or support charges with your rent
  • your other benefits are subject to a sanction or disallowance by the DWP.

Your benefit does not cover the full cost of your rent 

This may be because:

Your applicable amount is an agreed amount, set in law, used in benefit calculations. The higher your weekly income is above your applicable amount, the less benefit you will receive. 

DHPs for rent deposits

If you are moving to accommodation in the private sector, you may be able to get a DHP to help pay for a deposit.

You will not be able to get a DHP to help pay a deposit if:

  • you have not yet signed a lease agreement for the tenancy.
  • there is no clause within the lease agreement stating a deposit is required.
  • you want to take on a tenancy but you cannot afford any shortfall or deposit. No award would be made for the deposit or for the shortfall unless there is good reason for your application (financial hardship on its own would not be accepted). 
  • you are awaiting the return of a deposit from your previous landlord.

How to apply for a DHP

Discretionary Housing Payment applications can be made online:

Apply online

How are applications for DHPs decided?

Because the scheme is discretionary and the budget it limited, there is no guarantee that you will get awarded a payment.  Although each application is decided according to your own individual circumstances, priority is given to the following situations:

Reason for applicationPriority circumstances
Your benefit does not cover the full cost of your rent
  • you are a foster or kinship carer
  • you are disabled and the property has been significantly adapted to meet your needs
  • you are actively seeking to rent out a spare room
  • you are working and have managed to secure extra hours or additional employment
  • you have agreed to and are waiting on a mutual exchange to a smaller property
  • you have an offer of alternative accommodation which is not yet available
  • you are actively seeking alternative accommodation and budgeting advice
  • you have sought debt/money advice with a view to reducing your non-priority debt payments
  • you or your partner is within 12 months of reaching State Pension age
  • your household size is due to increase (you are due a baby or a friend is due to move in)
  • you are vulnerable due to ill-health or other reason eg, learning disability, mental or physical ill-health, having poor literacy skills, having a language barrier,  substance misuse, leaving care or prison, having a history of homelessness, having severe debt issues, etc
  • you have appealed a benefit decision and are waiting on the appeal being heard
  • any other circumstance where you need assistance while you taking active steps to improve your situation. 

If you are awarded a DHP to meet a shortfall in your rent payments, the award may be limited to a fixed short-term period in order to allow you to find alternative accommodation. 

You have expenses to do with moving home (rent deposits)
  • your are moving to cheaper, smaller or more suitable accommodation
  • you are moving in order to take up a job or look for work. 

Frequently Asked Questions

When will I receive a decision on my application?

In most cases you should receive a decision on your application within 21 days. If you do not hear within this timescale, it could be that we are waiting on further information from you or we may be experiencing a high number of applications.

Can my DHP application be backdated?

Most DHP applications can be considered from the beginning of the financial year (April) however this cannot be guaranteed.  The more information you give us regarding the need for backdating, the greater the likelihood that backdating will be successful.

I am getting DHP due to the Bedroom Tax. Do I have to re-apply for it every year?

If you are getting DHP due to the Bedroom Tax (Size Criteria in the Social Rented Sector) then your entitlement will automatically continue into the next financial year without the need for you to re-apply.  

My DHP application has been refused or come to an end and I am struggling to pay the difference between my benefit and my rent. Is there any other help available?

If you are unhappy with the decision on your DHP application you can ask for the decision to be looked at again.  This is called a review and must be made in writing within one calendar month of getting the decision. 

If you cannot get a DHP, there may be other  sources of support (PDF) [108KB]  available or you can contact the Contact the Welfare Rights Team for further advice. 

DHP - Facts and Figures

View useful statistics about Perth & Kinross Council's Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) scheme.

Last modified on 14 September 2023

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