This quick guide helps to identify the various benefits and grants that may be available to those on a low income.
Schemes for social housing tenants
Social landlords are not obliged to assist with the costs of removals where tenants have chosen to apply direct or via a transfer, or are moving through the Seaside and Country Homes scheme. However, many councils and some housing associations have incentive schemes for tenants who are giving up larger properties, so if you are under-occupying and wish to move it is always worth asking your landlord whether you are entitled to any help with your removal costs.
Help from your council
If you are looking to rent privately then your local council may have schemes to help you meet the cost of your deposit or first month’s rent. Some councils offer a bond deposit scheme whereby they will agree with the landlord to meet the cost of any deductions that might be taken from a deposit due to non payment of rent or damage. Contact the housing department of your council directly for further information.
Local Welfare Assistance
Some local authorities have a budget of money that may be able to help with costs of moving home. This money is made available to local authorities on a non-ring fenced basis, enabling the authority to use this money as it sees fit, meaning that some authorities use this money to help people with moving and other essential housing costs.
Applicants have to have been on Pension Credit, Income Support, income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or income-based Job seekers Allowance (JSA) for at least 26 weeks. Loans are from £100 up to £348 (for a single person) or £464 (for a couple).
Budgeting Loans are interest free so you only pay back the amount you borrowed, repayment usually needs to be made within 2 years and the payments are often deducted from any ongoing benefit entitlement.
Charities and Benevolent Funds
There are many different charities and trusts in the UK. Some may be able to help anyone in need, and others are restricted to people in particular groups, relating to trades, professions or the forces, illnesses or disabilities and sometimes particular religions, or people living in specific localities.
If you are receiving Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit, payments from charities or benevolent funds should not affect these means-tested entitlements.
We would suggest you start by visiting the website for Turn2Us, who maintain a directory of grant-giving organisations.