Problems paying the rent or mortgage

Help with rent

If you are of working age and on a low income you may be able to receive help with the cost of rent through Universal Credit. If you already receive Universal Credit, help with rent should already be included in your Universal Credit payment.

People who are pension-age and on a low income may be entitled to Housing Benefit.

If you are already receiving Universal Credit or Housing Benefits and this does cover the full cost of your rent, you can apply to the Council for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

Help with mortgage payments

You should always pay your full mortgage instalments or you will put your home at risk.

However, if you are struggling financially and don’t think you will be able to make your regular instalment, it is important that you let your lender know straight away. Most lenders recognise that people can go through periods of financial hardship and are usually quite helpful in offering solutions to avoid arrears and the build up of debt.

Check whether you have Mortgage Payment Protection Insurance because if you lose your job or become sick and unable to work, you may be able to claim against your policy. These policies usually have a time limit to claim, so make sure you act promptly.

If the insurer will not pay, you could approach the Financial Ombudsman to see whether you have grounds for a complaint.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)

You may qualify for help towards your mortgage interest payments if you are a home owner and get certain income-based benefits. This is known as Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

The interest is at a set rate, not the rate your lender charges and payments can be reduced for various reasons. The help you get is unlikely to cover your full mortgage instalments. The income-based benefits will affect the start date of any Support for Mortgage Interest you receive and payments may not last longer than two years.