According to the English Housing Survey of 2019-2020 (a nationwide analysis of people’s housing conditions), nearly 4.0 million households live in council housing currently in the UK. Out of these 45 per cent of social renters are employed; 31 per cent are working full time and 14 per cent are working part-time. 

The data from this survey further suggests that 25 per cent of social renters were retired, while 24% were in full-time education who were inactive. This relates to being out of work either due to a disability, long-term illness, or having to look after a family. 

When it comes to financial help for council housing residents local councils are known to have extended help in rent payments or arrears as well as in managing living expenses. 

Can Council Help With Moving Costs?

Yes, councils can help with moving costs. They have certain allowances available with them to extend financial aid in the form of grants or loans to those who are in need and qualify. 

At times, they may be able to arrange a Discretionary Housing Payment; which is a one time grant extended to cover the costs of housing. Local authorities will consider the following factors in this regard:

  • Conditions that make the applicant’s circumstances critical, exceptional or different.
  • Whether or not a one-time payment will provide real help for their situation.
  • Whether one-time assistance is required or it will be repeated due to financial constraints.
  • Possible long term solution for the applicant’s financial assistance.
  • The amount that they will receive.

Applicants are expected to be able to provide proof of moving costs with expense details. Along with it, they will also be required to submit an application stating valid reason(s) for moving their house as well as evidence of the new property being more affordable than the previous one. 

Additionally, they should also be able to furnish the following documents:

  • A letter from the Landlord/Letting Agent who can confirm that the applicant you will be offered the property
  • Recent bank statements of the applicant 
  • Recent Universal Credit Breakdown (if applicable)
  • A minimum of 2 quotes from moving companies 

Applicants claiming Universal Credit may apply for a “budgeting advance”. This is an interest-free loan that aims to cover the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.

Find your local council to learn about the offers that they may be able to make depending on your circumstances.

In addition, to help with moving costs, councils can also help with payments of your tenancy deposit, rent or rent arrears; as well as with household essentials such as furniture and household equipment including white goods. It is advisable to Work out your budget by using this online calculator that you may be able to manage your finances better.

Your local Citizen’s Advice centre can prove to be a useful guide in connecting you to charities who help people with rent and moving costs.

To learn more about the topic, we will explore the following areas:

  • Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?
  • Can Council Help With Household Essentials?
  • Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?
  • Who Is Eligible For Council Housing?
  • How To File An Application For Council Housing?
  • Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?

Can Council Help With Rent Arrears?

Yes, councils can help with rent arrears in many ways such as repayment plans of easy instalments. Additionally,  claimants who are also on benefits in addition to availing a council house will find it easier to seek easy payment plans from their councils or social housing landlords. For instance, if you are on Housing Benefit or Universal Credit, you may simply have your payments transferred to for payment of your rent through Direct Debit or a Standing Order.

If this is not a workable solution as Housing Benefit or Universal Credit do not account for the entire amount of your rent, you may apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). This is extra money provided by your local council to meet your rent payments or arrears (if you have any). You are not required to return this amount to the council. If you are on Housing Credit or Universal Credit, you can ask your local council for a DHP form. Find your local council here.

You can also reassess your situation to see if you are living in a council house beyond your needs. If you have a spare room, you may consider moving into a smaller council house to reduce your rent expense or taking in a lodger to increase your income so you may be able to make rent payments on time.

If you are not on benefits Check if you can get Universal Credit to make rent payments easier.

If you are struggling with living expenses, you can try Reducing your living costs through your council’s assistance.

Can Council Help With Household Essentials?

Yes, local authorities can assist with household essentials for their tenants. While councils may not directly pay for the furniture or home equipment that a council house resident requires, they can connect them to charities who can either offer the pay for the furniture while the resident pays them back in instalments or sometimes they may simply make the payment on behalf of the resident(s) who is not expected to make any payment at all. 

To be eligible for an interest-free loan you must be on benefits including the following:

  • Income Support
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit

Residents who are on low-income and unable to afford living essentials such as furniture, household equipment may be able to find help in the following ways (in addition to council’s assistance):

  • Social landlord
  • Grant giving organisation
  • Second-hand furniture seller
  • Affordable credit

Can Someone Live With Me In My Council House?

Yes, someone can live with you in your council house as they are generally intended for eligible candidates and their families; whether they are dependants or non-dependants. However, if you intend to ask someone to live with you as a carer or a joint tenant, or you intend to sublet your council house, you must consult your tenancy agreement and discuss with your landlord/local council office prior to making any commitments.

If you are under a Secure Tenancy or Fixed Tenancy agreement with the housing authorities, you may sub-let rooms in your council house; however, subletting of the entire council house is not allowed. You will find a clause in your tenancy agreement that confirms the same. Therefore, it is advisable not to add someone to your council house with the intention of subletting the premises.

Who Is Eligible For Council Housing?

Generally, each council has their own rules for the provision of council homes. This is called an “allocation scheme”; according to which applicants’ eligibility criteria and priorities are assigned.

However, as a basic rule, anyone who is above 18 years of age, low on income and savings can apply for council housing. Some councils also require a “local connection” of the applicant. This means that either they have lived in the vicinity for a number of years or they have a family or job in the area.

Other key criteria for council housing eligibility include the following:

  • the applicants hold British or Irish citizenship
  • they have indefinite leave to remain
  • they fall under settled status (under the EU settlement scheme)
  • they are refugees or under humanitarian protection
  • they are a Commonwealth citizen with a right of abode
  • Who Gets Priority For Council Housing?

While each council has an individual allocation scheme to follow in terms of assigning priority to council housing applicants, those claimants who fulfil any of the following criteria are expected to be higher on priority:

  • if someone is legally homeless 
  • they have to move homes due to a serious medical condition or disability
  • due to hardship-anything from medical treatment or potential danger to changing jobs
  • currently residing in an over-crowded house or under poor living conditions

How To File An Application For Council Housing?

Candidates are advised to share as many relevant details as possible in their application and also include any supporting evidence to back up their claims. This may include medical reports or doctor’s notes, in case the application is being raised on medical grounds. 

Details of the following may be required:

  • income and/or benefits
  • employment history
  • long-term medical conditions or disabilities
  • savings 
  • assets in possession such as automobile
  • visas or immigration documents (if the applicant is not from the UK)

These details not only determine whether or not a candidate is eligible; but may also increase their rank in a list of priority applicants. Furthermore, they also help to determine the size of housing that may be required by them.

Can Applicants Choose Their Own Homes?

Applicants will need to check with their local councils whether a place of residence will be chosen and assigned by the council or the residents be given the option to choose. In the case of the latter, once the application is approved, the local council may share an online platform where the process of “bidding” takes place.

If a candidate finds a suitable home and prefers it as their residence, they may inform the council of their intent by applying for it online. This is called “bidding”. The council may then direct them on how to proceed with the next steps in the bidding process.

A bid is merely a show of interest from the candidates’ side and does not guarantee that they may be assigned the premises. Depending upon the priority band and the time taken as part of the waiting list, the council decides whether the property is to be assigned as a housing facility to the bidding candidate or not.

In some cases, should candidates not approve of the housing facility assigned by the local council, they have the option of refusing it. However, too many refusals may lead to removal from the waiting list.

Conclusion:

Though the funds available with council authorities are budgeted with a detailed spending plan designed; however, they usually keep some amount separate for situations in which they may need to extend financial assistance to the residents of council housing. One of such aids provided by them includes payment of moving costs. 

FAQs: Can Council Help With Moving Costs?

How can I get help with moving expenses?

You can ask your local council to assist you with moving expenses. They may be able to provide an interest-free loan or a grant. Otherwise, there are many charities that can contact either individually or through council authorities to provide help with moving expenses.

Can Universal Credit help with moving costs?

Applicants claiming Universal Credit may apply for a “budgeting advance”. This is an interest-free loan that aims to cover the costs of advance rent, removal or moving costs.

Can you get a moving grant?

Moving grants are usually arranged through local charities to help individuals on low-income pay for the expenses of moving their house. You can contact your local council office to connect you to such charities.

Can the council help with money?

Yes, the council can help with money so that you can pay for your living expenses or arrange an interest-free loan through the government. 

What is a relocation grant?

A relocation grant is a lump sum amount paid by an individual’s employer if they require them to move their residence due to the nature of their work. It covers the cost of moving the property and personal items and varies depending on whether the relocation considers a change of city or country.

References:

Discretionary Housing Payment – What is Discretionary Housing Payment?

How to Get Help with Moving Costs – RemovalReviews

Get help with renting costs

Apply for Discretionary and/or Exceptional Hardship Payments – Basildon

Paying off your rent arrears

Get help with renting costs

Local welfare assistance | Local welfare assistance

Can someone live with me in my council house?

Getting a council home

Council housing

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.