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Discretionary Housing Payments and Universal Credit

Updated: 21 Mar 2019
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You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment online

For tenants renting from a private landlord in Northern Ireland only

If you are renting your home privately and you are awarded Universal Credit you can be considered for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if:
  • You are living in Northern Ireland
  • You are renting in the private sector; and
  • You find there is a gap between the actual rent charged by your landlord and the eligible rent used to calculate the housing cost of your Universal Credit award.
What is meant by ‘eligible rent’?
Eligible rent is based on Local Housing Allowance, an assessment scheme for the private sector based on the rent levels for the area and how many people are in the household.  These rates are posted on the Housing Executive’s website (opens separate page).
How do I apply?
The application should only be completed if:
  • You are renting in the private sector
  • You have applied for Universal Credit (Discretionary Housing Payment can only be considered once Universal Credit is awarded)
  • Your award of Universal Credit includes housing costs
  • There is a short-fall between the actual rent you pay and the eligible rent used when calculating the housing element of Universal Credit
The quickest way is online
or you can
Is a DHP award guaranteed?
No, DHP Awards are not guaranteed and each request is considered on its own merit.
If a Universal Credit DHP is awarded it will only be valid for four months after which a fresh application should be made.
What would affect an award of DHP?
Some changes in circumstances might affect an award of Universal Credit Discretionary Housing Payment.  They are:
  • change address
  • a decrease in rent charges
  • stop receiving the housing cost in the Universal Credit award
You must tell us immediately if any of the changes in circumstances happen to you.