How do I pay rent if my income has fallen?

I cannot work and am worried about being able to pay my rent


Unless your landlord has explicitly and directly confirmed otherwise, you are liable to pay rent as usual throughout the pandemic. We have more information about speaking to your landlord here.

If you are facing a loss of income you may be able to apply for Universal Credit, which includes Housing Benefit.  If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you can get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re eligible. You should tell your employer as soon as possible.

Loss of work/redundancy/caring for children off school

  • The government has announced that employees (who started before March 2020) and people who have been self-employed for at least a year and are unable to work during the outbreak can be paid 80% of their earnings up to £2500 per month for three months. Read more


  • You are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay if you are are staying at home with coronavirus symptoms or otherwise on government advice. If you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of illness – this measure will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020. If you need evidence for your employer, you can get an isolation note through the NHS online. Read more about Statutory Sick Pay. 
  • If you're self-employed you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The 7 waiting days for for new claimants will not apply if you are suffering from coronavirus symptoms or are required to stay at home.

If you're well, but you have lost work due to the pandemic, you can claim Universal Credit (which includes housing benefit):

  • The Government has increased the housing element of Universal Credit (local housing allowance) to cover the full rent for the cheapest 30% of rented homes in a local area. For many renters this will not be enough and it may be possible to request a Discretionary Housing Payment through your council.
  • To check what you're able to claim, visit a free benefit calculator, such as entitledto.
  • If you can't wait for your first payment, you can apply for a month's advance up front, without physically attending a jobcentre, which you will have to pay back over a period of 12 months.
  • Universal Credit is currently paid monthly, in arrears. That means you could have to wait up to 5 weeks before receiving a payment. It's important that you communicate with your landlord if you are struggling to pay your rent. We have outlined our advice below.
  • If you're self-employed and claiming Universal Credit, you will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected by coronavirus.
  • Read more about Universal Credit

We're demanding that the government prevents a spike in homelessness after 23 August by ending the rent debt crisis. Sign the petition.