Housing Costs

You may be able to get help with certain housing costs such as rent, rates, and mortgage interest payments.

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) is the public housing authority responsible for providing access to decent, affordable housing and is often the gatekeeper for relevant support services.

Information on the independent social housing sector is available via the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA).

Housing Rights provide a wealth of locally-relevant independent information on housing matters through the Housing Advice NI website.

Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payments give tenants extra financial help towards rent if the amount of Universal Credit or Housing Benefit they receive does not cover the full amount they have to pay their landlord.

More information about Discretionary Housing Payments can be accessed at the NIHE Housing Help website:

Housing Benefit and Rate Relief

Renters and home owners on a low income might be entitled to Housing Benefit, Rate Relief or both to help pay housing costs. Applications are made to NIHE. Anyone entitled to Universal Credit can no longer make a claim for Housing Benefit for rent or rates and must claim the new benefit instead.

More information about Housing Benefit and Rate Relief can be accessed at nidirect:


Social Sector Size Criteria (Bedroom Tax)

Social Sector Size Criteria (also known as the Bedroom Tax) limits the amount of Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Housing Costs Element paid to tenants in social housing if they have more bedrooms than they are considered to need. Mitigations are available for people on Housing Benefit affected by the Bedroom Tax.

More information about the Bedroom Tax can be accessed at nidirect:

Lone Pensioner Allowance

Lone Pensioner Allowance is a 20% discount for ratepayers aged 70 or over who live alone. The allowance is not means-tested and should not impact on other benefits.

More information about the Lone Pensioner Allowance, as well as an application form, can be accessed at nidirect:

Rate Rebate

Rate Rebate is a reduction in rates liability for homeowners and tenants receiving Universal Credit. It is paid in different ways depending on whether the claimant is a homeowner, housing association, NIHE or private tenant, but is never paid direct to the claimant. To get Rate Rebate, tenants and homeowners must apply online to Land & Property Services (LPS).

More information about Rate Rebate and details about creating an account can be accessed at nidirect:

Support for Mortgage Interest

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a loan offered to homeowners on some income-related benefits to help with mortgage interest payments. It is paid direct to the mortgage lender. SMI must be repaid with interest when the homeowner sells or transfers ownership of the property, providing there is enough money left from the sale to cover the loan.

More information about SMI, as well as an application form, can be accessed at nidirect: