Money Matters

What do I need to know?

Living on your own can be expensive. It’s important to budget and think carefully about what you can afford. Use the Money Advice Service budget planner to help you.

If you are on a low income you might be able to get help with paying your rent, council tax, tenancy deposit, or buying household and essential items.

If you are struggling with rent arrears or other debts, get advice quickly so you don’t find yourself at risk of eviction.

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If you’re on a low income find out if you can get  housing benefit or universal credit housing costs  to help you pay your rent.

If you are struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to claim Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP), you can find out more here.

If you plan on renting from a family member or if you are a student there are special rules about claiming housing benefit so make sure you check whether these apply to you.

single-room rate for most childless young people living in private rented property and claiming housing benefit or universal credit housing costs applies until you reach the age of 35. This means you are only entitled to help  for renting a single room in a shared house, even if you live in self-contained accommodation. There are exceptions for young people with disabilities and care leavers.

If you want to rent from a private landlord you’ll probably need to plan how to pay for a deposit (which should be protected in a government-backed scheme). If you don’t have money for a deposit there may be a bond or rent guarantee scheme in your area that can help you, or you may be able to claim a discretionary housing payment from your local council. Click here for more details.

Many landlords will also want the first month’s rent paid in advance. If you are on a low income you might be able to claim a budgeting loan or advance from the DWP to help you pay this. Click here for more details.

There might be some essential things you need to buy for you new home. Use our Leaving home checklist to help you think about everything you might need. You may be able to get some help for household essentials by claiming a budgeting loan, if you are on universal credit or, if it’s an emergency, you may be able to get help from the Discretionary Assistance Fund.

You may be able to get a grant from the Discretionary Assistance Fund to help you get settled.

Some care leavers can get housing benefit to help them pay their rent, but you’ll probably be financially dependent on social services until you turn 18. See our pages on care leavers for more information.

If you are struggling with rent arrears or other debts, act quickly so you don’t find yourself at risk of eviction.

If you fall behind with your rent, your landlord could take steps to evict you and can ask for a court order to make you pay back what you owe.

If you do get into arrears, the sooner you take action the better. You may be able to negotiate a payment plan with your landlord so you can pay off the arrears gradually.

The situation is likely to get worse if you do nothing. Get advice as soon as you can. Click here for more advice or contact one of our expert debt advisers.

If you need more advice or help with money matters have a read of our money advice pages.

Most people who rent a flat or house have to pay council tax direct to the council.

Some people might qualify for a reduction, discount or exemption. This includes where :

  • everyone who lives in the accommodation is a full time university or college student
  • everyone who lives in the accommodation is under the age of 18

Since the 1 April 2019, care leavers under the age of 25 have been exempt from paying council tax in all areas of Wales.

You can find more information about council tax and how to apply for a reduction or discount here.

Most letting fees are now banned, but you can still be asked to pay:

  • a holding deposit
  •  a fee for late payment of your rent
  • if you have broken a term of your tenancy agreement.

You can find more information about letting fees here.

Over recent years, a number of benefits, including housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance and working tax credit, have been replaced by Universal Credit.

If you need to apply for Universal Credit you usually have to go online. Take a look at our page on How do I apply for Universal Credit? for more details.

For most other benefits you will need to fill in a form, which you can get from your local council office or you can call the Jobcentre Plus benefits claim line on 0800 055 66 88.

Use the entitledto Benefits Calculator to see what benefits you might be able to claim.

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Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

This page was last updated on: September 8, 2020

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.