When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rent in advance

Landlords usually ask tenants to pay rent at the start of the month. This means that you may have to pay a month's rent in advance as well as a deposit before you move into your accommodation. You may be able to get help to cover this rent in advance.

Meaning of rent in advance

Rent is money paid by tenants to landlords in return for living in their accommodation. It is normally paid weekly or monthly, although it can be paid for other periods such as four weekly or quarterly. When tenancies start, landlords often ask for the first month or week's rent to be paid before it is due. This is rent in advance.

Housing benefit and rent in advance

Housing benefit is paid at the end of the month so can't be used to cover rent in advance. It can take the Housing Executive up to 2 weeks to process a housing benefit claim.  If 14 days have passed since you gave the Housing Executive everything it needs to process your claim and it still hasn't made a decision, you might be entitled to an interim payment.

Extended housing benefit payments

In some circumstances, you can continue to claim housing benefit, even though you have recently started work. This is known as an extended payment. 

Discretionary financial support

You may be able to apply for a discretionary financial support loan to help pay for rent in advance. It isn't easy to get a loan as there is a limited amount of money available for loans. 

Rent guarantee schemes

Rent deposit or rent guarantee schemes will normally have their own rules. However, most of these work by giving your landlord a guarantee that the scheme will pay any money you owe when you leave. If the landlord says that you owe money the scheme will investigate, and pay the landlord. If the scheme decides that your landlord is entitled to compensation, you will probably be asked to pay back any money it has paid out.