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Temporary accommodation

Find out how we can help those in need of emergency or temporary accommodation.

Published on: 30 December 2020

Last updated: 30 December 2020

Rent - FAQs

How do I pay my rent?

Once you move into temporary accommodation, you will automatically receive a rent card within 1 week of your placement. 

You can pay using your card at any Post Office (please ring us if required 0207 641 1000 to speak to your rents officer)

There are however a number of other ways that you can pay your rent:

  • By standing order (payable to our sort code 30-00-00 and account number 03395065, or ask us for a form)
  • Online at www.cwh.org.uk (you need your 12 digit rent account number)
  • By the automated telephone service on 020 7823 2601 (you need your 12 digit rent account number)

Remember if you are struggling to pay your rent, and your are worried that you are unable to meet your payments, you must resolve this as soon as possible. 

I have rent arrears

If you are struggling to pay your rent, and are worried that you are unable to meet your payments, you must resolve this as soon as possible. 

If your rent arrears rise above £1000, you will not be offered a social housing tenancy until this has been cleared/reduced. If you need a transfer to a different temporary home, we may not move you until your arrears are paid off.

Please remember you will be evicted if you do nothing about high rent arrears. If this happens it is unlikely that Westminster or any other local authority will offer you another home. 

If you have a problem paying your rent, you must make sure you contact our Rents Team immediately at [email protected].

The Rents Team are there to help you. They can refer you for debt and benefits advice, and in some cases can apply for some financial assistance such as Discretionary Housing Payments to help you in the short term. 

They can also refer you or an adult in your family to our employment support schemes. 

How can I check my rent balance? 

Online at City of Westminster Housing (you need your 12 digit rent account number)

By telephone automated service on 020 7823 2601 (you need your 12 digit rent account number)

Can I still get housing benefit if I am in receipt of Universal Credit?

Yes. If you are living in an area where you need to claim Universal Credit, you should claim the Standard Allowance. If you are a family, claim the Children’s Allowance.

When making the Universal Credit claim, make sure you say you are living in temporary accommodation.

In addition to claiming Universal Credit, you will need to claim housing benefit once you have been placed into temporary accommodation. When Universal Credit is assessed you will have to let the Council’s Benefits Service know so they can decide housing benefit.  

Can I get financial help towards the cost of my temporary accommodation?

Apply for housing benefit online. If you require help, you can contact the Council’s Benefits Service on 0800 072 0042.

My housing benefit claim is being assessed, do I still have to pay a contribution?

Yes, you do have to make a contribution. 

Whilst your housing benefit claim is being assessed, you can estimate your contribution online using our benefit calculator.  

How can I provide the requested information to housing benefit?

You can email the requested documents to the Benefits Service at [email protected], or by post to Westminster Benefits Service, PO Box 82, Erith DA8 1WJ.

My housing benefit has been awarded but I have rent arrears and I am struggling to pay my contribution   

Contact your rents officer on 020 7641 1000. We may able to offer you an agreement to pay your arrears in instalments and advise of other help available.    

My housing benefit has been paid but I still cannot manage to cover all my contribution 

  1. Ensure your Housing Benefit is correct
  2. Apply for a grant at Turn2Us
  3. Contact your Rents Officer for advise on other help available 

I am affected by the overall benefit cap

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) to receive short-term financial assistance with rent, whilst you take actions to become exempt from the overall benefit cap.

Apply for DHP online and submit the completed form to the Council by post to Westminster Benefits Service, PO Box 82, Erith DA8 1WJ or email to [email protected].

I have other external debts 

Contact your Rents Officer on 020 7641 1000.  We may be able to refer you to a debt advisor for help.

Why am I unable to bid?

You may be suspended if you have rent arrears on your account. This can be caused if your housing benefit has stopped or if you have failed to pay your weekly contributions.

Contact your Rents Officer to discuss ways to address your rent arrears on 0207 641 1000.

Do you evict people for rent arrears?

Unfortunately yes, but only as a last resort and if we see you are not taking action to clear your arrears. 

If you are evicted, you will have to find your own accommodation. Contact us early to prevent eviction from happening.

Please ring us on 0207 641 1000 to speak to your rents officer.

Useful telephone numbers

Housing Benefit - 0800 072 0042

Universal Credit Helpline - 0800 328 5644

Housing Solutions Services - 0207 641 1000