Relationship breakdowns during a tenancy

5 min read

The video below contains information about what to do when a relationship ends during a tenancy.

Your rights

You may be married, in a civil partnership, or cohabiting. One or both of you may be named on the tenancy agreement or licence. Shelter has produced comprehensive guidance outlining your rights in these different circumstances, including who has right to remain in the property, and who is responsible for paying rent and any rent arrears.

Divorce and separation advice

Communicare offers divorce and separation support including general and legal advice, referrals to counselling and mediation services, and assistance with form filling.

Contact or 0118 9263941.

Claim benefits

If you choose to separate, the remaining tenant may be entitled to claim benefits to help cover the rent and other overheads:

The following organisations offer support with benefit checks, form filling and mandatory reconsiderations:


Nquire offers free support, advice, and information to people in and around West Reading. This includes help with welfare benefits advice, form filling, letter writing, and debt referrals. Contact or 0118 959 8558

Reading Community Welfare Rights

Reading Community Welfare Rights provides a specialist service to all sectors of the local community in relation to all welfare benefits including assistance with benefit checks and form filling, advice on your right to challenge decisions, help with appeals, and preparation for court hearings. Contact  or 0118 955 1070.


Communicare offers support with applications and form filling. Email or 0118 926 3941

Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment

Discretionary Housing Payments are awarded by the council to those who need extra help with their rent where housing benefit, or Universal Credit does not cover the full amount, and where a tenancy is at risk. Accordingly, you can apply if you are currently claiming:

  • Housing benefit
  • Universal Credit with housing costs towards rent liability

Make a child maintenance arrangement

If you have a dependent child/children, the remaining tenant may wish to make a child maintenance arrangement to help cover living and childcare costs

A child maintenance arrangement is an arrangement between you and the other parent of your child. It covers how your child’s living costs will be met when their parents no longer live together. The arrangement can be either:

Free school dinners

All children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are entitled to free school meals.

You will need to show evidence to prove you are eligible.

Claim back child care costs

You may be able to claim back up to 85% of your childcare costs if you are claiming Universal Credit.

You will usually need to either:

  • be working – it does not matter how many hours you or your partner work
  • have a job offer

Apply for a council tax single person discount/support

If you are the only adult living in your home (aged 18 or over), we can give you a single person discount of 25%. If your circumstances change and you are no longer the only adult in your property you will need to cancel your discount with us.

You can apply for/cancel a single person discount online and select ‘Dashboard’.

If you are on low income you may be eligible for a Council Tax Reduction.

Council Tax Reduction may reduce a Council Tax bill by:

  • up to 65% where a person of working age lives in the property
  • up to 100% where an individual or couple are over pensionable age

Emotional and practical support available in the community

Fridge for the Community

New Beginnings is a registered charity that has transformed the Queens Arms pub into a community café. On Wednesdays and Fridays between 12.30 and 1.30pm you can collect free food, and free clothing, including school uniform.

Other services include an after school club on a Wednesday. Free hot meals are served. In addition, craft activities, toys, and games are on offer for children to enjoy.
Address: 24 Great Knollys Street, Reading

First Days

First Days is a charity providing everyday essentials to families who them, by distributing school uniforms, new baby essentials, travel items, toiletries, safety equipment, furniture, toys and books. A professional working with your family can make a referral.

Home Start Reading

Home Start Reading offers support, friendship and practical help to parents with young children. Parents may be going through bereavement or post-natal depression, coping with a disability, an illness, or social isolation, amongst other things. Contact or 0118 956 8800.

Last updated on 29/05/2024