Housing Benefit & Local Housing Allowance

Housing Benefit

Photo showing two front doors of houses

Housing benefit is help given to people on a low income to reduce the amount of rent they have to pay to their landlord.

The rules are set nationally but your local council administers the scheme.

Who can claim Housing Benefit ?

You can claim if you :

  • pay rent to a housing association or local authority
  • live in a hostel, caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • pay a rent that has been registered as a 'fair rent'
  • have a tenancy that began before 1989
  • live in accommodation where a large part of the rent is for board and attendance

I rent from a private landlord

If you rent from a private landlord and make a new claim for housing benefit, have a break in your existing housing benefit claim, or move to privately rented accommodation your claim will be assessed under the rules for Local Housing Allowance

Who cannot claim Housing Benefit ?

Housing Benefit cannot normally be paid if you :

  • Live with and pay rent to a close relative
  • Used to live with your Landlord as a member of their family
  • Are renting a home that you used to share with your ex-partner
  • Are responsible for your Landlords child
  • Used to own the property you now rent
  • Live in the home as part of your job
  • Live in a Care home
  • Are a Full time student

Exceptions can apply to all of the above so if you are not sure whether you can claim or not you should contact the Benefit Section for advice.  

Who will qualify for Housing Benefit ?

You may qualify for Housing Benefit if you:

  • are on a low income
  • are working full or part time and earning a low wage
  • have savings under £16,000.00 (however if you are in receipt of pension credit guarantee this limit does not apply)
  • are receiving state benefits

How much Housing Benefit can I get?

If you (and your partner if you are a couple) are on a low income, you can get up to the full amount of your rent. However it could be reduced if:

  • you are under pension age, live in a council or housing association home and have one or more 'spare' bedrooms. This is called under occupancy
  • your rent includes a service charge, such as money for things like heating or meals
  • the Rent Officer decides that your rent is above the typical rent for suitably sized accommodation in the area. Details about how the Rent Officer makes these decisions can be found on the Valuation Office Agency website
  • you have other adults in your household, for example grown up children, other relatives or friends. These are known as non-dependants
  • your income is more than the rules say you need to live on