coast

What is Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit helps you pay your rent if you're on a low income and your savings and investments are below a certain level. Claiming Housing Benefit will not affect any other benefits you get. 

If you or your partner are of working age, not already claiming and need help with your rent, you will need to claim Universal Credit, unless: 

  • you live in specified accommodation where you receive care and support from your landlord, or
  • you live in temporary accommodation.

How much you are entitled to depends on your personal circumstances; you can use the online benefit calculator as a guide to how much you might be able to claim.

Sharing bedrooms – How the rooms you need are worked out

The following are expected to share:

  • an adult couple
  • two children under 16 of the same sex
  • two children under 10 (regardless of sex).

The following can have their own bedroom:

  • a single adult (16 or over)
  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, for example you have three children and two already share
  • children who cannot share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight).

One spare bedroom is allowed for:

  • an approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
  • a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time.

Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces may not be counted as ‘spare’ if they’re away and intend to return home.

Calculate how many bedrooms you are eligible for.

Eligible rent if your landlord is a housing association

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for one spare bedroom 
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for two or more spare bedrooms.

Your eligible rent will be reduced if your rent includes ineligible service charges such as heating, water or sewage.

Eligible rent if you rent from a private landlord

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately. The LHA level is dependent upon: 

  • where you live
  • your household size.

Your rent may be referred to a rent officer if you’re living in: 

  • a houseboat or a mooring
  • a caravan or mobile home
  • a room with any meals included in the rent (sometimes known as a boarding home) 
  • a hostel 
  • a Rent Act-protected property 
  • a room where your landlord provides care support or supervision.

The benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people of working age can get. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get is not more than the cap level. See more information about the benefit cap.