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Benefit if you're paying rent on two homes

If you've taken the tenancy of a new property, but not yet moved out of your old house, you may be able to claim benefit before you move if:

  • you haven't moved yet because the building is being adapted because you or a family member is disabled, and the delay in moving in was reasonable
  • you're disabled, a pensioner, or have a child aged under six and are waiting for a social fund loan from the Benefits Agency
  • you were previously an in-patient in hospital or living in a residential care home

If you've moved into a new house, but still have to pay rent on your old address, you might be able to claim housing benefit for both properties.

The need for you to pay rent on two properties must be unavoidable. If you knew you were going to be moving out but didn't tell your landlord in time, then the overlap of the tenancies could have been avoided.

You might be able to claim housing benefit for both properties for a maximum of four weeks, or until your old landlord rents your old property to a new tenant, whichever is the shorter.

Some reasons why you might need benefit on two homes, sometimes for longer than four weeks include:

  • you have to leave your normal home through fear of violence
  • your family is so large we've arranged for you to live in two houses
  • you have a partner and one of you is a student who is studying away from your normal home and needs to claim benefit elsewhere.