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Housing benefit

If you are on a low income and need financial help to pay all or part of your rent, you may be eligible for housing benefit.

If you are a private tenant renting property or a room from a private landlord and on a low income, you may be eligible for local housing allowance (LHA).

Claiming housing benefit will not affect any other benefits you get.


How do I claim?

We assess you for housing benefit and council tax reduction (benefits) at the same time.

Try our benefits calculator to see what help you can get.

You can make a new claim online or go to our how to claim benefits page for more information.


Am I eligible?

You may claim housing benefit if you pay rent and your income, savings and investments are below a certain level.

You cannot usually get housing benefit if:

  • you have savings of over £16,000, unless you are aged 60 or over and getting the 'guarantee credit' of pension credit
  • you live in the home of a close relative
  • you are a full-time student, unless you are disabled or have children
  • you are an asylum seeker or are sponsored to be in the UK

Other restrictions

If you live with a partner or civil partner only one of you can claim housing benefit.

If you are single and aged under 25 you can only get housing benefit for bed-sit accommodation or one room in shared accommodation.


How much could I get?

The most Housing Benefit you can get is the same as your 'eligible' rent. This is the amount used to work out your benefit but may not be the same as your full rent.

What is 'eligible' rent?

Eligible rent includes:

  • rent for the accommodation
  • charges for some services, such as a lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas

Even if it's included in your rent, you won't get any Housing Benefit for:

  • water charges
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels

The amount of Housing Benefit you may get also depends on:

Your personal and financial circumstances

We will look at:

  • money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
  • your savings (and your partner's or civil partner's savings)
  • your circumstances: such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent

The particulars of your home and the rent you pay

We will also look at whether:

  • the amount of rent is reasonable for your particular home
  • your home is a reasonable size for you and your family
  • the amount of rent is reasonable for the area where you live

Your 'eligible' rent may be limited to an amount that's reasonable for a suitably sized property in the area you live.


How is housing benefit paid?

  • If you are a council tenant, we will pay any housing benefit straight into your rent account.
  • If you are not a council tenant you can choose to have the benefit paid directly to your landlord, or to you by cheque or by direct payment into your bank account.

Your landlord may need to complete a tenancy declaration

If you don't have a formal tenancy agreement or a rent book we will need your landlord to complete the Tenancy declaration form [PDF, 13.2 KB]


Discretionary Housing Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are extra payments to help pay rent.

We can give DHPs to people claiming benefit who need extra help with their housing costs, if these are more than the amount of benefit they get, please contact us for details.

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