Housing Benefit is a benefit for
people on a low income to help them pay their rent.
You may be able to get
Housing Benefit if you are on other benefits, work part-time or
work full-time on a low income. You cannot get Housing Benefit to
help with the costs of a mortgage or home loan. If you are an
owner-occupier, you may be able to get help with your mortgage
interest through Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s
Allowance or Pension Credit.
Important changes to Housing Benefit
From April 2011 the Government made
further changes to Housing Benefit (also called Local Housing
Allowance), for tenants renting from a landlord in the private
sector. Local Housing Allowances (LHA) are now worked out using an
average of the cheapest 1/3 of properties in the area. This will
start to reduce the amount of benefit you get on your next review
date (usually 1 year after your first claim LHA). From January
2012, this change will start to affect people who were already
receiving LHA in April 2011 when the change came in. These people
were protected on the "old rate" of LHA until the anniversary of
their claim plus 9 months.
Also from January 2012, all single people who live alone and are
under the age of 35yrs, will have their Housing Benefit calculated
based on the Local Housing Allowance rate for shared accommodation,
regardless of how many bedrooms their property has. This could mean
your benefit will reduce from the anniversary of your claim. Please
see the Local Housing
Allowance page for more details.
Will this affect me?
Yes, if you are renting a property from a
private landlord and receiving Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
What is changing?
- You will not be able to get more money
for Housing Benefit than the rent you are charged.
- There will no longer be a five bedroom
Local Housing Allowance rate. The maximum level is for a four
- The Government will reduce LHA rates to a
lower amount, after April 2011,which will affect the amount of
housing benefit you receive.
- single people under the age of 35yrs will only be able to get
the shared accommodation rate from January 2012
- New LHA rates based on the Governments lower amounts will be
payable from the anniversary of your first claim for LHA plus 9
months. (first affected cases January 2012)
When will this affect me?
- If you are making a new claim to Housing Benefit or moving
home, the changes will affect you from the date of your new or
- If you are already claiming Housing Benefit you will continue
to receive your current rate of LHA, or the rent you are charged
(whichever is lower) for a further period of 9 months from the date
that the local authority next reviews your local housing allowance
rate. This is to allow you time to find cheaper property, or
negotiate with your landlord to reduce the rent, if you decide you
can not afford the difference in your rent.
- For instance if your next review is due in June 2011 you will
continue to receive your current rate of local housing allowance
until March 2012, at which date this will reduce to the new rates
of local housing allowance.
The changes may affect you sooner if:
- You are getting Housing Benefit and move home.
- Your household changes - such as someone leaves or comes to
live with you.
In these cases, the new level of LHA will
apply from the date your circumstances change.
Where to go for more information
For more details see the Local Housing Allowance page or the latest new for landlords pages.
You can claim Housing Benefit (also known as Rent
- you are on Income Support or Job Seekers
Allowance or Employment Support Allowance
- you are on a low income (this includes
people who are self employed or if you have just been made
You cannot get Housing Benefit if:-
- you, or your partner between you, have
more than £16,000 in savings (unless you get Pension Credit
- A partner is someone you are married to,
or someone you live with as if you are married to them. or a civil
To check if you would qualify for benefit, please
visit on the Benefits Calculator page and follow the
instructions. This will give you an estimate of the amount of
benefit you could get.
If you think you would qualify, please see
the How to claim HB and CTB
page or to download a form visit the forms to download page.
For information about Income
Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance or other
benefits visit the Benefits Useful
Links page to get access to the Department for Work and
Last Updated - 16/04/2013