Housing benefit

Housing benefit is a national, means-tested benefit that can help you pay your rent if you're on a low income.

If you're of working age and claiming benefit for the first time, you may need to claim universal credit  to help with your housing costs.

To be entitled to housing benefit, you must:

  • be liable to pay rent to a private landlord or social sector landlord
  • live in the property for which you're liable to pay rent
  • either be entitled to income support, jobseeker's allowance, income-related employment support allowance, pension credit guarantee, or have a low income

You can't claim housing benefit if you live in the same household as a close relative and you pay rent to them.

The amount of benefit you receive will depend on:

  • the income and capital that you and your partner have
  • your household circumstances, such as your marital status, who else lives with you, whether you're disabled
  • the amount of rent you have to pay

If you have savings, capital or investments worth £16,000 or more, you won't qualify for benefit, unless you're also getting pension credit guarantee. Use our benefit calculator  to get an estimate of how much benefit you may be entitled to.

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Local housing allowance

If you're renting your home from a private landlord, your housing benefit will usually be worked out using the local housing allowance (LHA) scheme.

The LHA doesn't apply if:

  • you're a council or housing association tenant
  • you live in a caravan, mobile home, hostel or houseboat
  • board and attendance is included in your rent
  • you live in supported accommodation and your landlord is a registered charity or voluntary organisation

Your benefit is worked out using the LHA rate that fits your specific household circumstances. The rates are affected by the number of people living in your property. A change in circumstances may affect the LHA rate that applies to your claim, so it's important you tell us of any changes.

Find out how to make a claim.