If you pay rent – that is, if you are living away from your parents, other than as a student – you may be able to claim Housing Benefit.
The lower your income, the more benefit you will receive.
You can claim if you are working, training or unemployed, but you can't claim if you have more than £16,000 in savings.
Housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit are both paid by your local council. If you think you may be entitled to Housing Benefit, you can get an application form from the Benefits Section at your local council.
If you live in a bed and breakfast or a hostel, it is likely
that the personal services you receive – meals, fuel, laundry, cleaning
etc – will not be
covered by Housing Benefit. The part of the rent that covers these will have to come out of your wages or your other benefits.
Claims after 7 April 2008
Claims for help with rent made on or after 7th April 2008 now receive Local Housing Allowance rather than Housing Benefit. LHA is calculated differently, and if your rent is up to £15 less than the council's award you get to keep the difference
You should aim to get more advice on these matters before you decide to take on a rented property.
The Citizens Advice Bureau or a housing advice service can help. If you think you may be entitled to Housing Benefit, put your claim in as soon as possible. If you delay, you may lose money.
You are entitled to ask for what is called a "pre-tenancy determination", which will give you an idea of what Housing Benefit you will get if you rent a property.
Even if you are getting other benefits, you may have to pay towards your rent. Your local Housing Benefit office will give you an application form for a "determination".
This page was updated on 15 July, 2008