Claim Housing Benefit

Last updated: 19 June 2018

You could get Housing Benefit to help pay your rent if you're on a low income.

Depending on where you live, you may have to claim Universal Credit instead. Universal Credit is replacing Housing Benefit for working age households.

Housing Benefit can pay for all or part of your rent. How much you get depends on your income and circumstances.

If you're a home owner, you won't be eligible for Housing Benefit. Read our guide for home owners with mortgage difficulties.

You can apply for Housing Benefit whether you're unemployed or working.

You can be a tenant of:

  • your local council or housing association
  • a private landlord

The amount of Housing Benefit you get will depend on your circumstances. These include:

  • your eligible rent
  • how many people live with you, or as part of your household
  • your household's income, including benefits pensions and savings
  • your circumstances, for example the age of the people in your home, or if someone has a disability

You can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment if:

  • you get Housing Benefit, but it doesn't cover all of your rent
  • you need more help with housing costs (for example to pay a deposit, or cover moving costs)

Claiming Housing Benefit

You can claim Housing Benefit through your local council. They can tell you:

  • if you're eligible
  • how to claim

Housing Benefit if you have a private landlord

If you rent your home from a private landlord, Housing Benefit may also be called Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Housing Benefit can help towards the cost of rent, but it doesn't cover charges for:

  • heating
  • hot water
  • lighting
  • laundry
  • cooking

The maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get depends on the area you live in, and the number of rooms you need. This is called the LHA rate.

The rate means that people in the same circumstances as you, and who live in the same area, get the same amount of support.

Check the LHA rates for the area you live in.

You can search for LHA rates by postcode or local council using the Local Housing Allowance Portal.

Housing Benefit if you rent from your local council or a Housing Association

If you're renting a home from a council, or housing association landlord, Housing Benefit can pay some or all of your rent.

It can also cover some service charges, but not charges for:

  • heating
  • hot water
  • lighting
  • laundry
  • cooking

Housing benefit and the bedroom tax

If you have one or more 'spare' rooms, your Housing Benefit may be reduced. This is called the bedroom tax.

If you're affected by the bedroom tax, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment.