You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a Housing Association (Social Housing).

How much you get depends on:

  • your age
  • your ‘eligible’ rent
  • the number of people in your household and their ages
  • your household income - including benefits, pensions and savings (over £6,000)
  • your circumstances, for example if someone in your house has a disability

Eligible rent

This is usually the core rent charged by your landlord. It can include some service charges but not personal charges such as meals or utilities.

Eligible rent if your landlord is a Housing Association

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 2 or more spare bedrooms
  • Your eligible rent will be reduced if your rent includes ineligible service charges such as heating, water, sewage

Eligible rent if you rent from a Private Landlord

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately. How much you get is usually based on:

  • where you live
  • your household size
  • your income - including benefits, pensions and savings (over £6,000)
  • your circumstances

The Valuation Office Agency provides information to find out how many bedrooms you’re eligible for and your LHA rate

Your rent may be referred to a rent officer if you are living in:

  • a houseboat or a mooring
  • a caravan site
  • a room with any meals included in the rent (sometimes known as a boarding home)
  • a hostel
  • a Rent Act protected property
  • a room where your landlord provides care support or supervision

Sharing bedrooms – How the rooms you need are worked out

The following are expected to share:

  • an adult couple
  • 2 children under 16 of the same sex
  • 2 children under 10 (regardless of sex)

The following can have their own bedroom:

  • a single adult (16 or over)
  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, for example you have 3 children and 2 already share
  • children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)

One spare bedroom is allowed for:

  • an approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
  • a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time

Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces may not be counted as ‘spare’ if they’re away and intend to return home.

The benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level. See more information about the benefit cap.

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