Rent

Council and housing association tenants 

This does not apply to housing association tenants on a market rent rate. Housing association tenants on market rent rates are considered private tenants.

Eligible rent is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can pay you regardless how much your rent is.

If you are renting from a local council or from a housing association then eligible rent equals gross rent minus ineligible service charges (service charges you pay that are not towards communal costs).

However, if you are under-occupying your property, meaning if you have a spare bedroom, then an amount is deducted from your eligible rent as follows:

  • 14% of the eligible rent is deducted for one spare bedroom
  • 25% of the eligible rent is deducted for two or more spare bedrooms

Depending on the composition of your household you will have a ‘bedroom requirement’. This is the number of bedrooms you need based on Housing Benefit regulations. If the amount of bedrooms your tenancy agreement shows exceeds the amount of bedrooms required, then a deduction will be taken as shown above.

Bedroom requirements

The bedroom requirements state that you should have one room for each:

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

The following can have their own bedroom:

  • a single adult (aged 16 or over)
  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken; for example you have three children and two already share
  • couples who can’t share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition (you will need to provide proof of the disability or medical condition, and you will need to prove how the disability or medical condition prevents the couple from sharing a room)
  • children who can’t share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition (you will need to provide proof of the disability or medical condition, and you will need to prove how the disability or medical condition prevents the child from sharing a room)
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner, but only if they must stay overnight (you will need to provide medical proof that an overnight carer is required and that regular overnight care is provided)

One spare bedroom is also 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

Only one extra room can be allowed for a foster carer per household.

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

Private tenants

If you are a private tenant, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out your eligible rent. This also applies to housing association tenants on a market rent rate tenancy.

Eligible rent is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can pay you regardless of how much your rent is.

Eligible rent equals your LHA rate (unless your rent is lower, in which case your eligible rent will be your actual rent cost). The LHA does not apply to council tenants and housing association tenants, unless they are market rent rate tenants.

The LHA rate is calculated by identifying:

  • your age
  • how many people in the property require a bedroom
  • which rate applies due to the geographic location of your property

LHA rates are dependent on the number of bedrooms you require, with a maximum of 4 bedrooms.

Depending on the composition of your household you will have a bedroom requirement. This is the number of bedrooms you require based on Housing Benefit regulations. Each number of bedrooms required has its own LHA Rate.

If you are under the age of 35, living on your own, you will only be entitled to a shared room rate.

If you are renting a bedroom in a shared accommodation and are living on your own, you will also only be entitled to a shared room rate.

Bedroom requirements

One room for each:

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

These people 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 three children and two already share
  • couples who can’t share a bedroom because of a disability or medical condition (you will need to provide proof of the disability or medical condition, and will need to prove how the disability or medical condition prevents the couple from sharing a room)
  • children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition (you will need to provide proof of the disability or medical condition and will need to prove how the disability or medical condition prevents the child from sharing a room)
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner, but only if they must stay overnight (you will need to provide medical proof that an overnight carer is required and that regular overnight care is provided)

One spare bedroom is also 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

Only one extra room can be allowed for a foster carer per household.

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

Bedroom requirements examples

Example 1
A claimant lives with her 19 year old brother and 2 sons aged 9 and 11. The brother is not a joint-tenant. This results in a requirement of 3 bedrooms:

  • one bedroom for the claimant
  • one bedroom for the brother
  • one bedroom for the sons to share

Example 2
A claimant lives with his partner, his 68 year old mother, 3 daughters (8, 16 and 17) and one son aged 9. The mother is not a joint-tenant. This results in a requirement of four bedrooms:

  • one bedroom for the claimant and partner
  • one bedroom for the mother
  • one bedroom for two under 10s to share
  • one bedroom for the 16 year old
  • one bedroom for the 17 year old

Although it appears that they require 5 bedrooms, the LHA has a maximum of a 4 bedroom rate.

LHA rates

For April 2021 to March 2022

  Weekly amount
Shared accommodation £101.61
1 bedroom £207.12
2 bedroom £264.66
3 bedroom £316.44
4 bedroom £398.14

 

Private tenants- receiving Housing Benefit since before 2008

This only applies to private tenants who have been receiving Housing Benefit before 7 April 2008 and have not changed addresses or have had a break in their claim since.

Eligible rent is the maximum amount of Housing Benefit we can pay you regardless how much your rent is.

If you have been receiving Housing Benefit from before 7 April 2008 and have not changed addresses, nor had a break in your claim then you are under the Local Reference Rent (LRR) scheme. This also applies to new claims in some unconventional accommodation.

The LRR represents the average rent for a property of a size that would meet the claimant’s needs.

The rent officer then carries out an individual valuation of the claimant’s property, and the valuation reflects the property’s own market value and is referred to as the Claim Related Rent.

The Claim Related Rent is compared to the Local Reference Rent and Housing Benefit is based on the lesser figure.

Rent officer’s determination

This means your eligible rent is the rent officer’s determination. The rent officer (via the Valuations Office Agency) will make a series of valuations and reach a determination. The determination is your eligible rent.

Find more information on Housing Benefit – LRR scheme.