If you are a single private renter, under the age of 35, you are normally only entitled to housing benefit at the shared accommodation rate, but some people are exempt.
What is the shared accommodation rate?
With the shared accommodation rate, the maximum housing benefit you can get is the rate for renting a single room in a shared house. This applies even if you rent a self-contained flat.
Shared accommodation generally means accommodation where you share a bathroom, toilet, kitchen and other facilities with other renters.
The shared accommodation rate is set by the council's local rent officers. The maximum is based on the cost of a single room in a shared house in your area.
The rates are set under local housing allowance (LHA) rules. Use the LHA calculator to find local rates.
Find out how to make a housing benefit claim.
Exemptions when you live with others
The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply if you:
- have a child who lives with you
- live with a partner as a couple (unless you are renting shared accommodation)
- live with an adult dependent
- are a foster carer
The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply to council or housing association tenants.
Exemptions for care leavers
The shared accommodation rate does not apply until you are 22 if you are a care leaver.
If you are homeless or leaving prison
The shared accommodation rate should not apply if you can show that you:
- lived in hostels for homeless people for three months or more before moving to the private rented sector and while there accepted rehabilitation or support services to help you settle back into the community
- live in supported housing provided by a housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation
- have left prison and your housing has been arranged under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
Read more about housing benefit for prisoners.
Housing benefit if you have a disability
If you or your partner are disabled, you won't be restricted to the shared accommodation rate if you:
- have proved to your local council that you need overnight care
- receive the middle or high rate of disability living allowance
- get the daily living component of a personal independent payment (PIP)
- receive attendance allowance
- get armed forces independence payment if you claim universal credit
Dealing with a rent shortfall
There are steps you can take to cover any rent shortfall: