If you are a single private renter under the age of 35, you are usually only entitled to housing benefit at the shared accommodation rate. Some people are exempt.
What is the shared accommodation rate?
The shared accommodation rate applies to most single people under 35 renting from a private landlord.
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.
The shared accommodation rate is set by the council's local rent officers.
The rates are set under local housing allowance (LHA) rules. Use the LHA rate finder to find local rates.
Find out how to make a housing benefit claim.
If you live in shared accommodation
The shared accommodation rate for housing benefit always applies if you live in shared accommodation. You won't benefit from any exemptions. These only apply if you live in self-contained accommodation.
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.
Homeless or leaving prison
The shared accommodation rate should not apply if you are 25 or over and 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
- 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 are disabled, the shared accommodation rate won't apply if you:
- need overnight care
- qualify for the severe disability premium
- receive the middle or high rate of disability living allowance, or the daily living component of a personal independent payment (PIP), or the armed forces independence payment
Dealing with a rent shortfall
You could also ask your council about a discretionary housing payment.