Benefits for under 35s in shared housing

Many single private renters who are under 35 can only claim the shared accommodation rate of housing benefit or universal credit housing costs.

Shared accommodation rate for private renters

The shared accommodation rate is the maximum amount of housing benefit or universal credit housing costs you can get when renting a room in a shared house from a private landlord.

It's set under local housing allowance (LHA) rules. The rate varies depending on where you live.

If you're under 35 and claiming as a single person, you can usually only get the shared accommodation rate even if you don't share your home with others.

Check the local housing allowance rates on GOV.UK

If you're over 35 and sharing

You’ll get the:

  • shared accommodation rate if you’re claiming housing benefit
  • 1-bed self-contained rate if you’re claiming housing costs under universal credit

When you won't get the shared accommodation rate

You’ll get your benefits paid at a different rate if you’re in any of these situations. This counts even if you’re in shared accommodation.

If you live with other family members

The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply if you live in a self-contained private home with:

  • your partner
  • dependent or foster children
  • adult children or other adult family members

You're also exempt if you've been approved as a foster carer or had a child placed with you in the last year, even if you don't have a placement currently.

The maximum housing benefit or universal credit housing costs  you can get is calculated according to the number of bedrooms you're entitled to under LHA rules.

Care leavers

You can usually get the 1-bed self-contained LHA rate if you're a care leaver under the age of 22.

If you have a disability

You can get the 1-bed self-contained rate if you claim:

  • PIP – daily living component
  • DLA – middle or high rate
  • armed forces independence payment

This doesn't apply if someone else gets carers allowance or the carers element of universal credit because they're your full-time carer.

Overnight care

You can get the 2-bed LHA rate if a paid or unpaid carer stays with you regularly to provide overnight care and you claim the:

  • PIP – daily living component
  • DLA – middle or high rate

There must be a bedroom available for your carer when they stay.

If you've lived in a homeless hostel

You’ll get the 1-bed self-contained LHA rate when renting privately if:

  • you're 25 or over
  • you've lived in a homeless hostel for at least 3 months, whether continuously or not

You must have accepted support and resettlement services while living at the hostel.

Former prisoners

You can claim the 1-bed self-contained LHA rate when renting privately if:

  • you're 25 or over
  • your release from prison is managed under multi-agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) - Level 2 or 3

If your benefits don't cover the rent

If housing benefit or universal credit doesn't cover your full rent, you must make up any shortfall from other income.

You could try applying for a discretionary housing payments.


Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter

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