Housing benefit: renting from family

Find out if you can claim housing benefit for rent you pay to someone in your family.

Living in the same home

You can't get housing benefit for rent you pay to a close family member you live with.

People who count as close family members are your:

  • parents, parents-in-law or step-parents
  • child, step-child or son or daughter-in-law
  • sisters or brothers
  • half-sisters or half-brothers
  • sisters-in-law or brothers-in-law

Partners of these family members also count as close family members.

Exceptions

You may get housing benefit if you pay rent to a different family member you live with, such as a grandparent.  

You must have a commercial arrangement such as a contract, rather than an informal family arrangement. 

Non-dependant deductions of housing benefit

If you live with a close family member who claims housing benefit, their housing benefit could be reduced if you are an adult.

This is called a non dependant deduction

Living in a separate home

You can get housing benefit if you rent a property from a member of your family who lives elsewhere.

You can only get housing benefit in this situation if the council accepts that your tenancy is a commercial one rather than an informal family arrangement.

The council will want proof of your tenancy, such as:

  • a contract
  • evidence of rent payments

The council may ask if your relative took a tenancy deposit or provided you with a gas safety certificate before you moved in.

Renting from a partner or ex-partner

You can’t get housing benefit if your landlord is a parent of your child and the child lives with you.

This applies if your landlord is a current or ex-partner.

Former housing with an ex-partner

You can get housing benefit if you pay rent to an ex-partner for somewhere you never lived together as a couple, but not if you have a child with your ex and the child lives with you.

You can't get housing benefit if you pay rent to an ex-partner for a home you used to live in as a couple.

Challenging housing benefit decisions

You can challenge a housing benefit decision if you think it is wrong.

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person


Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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