Shared accommodation rate for under 35s

Many single private renters under 35 can only claim the shared accommodation rate of housing benefit. Some young people are exempt from this rule. 

Shared accommodation rate for private renters

In most cases, the shared accommodation rate is the maximum amount of housing benefit you can get if you rent a single room in a shared house from a private landlord.

If you're single, under 35 and renting privately you might only be able to claim the shared accommodation rate even if you rent a self-contained home.

The shared accommodation rate is set under local housing allowance (LHA) rules and is a different amount depending on where in the country you live.

Find LHA rates in your area on Directgov

If you live with other household members

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

  • your partner
  • dependant children 
  • adult children or extended family members

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

Your housing benefit will be calculated according to the number of bedrooms you're entitled to under LHA rules.

Care leavers

You can usually claim the 1-bed self-contained LHA rate (even if you live in shared accommodation) if you're a care leaver under the age of 22.

If you have a disability

You can usually claim the 1-bed self-contained LHA rate (even if you live in shared accommodation) if you get any of the following benefits:

  • personal independence payment (PIP) - daily living component 
  • disability living allowance (DLA) - middle or high rate care component 
  • armed forces independence payment

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

Overnight care

You can claim the 2-bed LHA rate if you can show that:

  • someone stays on a regular basis to provide you with overnight care
  • there's a bedroom available for them when they stay 

This could be a paid or unpaid carer.  

If you've lived in a homeless hostel

You can claim 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 

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

Dealing with a rent shortfall

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

Discretionary housing payments could help.


Last updated 15 May 2018 | © Shelter

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