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.
What is the shared accommodation rate?
The shared accommodation rate applies to most single people under 35 renting from a private landlord. It does not apply if you are a council or housing association tenant.
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 housing benefit you can get for living in a shared home is usually less than for a self-contained home.
The rates are set under local housing allowance (LHA) rules and are different depending on where you live.
Exemptions when you live with others
The shared accommodation rate doesn't apply regardless of your age if you live in self-contained accommodation and you:
- have a child who lives with you
- live with your partner as a couple
- live with an adult non-dependant
- are a foster carer
Exemptions for care leavers
If you are a care leaver, the shared accommodation rate does not apply until you are 22.
Homeless or leaving prison
The shared accommodation rate should not apply if you are 25 or over and can show that you:
- lived in homeless hostels for at least three months and accepted rehabilitation or support services before moving to the private rented sector
- are a former prisoner and are managed under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
Housing benefit if you have a disability
You can claim the 1-bed rate of local housing allowance (LHA) if you are in self-contained accommodation and get any of the following benefits:
- daily living component of personal independence payment (PIP)
- attendance allowance
- middle or high rate care component of disability living allowance (DLA)
- armed forces independence payment
You can claim the 2-bed rate of local housing allowance (LHA) if you need overnight care and somebody regularly stays over to care for you and is provided with a bedroom when they stay.
Dealing with a rent shortfall
You'll need to make up any rent payments not covered by housing benefit using other income.
Discretionary housing payments can help.
Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter