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 local housing allowance (LHA) rate used to calculate universal credit housing element or housing benefit for most single private renters under 35.

If you're over 35 and sharing

You’ll get the:

  • 1 bed self contained rate if you’re claiming universal credit

  • shared accommodation rate if you’re claiming housing benefit

When you can get more than the shared accommodation rate

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.

Your local housing allowance rate will be different in the following situations. This counts even if you’re in shared accommodation.

You live with other household 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 household 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.

You're a care leaver

If you're a care leaver under 22 with no children, you can usually get the 1 bed self contained LHA rate.

You get a different LHA rate if children live with you.

You get certain disability benefits

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.

You need 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.

You've lived in a homeless hostel or refuge

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

  • you're 25 or over

  • you've lived in hostels for at least 3 months

The 3 months does not have to be continuous and you could have stayed in more than one hostel or refuge.

The hostel or refuge must have provided meals or shared kitchen facilities.

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

You're a former prisoner covered by MAPPA

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: 9 November 2020

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