Housing benefit for pre-2008 private tenants


Find out how your housing benefit is calculated and when you must claim universal credit instead if your situation changes.    

How your housing benefit is calculated

Your housing benefit is calculated differently if you're a private tenant claiming housing benefit at the same address since before 7 April 2008.

You may get more than you'd get under the local housing allowance rules which have been in place for new claimants since that date.

You can check the local housing allowance rates on GOV.UK and compare the weekly amount to what you get at the moment.

Get benefits advice if it looks like you might be better off under local housing allowance rules - you may have to claim universal credit instead of housing benefit.

Get benefits advice before choosing to switch to universal credit. Once you make a claim, you can't usually go back to the old system.

Check how much you might get on the entitledto calculator

When you have to transfer to universal credit

Unless you choose to move universal credit, you can continue to claim housing benefit until you have a change in circumstances.

If you're working age, some changes now mean that you must claim universal credit instead of your existing benefits. 

Examples include:

  • a partner moving in or out
  • having your first child
  • moving to a different council area
  • starting to work 16 hours or more a week - if you don't have dependent children  

Find out more about how a change can affect your housing benefit claim

If there's no change in your situation

You can continue to claim housing benefit until Jobcentre Plus tell you that you have to transfer to universal credit.

This is expected to happen at some point between July 2019 and December 2023.

If you're pension age

You can continue to claim housing benefit under the old rules at your current address. 

If you move into a council or housing association property, housing benefit may cover your full rent although certain service charges won't be covered.  

If you move to a different private rented property, your housing benefit will be calculated under local housing allowance rules.


Last updated 29 Jan 2019 | © Shelter

If you need to talk to someone, we’ll do our best to help

Get help

Get the government to build more social housing

You have the power to make sure they provide affordable housing for all those who need it.

Sign the petition Sign the petition

Email a link to this article

Thank you - your message has been sent.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.

Was this advice helpful?

Thank you - your feedback has been submitted to the team.

Sorry! - your message has not been sent this time.