Claiming benefits if you rent from family

Find out if you can claim housing benefit or help with housing costs under universal credit for rent you pay to someone in your family.

Living in the same home

You can't get housing benefit or universal credit housing costs 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.


You may get housing benefit or universal credit 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 benefits to help pay the rent, the amount they get could be reduced if you are an adult.

Find out more about:

Living in a separate home

You can get housing benefit or help with rent from universal credit if you rent a property from a member of your family who lives elsewhere.

You can only get benefits in this situation if your tenancy is a commercial one rather than an informal family arrangement.

You may have to provide proof of your tenancy, such as:

  • a contract
  • evidence of rent payments
  • how likely your landlord would be to evict you

You may be asked if your relative took a tenancy deposit or provided you with a gas safety certificate before you moved in.

Housing benefit when renting from a partner or ex-partner

You can’t get housing benefit if:

  • your landlord is a parent of your child, who is under 16 or
  • you pay rent to your former partner for the home you lived in as a couple

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 had a child with your ex and the child lives with you.

You can get universal credit housing costs for rent paid to a ex-partner but only if the tenancy is a genuine commercial arrangement.

Challenging benefits decisions

You can challenge a benefits decision you think is wrong.

Find out how to do this if you claim:

Search for your nearest Citizens Advice for more help

Last updated 10 December 2018 | © Shelter

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