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Housing costs under universal credit forowner-occupiers

This content applies to England

Universal credit claimants who are owner-occupiers may be entitled to a loan to meet their owner-occupier costs.

Loans replacing benefit payment (April 2018)

With effect from 6 April 2018, help with mortgage interest and other eligible payments are made as a loan rather than as part of a claimant’s benefit award.[1] New and existing claimants will need to sign a loan agreement. Existing claimants were to been written to in the period up to February 2018 as the loan will not replace the benefit award automatically.

For  details, see Support for mortgage interest.

Zero-earnings rule

An owner-occupier will not receive any help with interest payments if they have any earned income. This applies if the claimant or their partner is in receipt of the income. This doesn't prevent claimants in shared ownership properties from claiming the housing costs element for their rental payments.[2]

Service charges

Certain payments for services or facilities are eligible under the housing cost element under universal credit. This is payable as part of the claimant's monthly benefit award (ie it is not a loan). For further information see Payment condition.


The information on this page reflects the law as applicable in England. Go to Shelter Cymru to check for variations applicable in Wales.

[1] Loans for Mortgage Interest Regulations 2017 SI 2017/725 as amended by Loans for Mortgage Interest and Social Fund Maternity Grant (Amendment) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/307.

[2] reg 3(4) Loans for Mortgage Interest Regulations 2017 SI 2017/725.

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