Housing Benefit rent rules

Housing Benefit rent rules

Do I qualify for Housing Benefit?

You may qualify for help with your rent through Housing Benefit.

You should enter your eligible rent, as defined under Housing Benefit rules. Housing Benefit can only be claimed to help with the part of the rent that is ‘eligible’. Any help you currently receive through Housing Benefit should be excluded from the amount you enter.

For example, take someone who rents a property where the full rent is £80 per week but £10 of this is for heating and hot water, which are not eligible costs under Housing Benefit rules they should enter £70 per week into the calculator as their eligible rent (£80 per week minus £10 per week ineligible costs). 

Local councils define eligible rent as the money people pay just for living in their homes. So it can cover the rent for the accommodation and charges for some services, such as a caretaker, communal laundry facilities, play areas, etc

However, Housing Benefit cannot cover:

  • water charges (unless for a communal area)
  • charges for heating, hot water, lighting, cooking (unless for a communal area)
  • payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels.

For more information on which charges may be included as part of your eligible rent see eligible rent and charges.

More information

More information is available if you are not charged rent for 52 weeks a year – see rent-free weeks.

More information is available if you have a tenancy agreement where you and one or more other people are jointly liable for paying the rent – see joint tenants.

There are also special rules for people in private residential care and nursing homes, people who have two homes or are temporarily away from home, people who live in someone else’s home and students. In these instances we can not calculate your entitlement.

If you are eligible for Pension Credit (guarantee credit), Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income relate Employment and Support Allowance you qualify for maximum help with your rent. But you can still qualify for help even if you do not get these benefits.

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