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Eligible rent for Housing Benefit and service charges

Eligible rent is the amount of rent that you pay if you are a Council or social housing tenant less ineligible service charges. 

Service charges may be included as part of your eligible rent if:

  • you have to pay them to occupy your home, and
  • they are related to the provision of adequate accommodation, and
  • the council accepts that the service charges are not excessive.

Service charges you cannot claim for

Examples of charges that cannot be included in your eligible rent are charges for:

  • fuel and water charges (unless they relate to a communal area)
  • personal laundry (but not a service charge for the use of laundry facilities)
  • cleaning of rooms and windows (other than communal areas) unless neither you nor any member of your household can do it
  • transport
  • meals or groceries (housing benefit uses set figures as a meal deduction)
  • television rental and license fee (but the cost of television and radio relay may be allowed)
  • leisure items like recreation facilities (but payments for children’s play areas are allowed)
  • personal care and support

Service charges you can claim for

Service charges that you have to pay to occupy your home will be counted as part of your eligible rent if they are related to the provision of adequate accommodation. Examples of service charges that may be included in your eligible rent are:

  • cleaning of communal areas. These are defined as areas (other than rooms) with common access (including halls and passageways) and rooms of common use in sheltered accommodation
  • connection to a radio or television system (except satellite and cable relay systems) in specified circumstances
  • other services such as those provided by caretakers which relate to the provision of adequate accommodation
  • children’s play areas

These lists are not exhaustive; other service charges may be included or excluded in your eligible rent.