What is Rate Relief?
Rate relief is to help home-owners or tenants pay their rates bill. It is means-tested so any help received depends on your income and savings. There are different versions depending on whether you own or rent your home and whether you claim Universal Credit.
Rate Relief for home owners
This version is called Housing Benefit Rate Relief and is administered by Land & Property Services.
To qualify for Housing Benefit Rate Relief, you must meet all conditions below:
- you are an owner-occupier
- you didn’t buy your home through a co-ownership or rental buy scheme
- you don’t have capital over £16,000 if you’re below State Pension age
- you don’t have capital over £50,000 if you’ve reached State Pension age
- you don’t already receive Housing Benefit Rate Relief from the Housing Executive (NIHE)
To apply for Housing Benefit Rate Relief you must complete an application for and send it to Land & Property Services along with supporting evidence. See NI Direct information on Housing Benefit Rate Relief for further details.
Rate Relief for tenants
If you are a tenant in Northern Ireland, Housing Benefit helps towards your rent and your rates. You can apply for this using a Housing Benefit application form.
Tenants who only get partial help with their rates through Housing Benefit, or are just outside the Housing Benefit limits may be entitled to help through the Rate Relief scheme which is administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
To apply for Rate Relief you need to complete an application for Housing Benefit and Rate Relief. See NI Direct information on Housing Benefit and Rate Relief for further details.
Rate Relief for Universal Credit claimants
For home owners and tenants entitled to Universal Credit, Rate Rebate will replace Housing Benefit Rate Relief.
Land & Property Services will administer Rate Rebate, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive won't be responsible for processing or payment of any Rate Rebate claims.
You should claim Rate Rebate as soon as possible after you're awarded Universal Credit. If you don’t apply within three months, you might lose some of your entitlement to backdated Rate Rebate. See NI Direct information on Rate Rebate for further details.
Allowances may also be available to assist with your Rates bill if you are a lone pensioner or are disabled and live in a property that has been adapted to your needs or has extra space required due to your disability. See NI Direct information on Lone Pensioner Allowance and NI Direct information on Disabled Person's Allowance for further details.