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Joint tenants

If you have a tenancy agreement where you and one or more other people are jointly liable for paying the rent then, in benefit terms, you are a joint tenant in shared accommodation. This will be the case where you have one tenancy agreement covering a number of people.

To work out how much you can claim in Housing Benefit you should enter the rent that you are meant to pay, not the whole rent. This will normally be the whole rent divided by the number of joint tenants. For instance, if three joint tenants pay a weekly rent for their accommodation of £150 per week then they can claim for £50 per week each in Housing Benefit. This is because each individual must claim for Housing Benefit according to their own circumstances.

If you are a couple you are classified as one claim for the purposes of Housing Benefit and only one person should apply for benefit. 

If you rent in the private sector then the rent you can get help with can not exceed the Local Housing Allowance amount for your area. Because you share accommodation you will qualify for the shared room rate of Local Housing Allowance. For more information see Local Housing Allowance.

The rules for claiming Council Tax Support are broadly similar to the rules for Housing Benefit. In general you should divide your Council Tax liability by number of joint tenants. However, where a jointly liable person is exempt from Council Tax the calculation becomes more complex and you should contact your local council for more information.

You should also check what is not included as eligible rent, as defined under Housing Benefit rent rules.