Step 1 - Check if you are eligible

To claim Housing Benefit you must live in the accommodation for which you are making a claim and be responsible for paying rent. This applies if you are:

  • a lodger or boarder
  • paying rent to a private landlord
  • paying rent to a registered housing association or charity
  • paying rent to the Council
  • living in a hostel, hotel or bed and breakfast
  • living in a mobile home or houseboat
  • renting under a shared ownership scheme.

If you are living in a rented property but are temporarily away from your home you may still be able to get Housing Benefit. Contact us for advice.

Who cannot claim Housing Benefit

If any of the following circumstances apply you may not be eligible for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction:

  • you or your partner has capital of £16,000 or more (unless you or your partner receives a pension credit).
  • you own or are buying your own home
  • you are in a nursing home or residential care home
  • you live in the same household as a close relative or in-law and pay rent to them, by close relative we mean:
    • parent; step-parent or parent-in-law
    • brother or sister
    • son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter
    • the partner of any of the above people
  • you are in a relationship with the landlord/landlady (i.e. if you are responsible for the child of your landlord/landlady you cannot get Housing Benefit)
  • you are not entitled to benefits because of your immigration status in the UK.
  • You are a full-time student in higher education, unless you are also:
    • a lone parent
    • disabled
    • under 19 and following a further (not higher) education course
    • aged 60 or over.

A partner of a full time student can claim Housing Benefit.

Step 2 - Find out how much you might be entitled to

You may be able to get up to 100% of your rent and Council Tax paid, but the actual amount depends on the amount of rent or Council Tax you are charged, your income and savings, and the other people who live with you. Use our benefits calculator to find out.

For more information on how we view your financial circumstances, see our income and savings and capital guidance.

The amount of rent we use to calculate entitlement is not necessarily the amount of rent you are charged. If you are renting from a private landlord The Rent Service set the rates we use. See our Local Housing Allowance page for more information. There may also be deductions for additional adults who live with you and are not your partner.

If bills are included in your rent these will be deducted from the calculation as Housing Benefit does not cover these costs, unless they are for communal or shared areas.

The Benefit Cap and Size Criteria rules may affect the level of benefit you can receive.

Step 3 - Make a claim

If you think you qualify for this benefit, please submit a claim.

Make a claim

Step 4 - Backdate your claim if needed

Sometimes we can backdate your benefit for a period before you applied. More about backdating.

Step 5 - Let us know about any changes in circumstances

You must inform us if your circumstances change, as this may affect the amount of benefit you are entitled to.

Step 6 - Appeal our decision, if you don't agree with it

Depending on the outcome of your application, you may want to appeal. More about the appeals process.

Updated: 24 October 2014