Housing benefit is a benefit to help some people pay their rent. How much you get depends on your household income, circumstances and housing arrangements, for example whether you rent your property from the council or a private landlord.
You should apply straightaway if you think you are eligible for housing benefit as it is not always possible to backdate payments. You should also let us know immediately if your circumstances change as any overpayment must be paid back to the council.
Apply for housing benefit
Please use our benefits calculator to see which benefits you may be entitled to before applying for housing benefit. The online calculator covers all benefits including Universal Credit.
Housing benefit is a means tested benefit. This means that your income and savings are taken into consideration when applying.
To make a claim for housing benefit, you will need to complete the following online application form.
Housing benefit can be paid direct to you, direct to your bank account or direct to your landlord.
If you have rent arrears of over eight weeks your housing benefit will be paid direct to your landlord.
Can a bank take housing benefit to pay my overdraft?
No, banks are not allowed to use housing benefit or any other benefit to repay an overdraft.
You can protect your housing benefit payments by telling your bank it should only be used to pay your rent. This protection is called a 'first right of appropriation of funds order'.
You can use the first right of appropriation on any money being paid into your account.
For example, you may want to make sure that your job seekers allowance is used to pay your electricity bill and water rates.
You will need to tell your bank how to use these payments.
View your housing benefits online
You can view your housing benefits online by creating a portal account. The portal gives you full access to your account where you can notify us of changes and apply for discounts and exemptions.
You can also let us know if you are moving house.
If you live in a privately rented property
If you live in a rented property your bedroom requirements will decide the level of rent used to work out your housing benefit entitlement. This is called the local housing allowance.
A bedroom is required for each of the following:
- a couple
- a single person over 16
- two children of the same sex under 16
- two children under 10 regardless of gender
Housing benefit exemptions
You cannot get housing benefit if:
- you (or your partner) have savings or capital of £16,000 or more, unless this includes one or more of the special payments, or are in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee.
- you pay rent to a close relative who lives in the same home as you.
- you own the property you live in.
Most full time students who live alone cannot claim. But you may be able to claim if your partner is a full-time student.
Housing benefit reduction
Housing benefit may be reduced if:
- your income and circumstances mean that you do not get full housing benefit.
- if you are single and aged less than 25 years of age you will normally only receive the one bedroom shared accommodation.
- the property is too big for you and other members of your household’s needs.
If your housing benefit does not cover your eligible rent and you are in financial difficulty you may be able to claim for a discretionary housing payment.
You must inform us of any change in your circumstances as soon as possible.
We are required by law to protect the public funds we administer. We may share information provided to us with other bodies responsible for auditing, administering public funds, undertaking a public function and preventing and detecting fraud.
We participate in the national fraud initiative which is a data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud.