Can you get help towards your rent?
Housing benefit, and the housing costs element of universal credit, are money to pay all or part of your rent. How much you get is dependent on your income, the size of home you are entitled to and the maximum amount your local council will pay.
You may be entitled to help with your rent if you receive a benefit or are working. It is payable to people who rent from the council, housing associations or from a private landlord.
Understanding what help you may get towards your rent can be confusing. Below are some of the common myths about entitlement.
I am working so can’t get help to pay my rent. False
Help to pay rent is based on the money you have coming into your household so if you get income support, income base jobseekers allowance, income related employment and support allowance or maximum universal credit you may get all your rent paid. A claim for these benefits will automatically include a claim for help towards housing costs.
If you are working and your income is not too high then you may be entitled to at least some help. If you get tax credits you need to make a claim to the council, even if it is not the council you rent from. If you are getting universal credit you need to claim via your universal credit on-line account.
I can’t get help with my rent because I am a student. False
Most students are not entitled to housing benefit but single parent students are. The amount you get will be based on your income including any loans, grants or bursary you are entitled to.
You can only get help with rent if you have a council or housing association house. False
You can get help to pay rent if you rent privately. As privately rented homes tend to be more expensive than council and housing association properties the council caps how much they will give you. This is called the Local Housing Allowance or LHA. Your LHA will be the maximum amount the council is prepared to pay based on the size of home your family is entitled to. The actual amount you get depends on your income.
There is no help to pay a mortgage. False
If you have a mortgage you may be entitled to a Support for Mortgage Interest Loan to help pay the interest. To get this help you need to be getting income support, income based jobseekers allowance or income related employment and support allowance.
You can also get help as part of your universal credit award but only if you do not work. There is a limit on how much, and for how long, you can get this help. Check with you local Jobcentre Plus.
If you are in a rent to buy scheme you may be entitled to help for the part you rent.