If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord, local councils use the local housing allowance to work out how much housing benefit you get.
The amount of housing benefit you get will depend on where you live and who lives with you.
Local housing allowance rates
Local housing allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area by the Valuation Office Agency. This rate is based on the number of bedrooms in the property and the area or Broad Market Rental Area (BRMA) it is in.
Local housing allowance rates are set every January, and change from 1 April each year. The actual amount you will be entitled to will depend on your income and savings. The rates that apply from April each year are set in mid-January of that year.
Local Councils normally pay benefit to the tenant, who will then pay the landlord.
In certain circumstances (if you go into rent arrears by eight weeks or more, or you may be considered vulnerable) your landlord can ask the council to make payments direct to them instead of you.
If the local council pays you direct you will need to check with them for payment dates
The council will apply the shared room rate if you do not have exclusive use of more than one room and share any, or all, of a kitchen, a room suitable for living in, and a bathroom or a toilet. This category also applies to all claimants under 35 . There are two exemptions to this rule: if you receive Severe Disability Premium or if you are a care leaver under the age of 22. In these cases, you will be entitled to the one-bedroom rate.
The four-bedroom rate is the maximum amount of local housing allowance available. If you have more bedrooms than this, they will assess your claim using the four-bedroom local housing allowance rate.
Councils only include bedrooms when they calculate how many rooms a property has, as all tenants are entitled to a kitchen and a bathroom.
The entitlements are one bedroom for every adult couple and every single adult over the age of 16.
A single child is also entitled to one bedroom. Any two children of the same sex aged under 16 and any two children aged under ten need to share a bedroom under the criteria.
You can calculate how many bedrooms you are entitled to using the bedroom calculator on the Valuation Office Agency website.
If you need further information please your local council using the contact details in our Council directory.
Information contained in this article may have changed since it was first published. Ezylet strongly advises you to seek legal advice from a qualified professional.