Housing benefit and the local housing allowance
Produced in partnership with Kevin Gannon of Garden Court Chambers
Housing benefit and the local housing allowance

The following Local Government practice note produced in partnership with Kevin Gannon of Garden Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Housing benefit and the local housing allowance
  • What is housing benefit?
  • Eligibility for housing benefit
  • Rent restrictions
  • Calculation of housing benefit
  • The benefit cap
  • How housing benefit is paid
  • Period of absence
  • Backdating
  • Overpayments
  • More...

Housing benefit and the local housing allowance

What is housing benefit?

Housing benefit is a scheme provided to assist those on low incomes with paying their rent. It does not cover mortgage payments. It is administered by local authorities and can be claimed by those on social security benefits (eg job seekers allowance, employment and support allowance) as well as those in work.

The local housing allowance is the term for the maximum housing benefit for tenants in the private rented sector.

Eligibility for housing benefit

Eligibility for housing benefit is determined by reference to the amount of rent payable and a claimant’s level of income and capital (savings, property and investments). Housing benefit is payable to those who:

  1. pay rent

  2. are on a low income, and

  3. have capital below £16,000 (different rules apply to those aged over 65 and in receipt of pension credit or guarantee credit)

Personal circumstances will be relevant (including the age and number of dependants, ownership of other property and other income being received such as maintenance payments or certain benefits). Claims are made to the local authority in which the tenant resides.

Joint tenants can claim housing benefit on their portion of the rent.

Housing benefit is not usually payable if a person:

  1. is a ‘person subject to immigration control’

  2. does not have a ‘right to reside’

  3. is not ‘habitually resident’

  4. is a full-time student (in

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