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Housing benefit


Housing Benefit is for people on low incomes who have to pay rent. The tenant has to complete an application form, which is available from the local council, or in some areas application is initially by telephone to Jobcentre Plus.

Tenants have to provide information and proof of:

  • Their income and any savings
  • Their identity and sometimes details of their immigration status in the UK
  • The rent to be paid (usually a written tenancy agreement is sufficient)
  • Name and address of the landlord/ agent

Most councils aim to process Housing Benefit claims within 14 days from receipt of all the appropriate documentation they have requested.  They cannot pay a claim until they have all the information they need. 

As Housing Benefit is means tested, (dependent upon income and savings) some tenants may have to pay part of the rent themselves. 

Some tenants such as most full time students, some people only allowed to stay temporarily in the country, or who have just arrived, will not be eligible to receive any Housing Benefit. Usually Housing Benefit cannot be paid for a tenant who is a close relative of the landlord; it has to be a genuine commercial arrangement.

If the rent covers the cost of gas and electricity, Housing Benefit may be reduced so that the tenant must pay for these items. This also applies to water rates and any meals or other services the landlord may provide.

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