Housing benefit is changing
The housing benefit (or housing element of Universal Credit) that you may receive in the future is changing.
Who does this affect?
These changes apply regardless of your age, including if you are over working age. There are specific changes for those under 35.
What does it mean for you?
If you are allocated a property on or after 1st April 2016, (or 1st April 2017 for supported accommodation tenancies) the amount of Housing Benefit (or Housing element of Universal Credit) that you receive from 1st April 2018 could be restricted. This is because the government has decided the amount of Housing Benefit you will receive will be capped to the relevant Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate that currently applies to private sector tenants.
The LHA rates for your area can be found by searching for your postcode on www.gov.uk/guidance/local-housing-allowance. The amount you receive will be capped at the relevant LHA rate for what the government think you need for the size of your household.
If you are single, under 35 years of age and do not have any dependent children living with you, your Housing Benefit will be capped to the Shared Accommodation Rate even if you do not share your home with anyone else. You could find your Housing Benefit will no longer pay for all of your rent.
What do I need to do now?
If the above applies to you, you will need to consider how you will pay for the difference between your rent and your LHA entitlement. You may be refused by the potential landlord if you are unable to demonstrate that you have the available income to cover the potential shortfall in rent.
If you are working and will not be making a claim for Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) you will not be affected but if you become unemployed, then this will apply to you.
How do I find out more?
The exact details of these changes are still to be announced by the government. We will keep you informed on our website as the information becomes available and your landlord will also advise you of the changes.