Housing Benefit (HB) provides financial help towards rent and some service charges for private, local authority and housing association tenants, and it is payable either to the claimant or to the landlord. The maximum payable is 100% of the “eligible” rent. Eligible charges include the general management costs, charges for furniture, cleaning of communal areas, caretaking, lift maintenance etc. HB does not cover any charges for food or utilities payments (water rates, heating costs etc) that may be included in the rent. Nor does HB cover any support charge for services like an emergency alarm call service or support from a Scheme Manager (warden). Help with support charges may however be available through a financial assessment by your local authority.
People on low incomes can claim HB if they and their partner are habitually resident in the country and liable to pay rent for the accommodation they occupy.
For those renting from a social landlord (typically Housing Associations or the local Council), your Housing Benefit will always be able to meet the full cost of your rent. However there are currently some ‘over occupancy’ rules (also known as the ‘bedroom tax’) for those of working age.
If you are renting privately then the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can claim will be set by the Local Housing Allowance (LHA). You can find out how much your LHA is here.