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What is housing benefit, how to claim it and reductions that apply

You may be able to get housing benefit to help pay part or all of your rent if you or your partner are on a low income. The amount will depend on your income and circumstances. You can apply whether you are working or unemployed. If your savings or assets are more than £16,000 you cannot get housing benefit.

How to apply

To apply please fill in and return the Benefit Application Form

How much will you get?

The amount you get depends on:

  • If you rent privately or from a council.
  • Your household income and circumstances including money from savings over £6,000, benefits and pensions and circumstances (and your partner’s). 

There is no set amount of housing benefit. You should remember that housing benefit might not cover all your rent, in which case you must pay the difference or negotiate a cheaper rent with your landlord.

Private rent

If you are renting privately the amount you receive is usually based on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Limit unless your claim has been continuous before April 2008. If you have been receiving housing benefit since before 7 April 2008 the LHA limit will only apply if you change address or have a break in your housing benefit claim. 

If you are under 35 and single your benefit will be restricted to a Shared Accommodation Rate of the Local Housing Allowance. 

Family with baby having quarrel over money

Council and social housing rent

How much you get depends on:

  • Your ‘eligible’ rent – for example, what a reasonable rent is for a suitable property where you live.
  • Your household income.
  • Your circumstances – including your age, your family and their ages, if anyone in your family is disabled.
  • If you have to pay service charges – for example, lift maintenance, communal laundry facility etc.    

Factors affecting how much housing benefit you receive

If you are entitled to housing benefit, there are reductions, which may apply.  

Extra bedrooms

If you live in council accommodation or other social housing and are assessed as having at least one extra bedroom in your house, your housing benefit could be reduced by:

  • 14% if you have one extra bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more extra bedrooms.

Other reductions

We may reduce your housing benefit based on the circumstances of those living with you but not dependent on you. These people are referred to as non dependants.

From April 2016, these reductions apply: 

Who qualifies?

HB/LHA 2016

HB/LHA 2016
48 weeks*

Aged 25 or over and on Income Support/Income Based Job Seekers Allowance, or aged 18 or over and not in remunerative work



In receipt of main phase ESA(IR)



In receipt of Pension Credit



Not in receipt of main phase Income related Employment Support Allowance rate



Aged 18 or over and in remunerative work



Gross income less than £133.00



Gross income not less than £133.00 but less than £195.00



Gross income not less than £195.00 but less than £253.00



Gross income not less than £253.00 but less than £338.00



Gross income not less than £338.00 but less than £420.00



Gross income not less than £420.00



* These amounts apply if you are a tenant of Tandridge District Council and pay your year's rent over 48 weeks.

Meal reductions

These government set reductions are made to your housing benefit if your rent includes meals. The amounts are reviewed each year and we will let you know if they change. Your landlord may charge more or less than these amounts.

Full board
(3 meals or more per day)
Part board
(any other arrangement)
Aged 16 or over £3.30 £26.85 £17.85
Aged under 16 £3.30 £13.60 £9.00

How you are paid

We pay housing benefit, on behalf of the government:

  • Direct into rent accounts of council tenants
  • Into bank or building society accounts of those renting privately.

The introduction of Universal Credit in Tandridge in 2016 will change this. 

Universal Credit

Please visit our Universal Credit page for more information.

Additional support

For information on other support available visit GOV.UK.