Housing Benefit Claims & Payments

Since October 1996 all new applicants for housing benefit have their benefits paid to them 4 weeks in arrears. This means if you are moving into new accommodation not only will you have to find money for the deposit, you will also have to find money to pay the first months rent as well until you or your landlord receives the housing benefit. Housing benefit can be paid direct to your landlord.

If you have rent arrears of more than £200 then housing benefit will usually be paid to your landlord direct. If you were entitled to claim housing benefit in the past and you did not claim you can make a claim and ask for the payments to be backdated.

Since October 1996 rent officers have been able to set a new level of rent known as "single room rent". If you are living in a bedsit or shared flat or house and are under 25 with no children this could apply to you. The rent fixed by the rent officer could be lower than the rent your landlord is charging you.

If there is a risk that you could become homeless because you cannot pay the full rent you can apply to your local housing office for "exceptional hardship payment".

Single room rent does not apply to tenants of a Registered Housing Association, married couples or other couples living together, tenants with children or tenants who are under a care order and are 16 or over, but under 22 years of age.

Housing Ombudsmen - investigate housing complaints

Public Housing