Charges that can be met by Housing Benefit

For any charge to be eligible for housing benefit, it has to be a condition of your occupation of the home: in other words, it has to be a charge that you must pay in order to have permission to stay in your home. Usually, if a payment you make for the place you live is called "rent", then it is eligible for Housing Benefit.

The amount of the rent that can be covered by housing benefit is called the "eligible rent". Not necessarily all of the rent is eligible, depending on the type of tenancy. If you are a private landlord tenant, then the amount of eligible rent will be restricted to a maximum amount called the Local Housing Allowance (LHA), which is based on the number of rooms the law says you need according to the number of people living in your house. The LHA for any given number of rooms also varies according to the local authority area you live in.

If you are a social housing tenant, then the amount of your rent eligible for Housing Benefit is usually the full rent if you have, or your partner has, reached the qualifying age for pension credit. If you and your partner have not yet reached pension age, see the section below on The bedroom tax in social housing.

If your rent includes charges for specific services, then they may be eligible for Housing Benefit, but in some cases they may not be eligible. For a charge to be eligible, the first condition, in every case, is that the charge has to be a condition of you occupying your home. Specifically excluded from housing benefit are fuel charges, unless they are for communal areas, water charges, council tax, charges for meals, and some service charges.

Some service charges are eligible for housing benefit, and others are not. If you want further information about housing benefit for service charges levied by your landlord, seek advice.

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