If you need help paying your rent

If you are claiming Universal Credit, it will include an amount towards your rent. If you are not claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. You can claim from age 16 onwards. You can claim if you are working and on a low income, or unemployed, or sick or disabled. If you are studying part-time you may be able to get help with your rent. Some full time students can claim, but only in limited circumstances, so get advice.

You do not need your landlord’s permission to apply for Universal Credit housing costs or Housing Benefit, and they do not have to know that you are applying for it or getting it, as long as you have proof of how much rent you are paying and who you are paying it to etc. This would usually be provided by your tenancy agreement.

You cannot usually get help if you are paying rent to a close relative for living with them. However if you are paying them rent for another property they own you may be able to, so it is worth putting in a claim. Universal Credit housing costs and Housing Benefit only pays towards rent, and not bills or services such as meals or cleaning.

If you start a claim for Income Support, income-based JSA or income-related ESA it should also start a claim for Housing Benefit at the same time, although Housing Benefits may still need to contact you for further information. Otherwise you can get a form from Housing Benefits or complete online at york.gov.uk. You can go through your claim to check it’s all correct with a Customer Service Representative at the Council’s Customer Centre. If you have all the evidence they need (e.g. proof of rent, proof of income, proof of ID etc) your claim can be processed within 24 hours. More information and digital service at york.gov.uk.

How much help will you get?

You can get help with up to 100% of your rent. However this may be reduced if:

If you are on Income Support, income-based JSA or income-related ESA you’ll get 100% of your rent paid, unless any of the above apply.

Otherwise, the amount of help towards your rent is reduced depending on your income; including any wages and most benefits you are getting.

Universal Credit is usually paid monthy in arrears. Housing Benefit is also paid in arrears; either weekly, fortnightly, 4-weekly or monthly, depending on when your rent is usually due.

If you are still struggling to pay your rent and it is causing you hardship you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment. Apply to the Council – see york.gov.uk.

Help towards your rent is normally paid to you, not your landlord. However, it can be paid direct to them where this helps you get a tenancy or avoids you being made homeless. You can also get it paid to them direct if you struggle to manage your own affairs. If you are behind with your rent by eight weeks or more your landlord can apply to have it paid direct to themself.

Local Housing Allowance

If you are in private rented accommodation, your maximum Universal Credit housing costs or Housing Benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate, and is based on the number of adults and the age of any children in your household.

The following rates apply in the York area. You may get less than this depending on your income. If your rent is more than this you will have to pay the difference from your other income.

Shared room rate: £67.09 pw (£291.52 pm) – applies to most single people under 35 whatever their accommodation, and couples living in shared accommodation.

1 bedroom rate: £98.96 pw (£430.00 pm) – applies to e.g. couples living in self contained accommodation (and some care leavers).

2 bedroom rate: £123.58 pw (£535.98 pm) – applies to e.g. a family with one child or 2 children expected to share a bedroom.

There are also 3 and 4 bedroom rates. For more information go to york.gov.uk.