From April 2011 the Government is making changes to housing benefit, for tenants renting from a landlord in the private sector.

Will this affect me?

Yes, if you are renting a property from a private landlord and receiving Housing Benefit and you made your claim for your current address on or after 7 April 2008.

What are the changes?

  • the maximum £15 weekly Housing Benefit excess that some people can get now will end. This means you will not be able to get more money from Housing Benefit than the amount you pay in rent

There will be maximum rate caps, so that Local Housing Allowance weekly rates in any area cannot be more than:

  1. £250 for a one bedroom property per week
  2. £290 for a two bedroom property per week
  3. £340 for a three bedroom property per week
  4. £400 for a four bedroom property per week

These caps will probably only affect you if you live in London.

  • there will no longer be a five bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate. The maximum level is for a four bedroom property
  • the Government will reduce Local Housing Allowance rates to a lower amount, so that about 3 in 10 properties for rent in your area should be affordable to people on Housing Benefit. At the moment about 5 in 10 properties in your area are affordable to people on Housing Benefit
  • HB claimants with a disability will be able to claim for an extra bedroom if they need a carer to stay overnight – please contact us straight away if you think that you may qualify

How will this affect me?

It is possible that the amount of Housing Benefit you get to pay your rent could go down. If your Housing Benefit is paid directly to your landlord, the amount your landlord gets could go down. If you are getting or thinking of claiming Housing Benefit, you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement with a private landlord.

If you qualify for an additional room because you have a disability and you need a carer to stay overnight, then your benefit may increase

When will this affect me?

If you are making a new claim to Housing Benefit or moving home, the changes will affect you from 1 April 2011.

  • you are getting Housing Benefit and move home
  • your household changes, such as someone leaves or comes to live with you
  • you qualify for an additional room for a carer

When will my claim next be assessed?

You can work this out from the date you made your original claim for Housing Benefit, or from the date we last assessed your Housing Benefit amount e.g. if you first made your claim for Housing Benefit on 5 September 2010 your yearly review date will be 5 September 2011. 

For anyone affected, the Council will write to you again in advance of any changes to advise you of the new amount payable.

In the meantime, if you have any changes in your circumstances, you must inform the Council straight away.

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