Other changes affecting help with rent

In 2015, as part of the Summer Budget and Autumn Statements, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a series of changes relating to benefits and Tax Credits. Some of the changes that were announced will directly or indirectly affect the help with rent that people can receive. These changes have been detailed below.


It was announced in the Chancellor’s 2015 summer budget that any increases in the LHA rates would be capped at 0% instead of being kept in line with rental values in the local rental market.

However, if values in the local rental market have reduced, then the LHA rates may also reduce from one year to the next.

This measure came into force from April 2016 and will remain in place for a period of 4 years

Most working aged benefit rates, which were previously uprated in each year line with the consumer prices index (CPI), which is a measure of inflation have been frozen for a period of 4 years from April 2016

As such, benefit claimants may well find that over time may find that benefit entitlements remain constant despite prices for goods and services increasing, meaning that their income has increasing demands placed upon it.

If they have a shortfall between their rent and their Housing Benefit entitlement, they are likely to find it harder to make up the shortfall from their income.

From 6th April 2017, Housing Benefit payable in respect of certain families* with children is calculated based on a maximum of two dependent children.

As such, from 6th April 2017, certain families* with 3 or more dependent children may not receive as much in Housing Benefit as they would have done prior, if they make a new claim for Housing Benefit, or have a child born on or after 6th April 2017. This measure largely mirrors changes to Child Tax Credits and Universal Credit from 6th April 2017.

*this rule change to Housing Benefit only affects certain families who are not receiving any of the following DWP benefits:

Income Support, Income Based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Guaranteed pension Credit

If the amount of Housing Benefit you receive does not cover all of your rent and this, along with other circumstances causes you hardship, you can apply to the council for a Discretionary Housing Payment.
This is not a payment of Housing Benefit but is a discretionary payment paid to claimants at the discretion of the council to help meet the housing costs of the claimant and their family.

From April 2019, anyone claiming Housing Benefit in respect of their home, which they rent from a Housing Association, where their tenancy commenced or was renewed after 1st April 2016, would have their entitlement capped at the appropriate Local Housing Allowance rate for the size of property they need under LHA rules.

This includes the shared accommodation rate of LHA for most single claimants living alone under the age of 35, who could have their Housing Benefit capped at around £58 or £69 per week depending upon where in the borough they live.

If you are moving home or renewing your tenancy after 1st April 2016 you need to know how your entitlement to Housing Benefit could change from April 2019, even if your circumstances do not change during the period in between.  It is not yet known if there will be any exemptions from this change to the rules, for certain groups (e.g. pensioners etc.)

Are there any exceptions to this rule?

Supported Housing will not be affected by this restriction in the manner described above, as there is a separate review underway into how Supported Housing is funded.

 

 


Last Updated on 08 August 2017