Local Housing Allowance Social Rent Cap

Benefit change graphic

From 1 April 2018, the government is introducing a new cap on benefits to people in council or housing association properties. This is separate from the overall welfare Benefit Cap.

The new cap means that tenants in social housing cannot be paid more in benefits than tenants in private rented housing.

Most people won’t be affected by this, because benefits for private tenants are usually higher than for the tenants of the council or housing associations.

However, you could be affected if:

  • You are under 35 after 1 April 2018
  • Your tenancy started after 1 April 2016
  • You are single and live alone
  • You claim either Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help with your rent
  • Your rent is more than the Local Housing Allowance single room rate, currently £82.60 per week
  • You are not exempted from the single room rate

If you are affected, you will not be paid more than £82.60 in benefits towards your rent. You will need to make sure you keep enough money each week to make up the difference.

The government has not yet confirmed the full details of the change – we’ll update this page once we have more information.

Exemptions from the single room rate 

If you live in self-contained one-bedroom accommodation or have sole use of both a bedroom and a living room, the shared accommodation rate does not normally apply to you if you are single, under 35 and: 

  • someone else (for example, a partner, child, elderly relative, friend or grown-up child) lives with you as part of your household. 
  • you are severely disabled and get the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (or either rate of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment). 
  • you are under 22 and have been in the care of a local authority since the age of 16, or have been accommodated by a local authority since the age of 16. 
  • you live in supported housing provided by a housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation and get a package of care and support from your landlord (or from somebody else on behalf of your landlord). 
  • you need an extra bedroom for a carer who does not live with you but who provides you with overnight care. 
  • you are an approved foster carer (this exemption was added in December 2013).

If you are aged 25 to 34 the shared accommodation rate does not normally apply to you if: 

  • you have lived in a hostel for homeless people or a hostel that provides rehabilitation and resettlement within the community for at least three months. You must have received resettlement support to help you live in the community. 
  • you are an ex-offender and your housing has been arranged for you through Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) for managing the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders. If this applies to you, one of the agencies will tell us about this, so you don't need to. 

If you live in 'shared accommodation' (you have sole use of one bedroom and share one or more of a kitchen, bathroom, toilet, living or dining room), you usually get the shared accommodation rate unless you or your partner: 

  • are severely disabled (and get the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance). If so, you get the one-bedroom rate. 
  • are under 22 and have been in the care of a local authority since the age of 16, or have been accommodated by a local authority since the age of 16. If so, you get the one-bedroom rate. 
  • receive overnight care from a carer who does not live with you. If so, you get the two-bedroom rate.