Universal Credit

Housing Costs Element

The Housing Costs Element is paid to cover your rent and some service charges.

  • If you are a social tenant, which means you have housing from the Council or a Housing Association, the amount you will get will depend on your income, how many people you live with and how many bedrooms you have. Click here to see how many bedrooms you are allowed to have.  
  • If you are a private tenant, the amount you will get will depend on your income, how many people you live with, and a Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate for your area. This is the average cost of rent for where you live. You won’t be paid more than your LHA rate. You can check the LHA rate for your area by clicking here.
  • If you have a mortgage or home loan you might be able to get a loan from the government to help pay your interest - this is separate from Universal Credit. Please see the section on ‘Support with Mortgage Interests’ by clicking here

Housing costs are usually included in your monthly payment of UC, not paid directly to your landlord. You can ask for payments to be made directly to your landlord instead and you can ask to be paid more often than monthly, but you will have to explain why you want these changes.

If you are still struggling to pay your rent, you can claim a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from the Council to help you. Please see our section on DHP.

If you are in temporary or emergency housing

If you are in temporary or emergency housing, you will need to claim Housing Benefit not the Housing Element of Universal Credit. For example, you will need to claim Housing Benefit if you are paying for a shelter because you left home as a result of  domestic abuse, or you are homeless and the council have given you temporary housing.

Date modified: September 22 2021 | Date created: March 05 2020
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