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Housing Costs Under Universal Credit

There are several ways to benefit from the Universal Credit housing costs element. This section explains how the housing costs and Universal Credit work in the United Kingdom.

WHAT CAN YOU GET? You must qualify for Universal Credit to get help paying for your housing.

Having eligibility for the ‘UC housing payment’ could help you to pay for:

  • Rent paid to a private landlord.
  • Rental payments and some service charges (e.g. paid to a local authority or a housing association).
  • Mortgage interest payments and some service charges if you (or your partner) own the property that you are living in.

Note: You must report a change of circumstances once you start to claim UC housing payment. Failing to do so means your benefits can stop altogether.

Living in Temporary or Supported Housing

The Universal Credit housing costs element does not cover all types of accommodation. You cannot use it to pay for supported, sheltered, temporary, or emergency council housing.

But, you can apply for Housing Benefit through your local council authority instead. Contact the council to see if you can get help paying your rent.

What if you become homeless while you are getting Universal Credit? If this happens, you must sign in to your Universal Credit account and report it online as soon as possible.

Claimants Living in Scotland

People living in a ‘full service’ area in Scotland can get the housing payment paid to themselves or direct to their landlord. You can choose to get the payment made once or twice each month.

Notification about this option comes after the first payment for people who make a new claim. Check with your work coach if you did not get a notification and you already get Universal Credit.

Note: You can find out which area you live in using the Citizens Advice Scotland eligibility checker for Universal Credit.

Extra Help with Housing Costs

Other financial support is available if you are struggling on Universal Credit. Find out what help you can get from your council, the government, and other organisations. You might also qualify for the Council Tax Reduction.

Note: The latest changes affect the amount a household can get from a list of benefits. Your payments might go down to ensure they do not exceed the benefit cap limit.

Universal Credit Housing Costs Element

Housing Costs for 18 to 21 Year Olds

Some 18 to 21 year olds who claim Universal Credit lost entitlement for help towards their housing costs. Check to see if you can get help to cover your rental payment and some service charges.

Renting from a Private Landlord

Being eligible for Universal Credit means you may get help with your rental payments and some service charges. Find out how UC claimants who are renting from a private landlord can benefit.

Renting from Local Authorities

Being eligible for Universal Credit means you may get help with your rental payments and some service charges. Find out how UC claimants who are renting from the council or a housing association can benefit.

Living in a Property You Own

An extra payment is available for people who own the home they live in if they qualify for Universal Credit. You would need to have been on benefits for at least 39 weeks (and without any breaks).

How to Claim UC Housing Costs

Use your online account to claim Universal Credit housing payment if you are already getting the main benefit. If you are not yet getting UC benefit you will need to apply for Universal Credit.

Housing Costs in Universal Credit Benefit in the United Kingdom