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Social Housing Changes from April 2018

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT CHANGES TO HOUSING BENEFITS

The Housing Benefit [or housing element of Universal Credit] that you receive in the future is changing

We have been notified that from 1 April 2018, the way Housing Benefit [or the housing element of Universal Credit] is calculated will be changing.

What does it mean for you?

If you have signed a new or renewed tenancy from 1 April 2016onwards[1 April 2017 for supported accommodation tenancies], the amount of Housing Benefit [or the Housing element of Universal Credit] that you may receive from 1 April 2018 could be restricted.

This is because if you rent from a local authority, a registered housing association or other registered social landlord the amount of rent used in your Housing Benefit calculation [or the housing element of Universal Credit] will be capped to the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household size that currently applies to private sector tenants.

The Local Housing Allowance rates for your area can be found at http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx or at http://www.boston.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3952

If you are under 35 years old and do not have any dependent children living with you, your eligible rent will be capped to a shared accommodation rate even if you do not share your home with anyone else. The rate for your area can be found at http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx  or at http://www.boston.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3952

Will you also have to pay for any spare rooms?

If you are of working age and have one or more extra bedrooms, your rent and any service charges used in the assessment of your Housing Benefit [or the housing element of Universal Credit] is already reduced by 14% or 25% under Social Sector Size Criteria (under-occupancy).

If the reduction for relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household is higher than the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms, only the Local Housing Allowance rate will apply.

Similarly, if the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms is higher than the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household, only the reduction for under-occupied bedrooms will apply.

If you are of pension age, you will not receive a reduction in the rent used to assess your Housing Benefit for any under-occupied bedrooms but the rent used in the assessment will be capped to the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household.

 

 

For Example

Rent is £100.00 per week

Local Housing Allowance is £95.00 per week

Rent with under occupancy deduction of 14% is £86.00 per week

Benefit is calculated on £86.00 per week.

Rent is £100.00 per week

Local Housing Allowance is £80.00 per week

Rent with under occupancy deduction is £86.00 per week

Benefit is calculated with £80.00 per week.

Rent is £100.00 per week

Local Housing Allowance is £120.00 per week

Rent with no occupancy deduction is £100.00 per week

Benefit is calculated with £100.00 per week.

Benefit is calculated with highest reduction (lowest rent figure).

Please note - in all cases, you will only receive one reduction.

What do you need to do now?

If you sign a new tenancy or renew a tenancy after 1 April 2016 [1 April 2017 for supported accommodation] you will need to think about whether the rent you pay in the social sector is higher than that allowed for private rented sector tenants.

In particular, if you are in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit on or after 1 April 2018, you will need to consider how you will afford any shortfall in your rent. The website links above will help you to determine whether your rent is above the Local Housing Allowance rates for your area.

If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact the Department for Work and Pensions or Boston Borough Council at housing.benefits@boston.gov.uk