When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Claiming help with housing costs under Universal Credit

If you aren’t already claiming Universal Credit, you will need to set up an account and start your claim.

When you go through the online form, you will be asked about your housing costs.

Do you have housing costs?

Answer yes or no. You should answer “yes” if you have to pay rent, service charges or a mortgage. However, if you live with your parents and they ask you to pay “rent”, you probably won’t get any help with this cost.

If you part-own and part-rent your home, through something like the Co-Ownership scheme, you have both rental and owner housing costs. You should tick the “shared ownership” option in the next question on the form. You will be asked to give information about your rent and your mortgage.

Your housing situation

You will be asked about your current living situation, in order to work out how much help you will get with your housing costs.

As well as asking if you rent your home, own your home, or live in temporary housing, you’ll be asked

  • When you moved into your home
  • How much you have to pay in housing costs
  • How often you pay housing costs
  • Who you pay your housing costs to

The questions that you will be asked depend on your answers to earlier questions. The questions are designed to work out, as much as possible, if you are entitled to get help with your housing costs and how much you should get.


The system will ask you if you have to pay rates and if you have applied for a reduction in your rates. However, you can’t get help with your rates through Universal Credit. Instead, you have to apply for a different benefit, known as a rate rebate.

You can apply for your rate rebate once your Universal Credit payments are up and running.

What information will I need?

You’ll be asked quite a lot of questions during the application. The following information will help you to answer these questions:

  • Your tenancy agreement
  • Your rent book
  • Your landlord’s name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Information about your service charges
  • Your mortgage statement
  • Information about your mortgage account

Speak to your landlord or lender if you don’t have any of the information you need, but remember that your UC claim won’t be submitted until you have finished all the to-dos on your account.