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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Video guide to Housing Benefit for private tenants

If you rent your home from a private landlord or through an estate or letting agent your entitlement to Housing Benefit will be calculated under the Local Housing Allowance rules.  This video explains how this system works and what other help is available if your Housing Benefit doesn't cover your full rent. 

You can get help to pay your rent if you are a private renter and have a low income. 

If you are claiming help for the first time you should claim

  • housing benefit if you are over pension age, or
  • Universal Credit if you are under pension age.

Private tenants can apply for extra housing benefit if the amount they are getting doesn't cover their rent. This is known as a discretionary housing payment. The Housing Executive decides whether you are entitled to extra benefit and how much you should get.

The government restricts the amount of benefits it will give to private renters who are under 35. Your housing benefits will only cover the cost of renting a room in a shared property, unless

  • you have a partner living with you, or
  • your household includes children, or
  • you meet one of the exceptions to this rule.