Laws of Britain: how to get housing allowance

UK citizens who do not have the opportunity to pay for housing have the right to get housing allowance, which will help to cover the lease or a part of it. Note that the housing allowance does not apply to heating, water and food.

What you can count on

Housing allowance can cover the lease in full or in part. A fixed benefit does not exist. The amount of assistance depends on what kind of living space you are renting: private or allocated by local authorities. If it comes to social housing, the assistance you receive depends on: - your income, including pensions, allowances and savings (more than £6,000); - suitable rent; - availability of free rooms; - family circumstances: incapacity, etc.

Free rooms

If you live in social housing and have a spare room, then your allowance can be reduced: for example, by 14% for one spare room, 25% for two or more. For example, your rent is £100 per week. The allowance is £50, the rest you pay. You have one spare room, so the benefit reduction is 14%. This means that your allowance will be less by £14 per week. At the same time in one room can live: - two children up to 10 years (regardless of gender); - two children under the age of 16 (same gender); - married couple. A separate room can be allocated: - to one adult; - one child, if the other common rooms are occupied; - a child who cannot share a room with someone because of incapacity; - a guardian for an incapacitated resident, if the guardian must remain at night. Rooms used by students or the military people are not considered free if residents have left, but intend to return.

Suitable rental payment

The term "suitable rental payment" means an acceptable payment for housing in your area, including maintenance costs of elevators or laundry, for example. However, heating and water supply are not included in this list. If you rent private accommodation, the appropriate rent will depend on: - the residence; - the size of the family: you need to find out how many rooms you can apply for; - your income: including benefits, pensions and savings (more than £6,000); - your circumstances: incapacity, etc. You should contact the local council if you: - live in a "floating house" or on a dock; - live in a van; - if the cost of rent includes the cost of meals (for example, boarding house); - in dorm; - in housing, protected by the lease. Exception: If you receive a housing allowance from April 7, 2008, these restrictions are applied if you changed your address or took a break from getting a housing allowance.

Who can apply for allowance

You can get a housing allowance if: - you have a low income: - you pay a rent; - your savings are less than £16,000; if you live with a partner, only one of you can apply for allowance. Usually, housing allowance is not allocated if: - your savings amount to more than £16,000; - you live in the house of a close relative; - you are a full-time student - if you are not disabled or have no children; - you live in the UK, but are looking for work in the European Economic Area; - you apply for shelter in the UK; - you are under immigration control. Usually you cannot receive allowance and universal credit at the same time. If your situation changes, you should inform the local authorities about this in order to be able to change the payment.

What you need to receive allowance

To begin with, you need to know: - how much you have to pay for rent; - whether utilities are included in the rental payment; - whether you pay for any other services (building maintenance or insurance); - information about the landlord; if your current lease has started in 1997 or earlier and you are renting from a private homeowner, you should know if you have a "guaranteed lease". If you rent housing from a private landlord, you will need to provide the original documents, as well as supporting documents: - the last payroll records (five if they are paid weekly, and two it is a monthly payment); - documents on other income or investment; - income of other people living with you.

Provide any two documents from the list: - passport; - birth certificate or marriage certificate; - biometric residence permit; - certificate of registration or naturalization; - permanent residence permit; - a letter from the Tax and Customs Duties Department; - the last utility bill; - a recent statements by a bank or a construction company; - the latest documents on awarding bonuses. If you rent a home from a private landlord, you also need to have one of the following documents: - a lease contract or rent book; - a letter from your landlord confirming your lease; - confirmation of rental payment (rent book, rental receipts or account statements).

How to apply for it

The application for allowance is submitted to the local council together with the necessary documents. You can contact Jobcentre Plus to receive a housing allowance along with an application for the following benefits: - employment and support allowance; - income support; - allowance for the employee.

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