Housing benefit for two homes

Normally you can only get housing benefit for one home at a time. However there are special circumstances where it may be possible to have housing benefit paid for more than one home. Find out what these circumstances are and how to apply.

Moving home

If you are moving from one home to another but there is an overlap between the end of your old tenancy and the start of your new tenancy, it may be possible to get housing benefit paid for both homes for up to four weeks.

You will have to show that you could not avoid having an overlap between the tenancies. For example, you had to accept the tenancy at your new home immediately, but you still had to give notice before ending the tenancy at your old flat.

Housing benefit can usually only be paid from the first Monday after you move into your new home. For example, if you signed up for a new tenancy on a Friday but did not move in until the following Wednesday, housing benefit would be paid from the Monday following that, not the day your tenancy started. The four weeks will run from that day.

Waiting for adaptations to be done

If you can't move into your new home until adaptations have been carried out because you, or someone you live with, is disabled, you can have housing benefit paid for up to four weeks before you move in. If you have a home already, you can continue to receive housing benefit for your old home.

Leaving home because of fear of violence

If you have left your home because of fear of violence, you can get housing benefit for your old home and the home you are staying in now, for up to one year, so long as you intend to return to your old home.

You could be afraid of violence from someone who lived in your old home, or a former family member. It also includes fear of violence from your neighbours, or fear of racial attacks on your home.

If you don't intend to return home, you can get housing benefit paid for four weeks, if you need to pay rent on the home you have left and your new accommodation.

Your family is too big for one home

If the council has placed your family in two homes because they could not provide you with a home big enough for your whole family, you can get housing benefit for both homes for as long as it is necessary for you to live in two homes.

How do I apply for housing benefit for two homes?

Payments for two homes are not given automatically, so you will have to write to your housing benefit department and ask.

If you are writing a letter remember to include:

  • the address of your old tenancy and the date that your tenancy ends
  • the address of your new tenancy and the date that your tenancy starts
  • your reasons for moving and why it was not possible to avoid an overlap.

Download a letter requesting housing benefit for two homes.

If you are unsure of your rights, or would like help to ask for housing benefit for two homes speak to an adviser in your area. They will be able to check if you might be eligible for a payment for two homes and help you write to the housing benefit department.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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