Help with housing costs if you're under 35

If you're under 35, and single with no dependents and you rent from a private landlord and claim Universal Credit or Housing Benefit, the amount you get may be based on the cost of a single room in shared accommodation. This is called the 'shared accommodation rate'.

The shared accommodation rate

The shared accommodation rate is the maximum amount of housing cost you can usually get if you are:

  • single

  • under 35

  • have no dependants and 

  • rent from a private landlord.

This means that you will usually only be entitled to an amount to cover the average cost of a single room in a shared house in your area. This applies even if you rent by yourself.

Check what the shared accommodation rate is in your area by using the local housing allowance calculator.

Exceptions to the shared accommodation rate

The shared accommodation rate may not apply if you:

  • live with an adult non-dependent

  • are a foster carer

  • get the severe disability premium in your benefit

  • receive the middle or higher rate care component of the Disability Living Allowance or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Armed Forces Independence Payment

  • need an extra bedroom for a carer who provides you with the overnight care you need but who doesn’t normally live with you

  • are aged under 25 and have been in care

  • live in supported housing provided by a housing association, registered charity, voluntary organisation or a county council (in England).

  • are 16 or over and have spent at least three months in a homeless hostel or; hostel specialising in rehabilitating and resettling within the community. To benefit from this exemption you need to have been offered and accepted support services to enable you to be rehabilitated or resettled in the community.

  • are 25 or over and are managed under active multi-agency management under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements.

If you fall into one of these categories you should receive the applicable local housing allowance rate.

If you were able to pay your own rent when you moved into your home, and you have not claimed for help to pay your rent in the past year, the shared accommodation rate won't be applied to you for the first 13 weeks of your claim.

If this won't cover your rent

If your Universal Credit or Housing Benefit doesn't cover the full cost of your rent, check to see if you could be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payment.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 11 January 2021

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England