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Thread: Claiming UC Housing benefit whilst living with family and paying rent

  1. #1
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    Claiming UC Housing benefit whilst living with family and paying rent

    I received my first Universal Credit payment within the last 2 weeks and there was no Housing Benefit component included (I'm currently getting approx. £400/m). I spoke to UC and the guy said it was because in my application I answered that I was paying housing cost but living with family.
    He said he'd canceled the "Where you live and what it costs" info from my account (I can see this action in my Journal) and told me to do a "Change Of Circumstances" and enter my info again with where I live and how much I'm paying, and then message my Account worker via the Journal and explain that Im living with family but paying housing costs and it would be up to them to make a decision.

    Due to my health condition, I am living with family in a property they own and there is no formal tenancy agreement. The UC guy told me for housing benefit your name must be on a tenancy agreement. If I just explain my situation to my UC account manager are they likely to be understanding or do i need to get a formal tenancy agreement drafted with my family?

    Also, is there a limit to how much you can claim for housing benefit? And should this figure include housing costs like utilities etc. Or is it just for rent?

    many thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    They are correct that if living with your parents/family you do not qualify for the Housing Element; unless they are paying rent and you are liable to contribute towards that rent.
    ie. You are named along with them on a tenancy agreement, or are otherwise legally liable to pay rent to a landlord who is is not family.

    What are these 'Housing Costs' that you are paying and is it written somewhere that you legally have to pay them?
    If it's a contribution towards food/utilities/etc. then you are expected to pay those bills out of your Standard Allowance, just like everybody else.

    Any Tenancy Agreement that you conjure up between yourself and your family will be seen as a 'contrived tenancy with a view to claiming or increasing benefits', ie. not a real Tenancy Agreement.
    You will not get UC-HE on that basis.

    For it to even be considered as possibly an elligible tenancy it has to be the same as if you were renting from a stranger - including eviction if you don't pay the rent.

    That falls down when renting from family as if you won't/can't pay the rent then your family are not going to evict you like a commercial landlord would, so it isn't a true commercial tenancy.

    It's difficult enough to convince them of a commercial tenancy if you are renting a seperate property from family, if you are living in the same property then I'd say it was impossible.

    As you will not be able to claim UC-HE whilst living with family then what can be included as 'rent' doesn't really matter here.
    But if you have a 'real' private rental then how much can be paid for rent is capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate, which depends on status, single/couple, age, etc.
    The LHA rates are different for each council.
    For a private rental it doesn't matter what is included or not in the rent, because the benefit for rent is capped at LHA anyway.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  3. #3
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    Hi, thanks. My family own the property but the difficultly is that I am still required to pay rent. Which is why I'm not sure what to do. Will this devision just be down to my UC account manager?

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    You said at first that you were "living with family", and now that they own the property and are not renting it.

    So you are "living with family" in their own home.
    Are these your parents, siblings, uncles/aunts, cousins, other family?

    You say that you are "required to pay rent".
    Required by what? A legal agreement or just an expectation from your family?
    Those are very different things.

    Do you have a lock, with a key, on the door to your room?
    Could you rent a flat of your own for the same money that you are giving your family?
    If not then it is not a commercial rental, but you are just paying a contribution towards bills. Which as said you should pay from your Standard Allowance, just like everyone else pays their bills from their standard allowance.

    As you seem to be living in their property as a family member, or at the very least as a guest, then I don't see you having a tenancy that would be eligble for UC-Housing Element.

    The decision will be made by a DWP Decision Maker.
    If you can't be clear and show that what you have is indeed a commercial tenancy then that decision will be NO.

    TBH you are not being very clear about your situation here; and if you are this unclear with the DWP then a Decision Maker is going to say NO.
    Last edited by nukecad; 20-02-21 at 13:42.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

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