Housing Benefit guidance
If you receive Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent, your benefit payment to us will end when you move out of the property even if your tenancy with us has not yet ended.
If you move to another rented property, Housing Benefit is then paid for that property instead. This can leave you with rent to pay at the first property if move out before the tenancy has ended. To avoid this, you may be able to claim an overlap of Housing Benefit or ‘benefit on 2 homes’. This means Housing Benefit is paid for your 'old' property until your tenancy ends at the same time as it's paid for your 'new' property. Housing Benefit can be paid on 2 homes for up to 4 weeks only if -
- You are still liable for rent on your 'old' property
- You've already moved into your 'new' property
- The overlap in the 2 tenancies is 'unavoidable'
- Example one
Nathan lives in a Together Housing home and is in receipt of Housing Benefit.
He gives 4 weeks' notice as he is moving into a privately rented property. He moves out 1 week into the notice period as his new private landlord says he cannot wait and will rent the flat to someone else.
Nathan's Housing Benefit will end when he moves out, leaving him with 3 weeks' rent arrears. He can ask the Housing Benefit office for Housing Benefit to paid on both homes for those 3 weeks. This means he will not have any outstanding debt with Together Housing.
Please contact your local Housing Benefit department urgently if you think this may apply to you.
If you are receiving Universal Credit, the rules are different and you cannot get an overlap for 2 homes. The date you give notice can make a big difference to your payment of Universal Credit so it's worth thinking about when is the best time and getting advice about this, so you're not left with any rent debt.
Universal Credit is a monthly amount that includes housing costs to help pay your rent. It is assessed over a 'monthly assessment period' and your Universal Credit payment is made 7 days after the end of this period. Housing costs is included every month until your tenancy ends (or when you leave the property if that's earlier). Then, housing costs is removed for your Universal Credit for the whole of that month, not just from the date you leave or your tenancy ends. This could leave you in rent arrears.
- Example two
Sonya's Universal Credit monthly assessment period starts of the 8th of each month and ends on the 7th of each month.
She is paid Universal Credit 7 days later, on the 14th of each month. On 4th September, she gives 4 weeks' notice to Together Housing which ends on 1st October. When her Universal Credit is assessed on 7th October, it will not include housing costs for the whole of the period (8th September to 7th October).
Therefore, her Universal Credit payment on 14th October will not include help towards her rent. She is still liable to pay this rent to Together Housing.
If Sonya had given notice 1 week later, on 11th September, it would end on 8th October. When her Universal Credit is assessed on 7th October, it will include housing costs for the whole month and will be included in the Universal Credit payment on 14th October. This means she can pay all the rent to Together Housing and will not have any rent arrears.
If you move to a property with a lower rent, it is the lower rent which is used for housing costs for the whole of the monthly assessment period in which you move.
- Example three
John gave notice on 4th September as he was moving to another property where the rent is £10 per week lower.
The lower rent will be included in the Universal Credit payment on 14th October so he is around £40 short in rent for the first property and will owe this to Together Housing.
If he gave notice instead on 11th September, the higher rent will be included in her Universal Credit so she will not owe anything to Together Housing.