If you are renting from a Landlord other than the Council or a Housing Association, and you make a claim for Housing Benefit, we may have to ask the Rent Service if the rent you are paying is reasonable subject to the new Local Housing Allowance rules introduced on 7 April 2008.

The Rent Service is independent of the Council and they will tell us how much rent your accommodation is worth taking account of the level of rent currently being paid for accommodation of a similar type in the area. They will also tell us of any services included in your rent (these cannot be considered for Housing Benefit).

In addition, the Rent Service will take account of the size of the family unit. Where the family unit is deemed to occupy accommodation larger than they require (for Benefit purposes) he will restrict his determination to accommodation of a more suitable size. Therefore we may be required to restrict your Housing Benefit.
The criteria they use to decide over-accommodation is laid down in Government Legislation. Neither the Rent Service nor the Council have discretion in this matter. The determination will usually run for 12 months unless there is a significant change to the property or the number of people included within the household.

Young persons under 35 years of age are normally restricted in the amount of benefit they may qualify for. However, there are exceptions therefore you need to contact us to see what you may qualify for.

If you are thinking of renting from a private Landlord, check with the councils benefit office to see whether it will be considered under Local Housing Allowance rules or the previous rent officer referral system. You can find out how much the Local Housing Allowance levels are by using the link to the Local Housing Allowance pages on our website.

To learn more about The Rent Service click on the following link to their website and visit their Frequently Asked Questions section:

You can get a Pre Tenancy Determination form by contacting us:
Telephone: - 01983 823950
Late night opening for telephone enquiries every Wednesday until 6pm.

In Person – you can visit us at any of our local offices
Opening Times - 8.30 am – 5.00 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and 8.30 – 4.30 Fridays. Closed all day Tuesday

Page last updated on: 30/10/2012