This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Universal Credit

The housing costs element of universal credit

Housing benefit continues for now until 2017 but after rollout of universal credit is complete, housing benefit will be abolished. [1]

However, as people transition from housing benefit onto universal credit, their monthly amount will include: [2]

an amount in respect of any liability of a claimant to make payments in respect of the accommodation they occupy as their home.

There are a number of parts which must all be satisfied in order to be entitled to the housing costs element.

  • Payments must be rent payments
  • Liability to make those payments must be on a commercial basis
  • The tenant must be treated as having a liability to make those payments; and
  • The tenant must be treated as occupying the accommodation as their home

Rent payments and owner-occupier payments

In order for a claimant to be entitled to the housing costs element, the payments in respect of the home must be “rent payments” or “owner-occupier payments”. [3] For this article we will only consider what are (or are not) rent payments.

Rent payments

“Rent payments” which can be included in universal credit include (but subject to further below): [4]

  • payments of rent
  • payments for a licence or other permission to occupy accommodation;
  • mooring charges payable for a houseboat;
  • in relation to accommodation which is a caravan or mobile home, payments in respect of the site on which the accommodation stands;
  • contributions by residents towards maintaining almshouses (and essential services in them) provided by a housing association which is a charity.

But payments which CANNOT be rent payments include: [5]

  • payments of ground rent
  • payments in respect of a tent or the site on which a tent stands
  • payments in respect of prisons, certain rehabilitation centres etc.
  • payments in respect of a care home;
  • payments in respect of certain exempt accommodation such as resettlement places under the Jobseekers Act 1995.
  • payments which are service charge payments

Service charge payments

Service charge payments are specifically excluded from being able to be called ‘rent payments’. Service charges are defined as: [6]  ... Please login or signup to continue reading this content


  1. Section 33 Welfare Reform Act 2012  ↩
  2. Section 11(1) Welfare Reform Act 2012  ↩
  3. Regulation 25(2) The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  4. Paragraph 2, Schedule 1, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  5. Paragraph 3, Schedule 1, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  6. Paragraph 7, Schedule 1, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  7. Paragraph 7(4), Schedule 1, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  8. Regulation 25(3)(a)(i) The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  9. Part 1, Schedule 2, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  10. Part 2, Schedule 2, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  11. Section 11 Welfare Reform Act 2012  ↩
  12. Paragraph 1(1), Part 1, Schedule 3, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  13. Para 1(2) ibid  ↩
  14. Para 1(3) ibid  ↩
  15. Part 1, Schedule 3, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
  16. Paragraph 9(3), Part 1, Schedule 3, The Universal Credit Regulations 2013  ↩
Series Navigation<< When does universal credit take effect?||Claiming Universal Credit >>

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