London Borough of Barnet

Who can claim?

Housing Benefit: what you'll get

You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council.

Use a benefits calculator to work out what you could get or check what extra help is available.

Council and social housing rent

How much you get depends on:

  • your ‘eligible’ rent
  • if you have a spare room
  • your household income - including benefits, pensions and savings (over £6,000)
  • your circumstances – for example the age of people in the house, if someone has a disability

Eligible rent

Eligible rent means the reasonable rent for a suitable property in your area. It includes service charges (for example lift maintenance or a communal laundry) but not things like heating.

Spare bedrooms

Your Housing Benefit could be reduced if you live in council or social housing and have a spare bedroom. The reduction is:

  • 14% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 1 spare bedroom
  • 25% of the ‘eligible rent’ for 2 or more spare bedrooms

Example: reduced housing benefit

Your eligible rent is £100 per week. Housing Benefit pays £50 and you pay £50. You have 1 spare bedroom so the reduction is 14%. This means your Housing Benefit will be reduced by £14 per week.

Sharing bedrooms

The following are expected to share:

  • An adult couple
  • Two children under 16 of the same sex
  • Two children under 10 (regardless of sex)

The following can have their own bedroom:

  • a single adult aged 16 or over
  • a child that would normally share but shared bedrooms are already taken, for example, you’ve 3 children and 2 already share
  • children who can’t share because of a disability or medical condition
  • a non-resident overnight carer for you or your partner (but only if they must stay overnight)

One spare bedroom is allowed for:

  • an approved foster carer who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
  • a newly approved foster carer for up to 52 weeks from the date of approval if no child is placed with them during that time

Rooms used by students and members of the armed or reserve forces will not be counted as ‘spare’ if they’re away and intend to return home.

Private rent

How much you get is usually based on:


Weekly amount

1 bedroom (or shared accommodation

Up to £250

2 bedrooms

Up to £290

3 bedrooms

Up to £340

4 bedrooms

Up to £400


If you’ve been getting Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008, these limits only apply if you:

  • change address
  • have a break in your claim for Housing Benefit

How you’re paid

We pay housing Benefit as follows:

  • council tenants - into your rent account (you won’t receive the money)
  • private tenants - into your bank or building society account

The benefit cap

The benefit cap limits the amount of benefit that most people aged 16 to 64 can get.

If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level.

Housing Benefits Service

Contact Housing Benefits Service by email, phone or in person.

Burnt Oak Library, Watling Avenue, Edgware HA8 0UB

Tel: 020 8359 2111

Fax: 0871 911 6101

Housing Benefits Service postal and Type Talk

How to contact us by post and Type Talk

London Borough of Barnet, Benefits, PO Box 2015, Pershore, WR10 9BG

Tel: 18001 020 8359 2111