Housing Benefit for two homes
Normally you can only get Housing Benefit for one home at a time. However, there are special circumstances where it may be possible to have Housing Benefit paid for more than one home.
Housing Benefit usually stops the day you move out of your home.
HB on both homes
If you are moving from one home to another but there is an overlap between the end of your old occupation contract and the start of your new contract, it may be possible to get Housing Benefit paid for both homes for up to four weeks.
You will have to show that you could not avoid having an overlap between the occupation contracts, for example:
- you had to accept the contract at your new home immediately, but you still had to give notice before ending the contract at your old flat.
HB on your old home only
If you have moved to a new home where you do not have to pay rent, but you will still have to pay rent on your old home, you may be able to get Housing Benefit paid for up to four weeks, so that you can give your landlord notice that you wish to leave.
You will have to show that you could not avoid having to pay rent after you moved out, i.e. you could not have known that you would have to move and therefore couldn’t have given notice before you moved out. For example:
- you were taken into hospital permanently
- you were given a prison sentence of more than 13 weeks, or
- you went to stay with relatives because you are frail or elderly and won’t be able to return home.
Waiting for adaptations to be done
If you can’t move into your new home until adaptations have been carried out because you, or someone you live with, is disabled, you can have Housing Benefit paid for up to four weeks before you move in. During that period, you can also continue to receive Housing Benefit for your old home.
Any work to make the home suitable for the disabled person counts, including redecorating and carpeting.
Leaving home because of fear of violence
If you have left your home because of fear of violence you can get Housing Benefit for your old home and the home you are staying in now for up to 52 weeks, so long as you intend to return to your old home. If you do not intend to return to your old home Housing Benefit will only be paid on both homes for up to four weeks.
You could be afraid of violence from someone who lived in your old home, or a former family member. It also includes fear of violence from your neighbours, or fear of racial attacks on your home.
Where your fear of violence is only when you go outside your home, the threat must be from a former family member.
You don’t have to have suffered actual violence. A genuine fear of violence is enough, though you may be asked to provide some evidence of threats or harassment.
Your family is too big for one home
If the council has placed your family in two homes, because they could not provide you with a home big enough for your whole family, you can get Housing Benefit for both homes for as long as it is necessary for you to live in two homes.
How do I apply for Housing Benefit for two homes?
Payments for two homes are not given automatically, so you will have to write to the Housing Benefit department of your local council and ask.
To find the address of your local council, click here.
If you are writing a letter, remember to include:
- the address of your old occupation contract and the date that the contract ends
- the address of your new occupation contract and the date that the contract starts, and
- your reasons for moving and why it was not possible to avoid an overlap.
Use our sample letter to help you.
If you are unsure of your rights, or would like help to ask for Housing Benefit for two homes, contact an adviser, who will check your eligibility and help you write to the Housing Benefit department. An adviser can also help if your request for two homes is turned down and you need help with challenging the decision.