Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
Rent Issues: Liable for rent


  • The general rule is that it is only a person who is liable to pay 'rent' (has a legal obligation or duty) who can claim HB. HB Reg 8 para 1(a).

  • This means that a lodger can claim Housing Benefit (so long as they come under one of the categories of people who can make a new claim for HB), but a non-dependant can't.

  • There does not have to be a tenancy agreement in place for a liability to exist.

  • 'Rent' includes: license charges, permission to occupy charges, use and occupation charges and mesne/violent profits - click here.

  • Some people can be treated as liable and so able to claim HB - so they do not need to be on the tenancy agreement.

  • And other people who do have an obligation to pay rent, can be treated as not liable so are not entitled to HB.

  • Sometimes the HB Office may question whether a claimant has the mental capacity to enter into a contract.

REMEMBER: New claims for HB can only be made by claimants who:

Definition of Rent

How is 'rent' defined in HB regulations?

Treated as Liable

Who can be treated as liable to pay rent and therefore able to claim HB.

Treated as not Liable

Which claimants who are liable will be treated as not liable.

Mental Capacity

What about mental capacity?