You can normally only claim Housing Benefit (HB) in respect of the home you live in. There are certain circumstances though, where we may pay HB in respect of two homes:
Violence or fear of violence
If you have moved out of your home because of violence, or fear of violence, your may be able to claim HB in respect of both your old home and your new address.
- the violence could be directed at you, or someone you live with. It could be actual violence or the threat of violence
- where you fear violence in your home, it’s not restricted to threats, abuse or harm from your husband, wife or other family members. Fear of violence from neighbours or others or fear of racial attacks on your home also count
- where you fear violence outside of your home, the threat must be from a former partner, or a child or young person you were responsible for
If you intend to return to your old home, you can claim HB on both homes for up to a year
If you do not intend to return, you can claim HB on both homes for up to four weeks.
If you have to pay rent for two homes due to an unavoidable overlap of tenancy
If you’ve moved into your new home, you can sometimes get HB paid for both your old and new home for up to four weeks.
You must show that you couldn’t avoid an overlap between the end of your old tenancy and the start of your new one.
For example, you had to:
- accept the tenancy at your new home immediately, but still had to give notice to end the tenancy at your old home. This means you have to pay rent on both homes until your old tenancy ends
- move out of a home that's been damaged by fire or flood, but still have to pay rent and give notice to the landlord you're leaving
Housed in two homes by a Housing Association
You can claim HB in respect of two addresses if your landlord is a Housing Association, who have put you in two homes because your family is too large for one.
Awaiting disability adaptations
You can get help with housing costs for both your old and new home if:
- your new tenancy has started and you have to pay rent there
- disability adaptations need to be made to your new home for you, your partner or any dependent children before you move in
You can get help with housing costs on both homes or before moving in for up to four weeks.