Skip to main content

Search Housing Rights

Getting help towards rent

Your tenants have a right to apply for benefits to help pay their rent. If you do not allow tenants to claim benefits, they may take legal action against you.  

This information is for private landlords.

Your tenants have a right to apply for benefits to help pay their rent. If you do not allow tenants to claim benefits, they may take legal action against you.  

Most tenants will claim Universal Credit.

Your tenants can get Housing Benefit instead if they are:

  • over pension age, or 
  • moving from another property and are already getting Housing Benefit 

Universal Credit and Housing Benefit work in different ways. But both benefits use local housing allowance (LHA) rules to decide how much a tenant gets towards their rent. 

Local housing allowance

The amount your tenant gets in benefits will usually be less than the rent you charge. Private tenants often get a lot less than what they have to pay their landlord.  

Local housing allowance is the maximum amount of benefit that a tenant can get.

The Housing Executive sets LHA rates based on: 

  • the tenant’s age 
  • the postcode of the property 
  • how many people are in the tenant’s household 

Postcodes for local housing allowance

LHA rates reflect the cost of renting across different areas in Northern Ireland. The first part of the rental property’s postcode helps to determine LHA rates.    

There is a different LHA rate in each area for a: 

  • room in a shared property (shared accommodation rate) 
  • 1-bedroom property 
  • 2-bedroom property 
  • 3-bedroom property 
  • 4-bedroom property 

You can find current LHA rates on the Housing Executive’s website.  

Local housing allowance for young people

There are different rules for people under 35 who: 

  • are single, and 
  • do not have children or other dependents 

These private renters will only get the shared accommodation rate, unless they qualify for an exemption.  

How many bedrooms local housing allowance covers 

The LHA rate depends on how many bedrooms your tenant needs, not the number of rooms in the rental property.  

Your tenant gets one bedroom for:  

  • them and their partner 
  • any other adult aged 16 or over 
  • two children of the same gender up to age 16 
  • two children of opposite genders up to age 10 

Your tenant can get an extra bedroom if someone if the household gets disability benefits and:  

  • they cannot share a bedroom due to their disability, or 
  • someone outside the household regularly stays overnight to provide care 

Getting extra help to pay rent and rates

The amount of benefits your tenant gets towards rent won’t usually cover what you charge. 

Tenants can apply for a discretionary housing payment to help with the difference between benefits and rent.  

Tenants who pay rates can get help: 

Contact Landlord Advice if you have questions about benefits or rent payments.  

Was this page helpful?
We are so happy you found the information you need! Tell us why you found this page useful, so we can keep improving our service...

We're sorry you did not find this page useful. Please take a moment to tell us why so we can keep improving our service.

We cannot reply to questions on this page. If you need housing advice, speak to an adviser.


Report a problem with this page

Help us improve

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.