Calculating housing costs element for renters

The rules for calculating the housing costs element for renters are set out in Regulation 26 and Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 (SI.No.376/2013).

NB: See below for equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland.

Amount of housing costs element

Regulation 26 of SI.No.376/2013

Sets out the general rules for the amount of housing costs element for renters including those that have shared ownership.

Relevant payments

Paragraph 3 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Sets out what rent and service charges can be taken account of.

Under 18 care leavers

Paragraph 4 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Sets out that 16 or 17 year old care leavers are prevented from establishing an entitlement to a housing costs element.

Monthly calculation

Paragraph 7 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Provides for the averaging of payments over a calendar month.

Two homes

Paragraphs 17 to 19 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Set out the rules for the calculation of housing costs element involving two homes.

Private sector rent calculations

Paragraphs 20 to 25 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Set out the method for calculating private sector rent including reference to ‘core rent’, ‘cap rent’ and local housing allowance rates.

Articles 3 and 4 of SI.No.382/2013

Set out requirements for rent officer to make determinations relating to local housing allowance, which are used in calculating entitlement to the housing costs element of universal credit for tenants renting in the private sector and those in temporary accommodation.

Calculation of social sector rent

Paragraphs 30 to 36 of schedule 4 to SI.No.376/2013

Set out the method for calculating social sector rent.

Deciding housings costs on incomplete evidence

Regulation 39(4) of SI.No.381/2013

Sets out the rules for assessing housing costs if information or evidence is not available.

See also the ucinfo issues relating to the bedroom tax and housing cost contribution.

In Northern Ireland, SR.No.216/2016 makes provisions that are largely equivalent to that in Great Britain.

Further explanation of the legislation is set out in guidance. Please note, however, guidance is not binding and cannot override the legislation.

Advice for decision making

Chapter F2

Sets out general guidance about the housing costs element.

Advice for decision making

Chapter F3

Sets out guidance about the housing costs element for renters.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Private rented sector

Sets out guidance to DWP staff on eligibility rules for housing costs in the private rented sector.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Paying for two homes

Sets out guidance to DWP staff on when payments can be made on two homes.

DWP guidance from parliament.uk

Annual rent changes and rent free weeks in SRS

Sets out guidance to DWP staff on the calculation of rent charges in the social rented sector.

Gov.uk

Universal Credit: service charges - guidance for landlords

​Sets out the legal definition of service charge payments, lists which are eligible and clarifies how to apportion them. It also gives examples of ineligible service charges.

Case law​ provides further interpretation of the legislation and establishes legal precedent.

We’re not aware of any case law relating to this issue.