Good morning

The Government, in its Spring 2021 budget, announced its intention to accelerate the introduction of advantageous changes to the under 35 exceptions, relating to the LHA rate, which will impact on both Local Housing Allowance and UC “housing costs” claimants.

The changes are focused on two groups:

  1. Care Leavers where the age group is extended to 18-25; and
  2. Ex Homeless Hostel dwellers where the age restriction of 25+ is removed. So, anyone between 16-35 who meets the criteria qualifies from 31st May 2021.

The effect of these amendments means, those fitting the “exempt” category criteria, qualify for the 1-bedroom rate of LHA, rather than having to rely on the considerably lower Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) noramlly paid to under 35 year olds.

Originally these changes were supposed to be introduced in October 2023 but were brought forward as part of Government measures to combat COVID.

So, from 31st May 2021 tenants, under 35, no matter whether they are living in self-contained or shared accommodation will be able to receive the 1-bedroom rate of LHA if they meet the undernoted criteria.

  • They are a Single Parent
  • Part of a couple
  • Single tenants in receipt of:
    • Middle or higher rate of DLA (Care)
    • Daily Living component of PIP
    • Attendance Allowance
  • Anyone aged 18-25 who were Care Leavers, before they were aged 18.
  • Anyone who has suffered domestic abuse from a partner, former partner, or relative at any time, after 16.
  • Ex Homeless Hostel dweller, who has spent 3 months or more in non-self-contained accommodation & received help with rehabilitation & resettlement. The period of 3 months doesn’t have to be consecutive.
  • Anyone, living rough, placed in hotels by LAs, Charities etc during COVID crisis, for 3 months or more, who move into mainstream PRS tenancy (e.g., studio, 1 bed flat or HMO).
  • Ex serious offender Under MAPPA

The necessary Regulations will be laid on 6 May 2021 and come into force on Monday 31 May 2021. Affected claimants will be entitled to claim the exemption from that date.

Some local authorities may choose to advertise the changes to residents in their area, but it’s more likely, there will be little or no national coverage on this. It’s more likely that claimants will need to self-identify or rely on their landlord or Support Worker to ensure they claim and secure the exception, otherwise SAR will be applied.

If you require any further advice or assistance with this note, please contact or phone 07733 080 389


Bill Irvine

UC Advice & Advocacy Ltd