Housing Benefits is among the six legacy benefits that are slowly being replaced by Universal Credit in the UK. The aim of os this blog post is to explain in detail whether a claimant’s Housing Benefit payments are going to be affected by a change of residence from one council to another. We will also explore whether such a change impacts other benefits such as Universal Credit and Council Tax Reduction. Additionally, we will review other costs related to moving houses and the support that one can expect to receive from their council authorities. 

Will My Housing Benefit Change If I Am Moving To A Different Council?

Yes, if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit payments and you move to a new council district, you may be asked to transfer to Universal Credit. However. if you are currently receiving Housing Benefit payments and move house within the same council area, you will be given a choice to continue staying on Housing Benefit or transferring to Universal Credit (if the latter is more beneficial for you).

Therefore, you must inform the DWP in case of any of the following situations:

  • your rent increases or decreases
  • you move home (within or outside your previous council)
  • a household member moves out of your home
  • a household member someone moves into your home
  • there is a boarder/lodger in your house 
  • you or someone in your household goes to prison

If you are currently on Tax Credit, Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and are seeking a tenancy for the first time, you may be asked to claim Universal Credit.

Will Moving House Trigger Universal Credit?

Yes, moving your house will most likely trigger a Universal Credit claim especially if you are already claiming Housing Benefit. The main reason for this trigger is the UK Governments’ plan to phase out the six legacy benefits and replace them with Universal Credit through a “managed migration” by 2024.

If you are moving in with a partner who is on a Universal Credit claim, both of you may have to apply for a joint claim. Similarly, if a couple split up and they were previously on a joint claim, they will need to apply separately when one of them moves out.

The basic rate for Universal Credit (without top-ups for housing and childcare) can be classified as follows:

  • If you are single and under 25, you can claim £257.33 a month
  • If you are single and 25 or over, you can claim £324.84 a month
  • If you are living with a partner and both of you are under 25, you can claim £403.93 a month
  • If you are living with a partner and one or both of you are over 25, you can claim  £509.91 a month

In addition to moving your house, changes to any of the following circumstances can also trigger a claim for Universal Credit:

  • a change in your employment status
  • a change in your family circumstances
  • a partner leaving or joining the household
  • the claimant starts or stops being a carer for someone else
  • the claimant starts or stops a disability claim
  • changes to your tax credits

What Happens When There Is Council Tax Overlap Due To Moving House?

In case there is a council tax overlap due to moving house, you may find yourself paying two council tax bills in one month. This happens when residents forget to inform their council authorities of their intention to move.

In order to avoid having to pay two council tax bills due to overlap, you should inform your local council office at least a month in advance about your intentions and expected date of moving out of your current home so that your council tax bill can be cancelled from that date onwards. Once you have informed the authorities, you will receive a final bill from your local council office as per your indicated date of moving from the property. 

If you have forgotten to do so and have received two council tax bills, you should inform your council authorities about the date and details of leaving your previous home so that necessary arrangements can be made to cancel that bill.

You need to inform your local council office of the change in address so that future bills are sent to your new home. In case this change of address brings with it a change in your personal situation or the valuation band is different for your new home, you may experience a change in the amount of council tax bill that you were paying earlier.

For instance, if you were a single occupant and have moved in with a partner you will lose your single occupancy discount. Similarly, if your previous residence was classed at a lower valuation band such as B or a C and you have moved to a property with a higher market value and an elevated valuation band such as D or E, it will impact the amount of council tax bills that are due upon you.  

How Long Do The Council Give You To Move House?

The number of days you will have to move out depends upon whether you, the tenant have handed in a notice of vacating the council premises, you are being moved to other premises due to a change in your circumstances or you are being asked by the council to move from the premises due to emergency repair work to be done on the property.

In case of emergency work, you might be given a week’s time to move premises if the conditions of your existing house are deemed to be serious health concerns. In case you are moving out on the council’s request for transfer to another premises, it depends upon the amount of repair work that needs to be done on the property. It may take up to 28 days for council notice to come into effect. 

Once your previous tenancy ends, the council authorities will inform you of the date when the new tenancy will start; based on this you will be allotted a time frame. However, if you are giving notice of the end of the tenancy at council premises, you are required to give a 4 week’s notice. This will serve as the council notice period for moving out; unless you are required to manage any repair work due to damage to property during your stay.

Can Council Help With Deposit?

Yes, local councils can help with deposits by offering you a rent deposit scheme or a rent guarantee scheme. These are convenient options to make deposit payments convenient for those individuals who are either on low-income or are facing financial challenges in meeting their living expenses.

Through a rent deposit scheme, financial aid is extended to those who are unable to afford a rent deposit. The applicant receives the entire amount in advance and repays it in instalments.

A rent guarantee scheme provides a written guarantee to your landlord confirming your inability to make an immediate cash deposit and your commitment to pay the amount over a period of time. If the tenant is unable to pay this amount as per the date committed, the guarantor of the rent guarantee scheme is liable to make payment on their behalf. For this, the tenant might have to pay a nominal fee to the guarantor over the period of the guarantee.

However, in most cases, individuals facing homelessness or in dire need to leave their previous homes into a new one will be favoured for such schemes.

In some cases, individuals may be able to receive funds for tenancy deposits through a homelessness prevention fund or social services. Additionally, councils may be able to arrange grants through charities to help those who need financial assistance.

Can Council Help With Moving Costs?

Yes, councils can help with moving costs. They have certain allowances available with them to extend financial aid in the form of grants or loans to those who are in need and qualify. 

At times, they may be able to arrange a Discretionary Housing Payment; which is a one time grant extended to cover the costs of housing. Local authorities will consider the following factors in this regard:

  • Conditions that make the applicant’s circumstances critical, exceptional or different.
  • Whether or not a one-time payment will provide real help for their situation.
  • Whether one-time assistance is required or it will be repeated due to financial constraints.
  • Possible long term solution for the applicant’s financial assistance.
  • The amount that they will receive.

Your local Citizen’s Advice centre can prove to be a useful guide in connecting you to charities who help people with rent and moving costs.

Conclusion:

From the above analysis of moving costs and their impact on the benefits that individuals receive, it has become apparent that if a tenant who is claiming Housing Benefit moves to another council district, they will be asked to switch to Universal Credit. However, tenants who stay within the same council are given the option to continue with Housing Benefit payments or switching to Universal Credit.

FAQs: Will My Housing Benefit Change If I Am Moving To A Different Council?

Will my benefits change if I move house?

Your benefits may change if you move house or they may remain the same. For instance, if you move into a larger house with spare rooms, your Housing Benefit payments may reduce. However, if you move into a similar property with similar rental payments and there is no change in your income, your benefits will remain unaffected.

Does moving house trigger Universal Credit?

Yes, moving your house will most likely trigger a Universal Credit claim especially if you are already claiming Housing Benefit. The main reason for this trigger is the UK Governments’ plan to phase out the six legacy benefits and replace them with Universal Credit through a “managed migration” by 2024.

What happens to my Universal Credit if I move in with someone?

If you are moving in with a partner who is on a Universal Credit claim, both of you may have to apply for a joint claim. Similarly, if a couple split up and they were previously on a joint claim, they will need to apply separately when one of them moves out.

Does Universal Credit pay full rent?

The amount of Universal Credit that tenants receive each month may change; therefore your landlord may receive a different amount to cover your housing payments and you will be required to pay the remaining amount if the payment falls short of the due amount of rent.  

Can Universal Credit help with moving costs?

If you are on Universal Credit you may request a budgeting advance to pay for expenses such as moving costs, repairs or security arrangements for your home.

References:

Check if a change affects your Housing Benefit – Citizens Advice.

Housing Benefit (England, Scotland and Wales) – Can I get Housing Benefit?

https://www.gov.uk/housing-benefit/report-a-change-of-circumstances

What changes in circumstances might trigger a move to Universal Credit.

What changes in circumstance trigger a claim for Universal Credit?

Moving to Universal Credit from other benefits – Citizens Advice

How To Cancel Council Tax When Moving House | Moovshack.

Council Tax When Moving House

What to do before you move out | End your council home tenancy

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John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.