The Government has announced that it will amend The Universal Credit (Housing Costs Element for claimants aged 18 to 21) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (the “Regulations”) that came into force on 1 April 2017. 

The Regulations were introduced to restrict the housing costs element of Universal Credit for new claimants aged between 18 and 21 years old, in an attempt to reduce the amount of taxpayers’ money paid towards housing costs. Unless an exemption applied then an 18 to 21 year old Universal Credit claimant would be unable to claim assistance with their rent. This led to many landlords refusing lets to 18 to 21 year olds and also resulted in young Universal Credit eligible claimants having to consider if they truly could afford to live independently without any welfare state assistance with their rent costs.

The U-turn by the Government means that 18 to 21 year olds will no longer need to satisfy any of the additional requirements to be eligible to make a claim to assist them with their housing costs. Landlords will also be relieved to know that they can let to tenants aged 18 to 21 years old who will be eligible and will be able to afford to rent as a result of receiving assistance with the housing costs element of Universal Credit.

The Department for Work and Pensions has also confirmed the position and intention to amend the regulations.

Do note that welfare benefit claimants must still satisfy the general eligibility benefit to claim Universal Credit and the benefit cap still applies so any claimant who does not satisfy the requirements or is already receiving the limit, may not be entitled to assistance with the housing costs element.

For more information

If you have any queries regarding the above then please contact Zishaan Saleem or Jonathan Cox.