Information for landlords

Supported housing and Housing Benefit

Supported housing is accommodation that is provided alongside support, supervision or care, to help people with specific needs to live as independently as possible in the community.

Types of supported housing

Supported housing can be short term or long term, depending on a person's needs and is sometimes referred to as specified accommodation.

There are four categories of specified accommodation:

Exempt accommodation

Exempt accommodation is a dwelling which a person is liable to make payments for, that they occupy as their home, and which is provided by one of the following:       

  • a non-metropolitan county council in England
  • a housing association
  • a registered charity
  • a voluntary organisation - where that body, or a person acting on its behalf also provides the tenant with more than minimal care, support or supervision

Managed properties

To meet the managed properties definition, a dwelling must be provided by one of the following:       

  • a county council in England
  • a housing association
  • a registered charity
  • a voluntary organisation

The tenant must also have been admitted to the dwelling to receive the care, support or supervision being provided which is connected to living in that home. As with exempt accommodation, the tenant must also be in receipt of more than minimal care, support or supervision.               

Managed properties differ from exempt accommodation in that the care, support or supervision does not need to be provided by the landlord or on their behalf.               


Refuges are non-permanent accommodation provided by third party and social sector landlords to people fleeing domestic abuse.               

To meet the definition, the tenant’s dwelling must be provided by one of the following:       

  • any local authority
  • a housing association
  • a registered charity
  • a voluntary organisation

The landlord must provide the dwelling to the tenant because they have left their home because of domestic abuse.               

The tenant’s occupancy of the dwelling must also be temporary.               

Local authority (LA) hostels

For a dwelling to meet the definition of local authority hostel, it must be owned or managed by a local authority and meet all of the following requirements:       

  • comprise non-self-contained accommodation, which is not a care home
  • have either board or adequate facilities for the preparation of food
  • have a tenant that receives more than minimal care, support or supervision

Supported housing and eligibility to Housing Benefit

Most working-age tenants now need to claim Universal Credit for help with their housing costs. However, those classified as living in supported housing can claim Housing Benefit.

Local authorities administer Housing Benefit on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and must apply the Housing Benefit regulations in their decision making.

The rules around supported housing are complex. You can read the Housing Benefit guidance for supported housing claims on GOV.UK.

Tenant requirements - more than minimal care, support and supervision

In addition to the usual questions about an applicant’s circumstances, the Housing Benefit assessment team will determine whether the tenant needs and receives more than minimal care, support and supervision. Supporting evidence will normally be required.

Tenant's need

The tenant must have a need for more than minimal care, support or supervision.              

If the tenant does not require more than minimal care, support or supervision, it cannot be treated as provided.       

The admission process to supported housing should include assessing the need for care, support or supervision by someone that is suitably qualified to do so. This should be a professional or expert with experience in the care or support sector.              

The expectation for needs to be identified before entering supported housing is reflected in the National Statement of Expectations for supported housing. It states that providers (alongside local councils and referring bodies) should have assessed whether the tenant’s needs would be met by this accommodation before they moved in. Therefore, local authorities can request a needs assessment from the landlord alongside information about what care, support or supervision is provided for each tenant.               

If a local authority determines that a tenant does not require more than minimal care, support or supervision, the tenant must claim the housing costs element of Universal Credit for support with their rent costs. Or if they have an existing HB claim and have not claimed Universal Credit, they will have their HB restricted to the appropriate Local Housing Allowance rate.       

People's circumstances often improve which mean they no longer need the care, support or supervision on offer. If this is the case, the local authority must be informed immediately, even if the tenant is still living in the property. Any delay may result in too much Housing Benefit being paid. Changes in circumstances can be reported online.               

A risk of homelessness will not, on its own, constitute a need for more than minimal care, support or supervision.       

Tenant's provision

Local authorities must determine whether the amount of care, support or supervision provided to the tenant is sufficient.              

The amount provided must be more than minimal and should make a real difference to the tenants ability to live in the property.       

The activities performed in providing care, support or supervision will be considered (alongside the time spent) to determine whether sufficient care, support or supervision is provided.               

Care, support or supervision should be provided on an ongoing basis. The ongoing care, support or supervision may vary each week, so it is considered on an average basis.              

Reviewing Housing Benefit claims

Local authorities have a responsibility to periodically review Housing Benefit claims to ensure the circumstances declared by the tenant and landlord are still correct. Where a tenant resides in supported accommodation, any such review may include a review of the tenant's support needs and the level of support that tenant receives.

Challenging a decision

Landlords can submit appeals in certain cases. Find more information on disputes and appeals.

Property standards

Accommodation provided for supported housing must be safe, warm and secure meeting the housing health and safety standards required.

The Local Housing Authorities private rented sector team regulate these standards through inspection and enforcement where appropriate. Find more information for landlords.

Selective licensing and licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) schemes operate in the private rented housing sector in Leeds. Properties must have a licence unless they have a valid exemption. Where a licence is issued properties must meet the conditions attached.

The Supported Housing Improvement Programme (SHIP)

The SHIP is a government funded initiative.


The SHIP aims to improve:

  • the quality of the accommodation and the support provided in short-term supported housing
  • value for money in the short-term supported housing sector - particularly by ensuring better oversight of HB claims


Local authorities participating in the SHIP are expected to:

Review support arrangements, including safeguarding

Through person-centred assessments of the support being provided to individuals within each property inspected.

Carry out property inspections and enforcement of accommodation standards

To ensure housing is accessible, appropriate, safe and hazard-free.

Scrutinise new and existing Housing Benefit claims

To ensure claims are legitimate and reasonable.

Develop a standardised local approach to managing new provision

Including (Housing Benefit related) Gateway Reviews for new providers or new schemes.

Develop a strategic plan for cohorts accommodated in short-term (‘transitional’) supported housing

Based on a comprehensive assessment of local need and supply, with a local plan to meet future need.

What happens next

We will contact a selection of tenants to arrange visits and inspections. These visits and inspections will be mandatory and failure to engage may result in the suspension or cancellation of Housing Benefit.

Contact us

If you are a supported housing provider, you can email us with your query.

Supported Housing Improvement Programme

Current Housing Benefit claims