Updated: 20 May 2013
Rate Relief provides help for low income households who are receiving either no, or only partial help with their rates through Housing Benefit.
Who can get Rate Relief?
If you are getting only partial help with your rates through Housing Benefit you may be entitled to extra help through the Rate Relief Scheme. Other people just outside the Housing Benefit limits may also qualify for Rate Relief.
How do I apply for Rate Relief?
If you are not currently receiving Housing Benefit and wish to apply for Rate Relief you will be required to complete an application for Housing Benefit and Rate Relief.
If you are currently receiving Housing Benefit you do not need to do anything at this stage. We will contact you if we require any further information.
If you rent your home from the Housing Executive, a housing association or a private landlord and you live outside Belfast, to receive an application form you should contact your district office.
If you are a private sector tenant living in Belfast you should contact the Private Sector Housing Benefit Office.
If you own and live in your home you can find out more in the following ways:
- Freephone 0800 587 7477
- Collect an application form at your local Land and Property Services office.
How do you assess my entitlement to Rate Relief?
The Rate Relief Scheme is designed to help those who are not getting full Housing Benefit on their rates charge. Therefore an assessment of Housing Benefit is first required to establish any entitlement to Rate Relief.
Entitlement to Rate Relief is determined by comparing your income and your applicable amount, a weekly figure set by government for someone in your circumstances to live on. The difference between the two amounts is known as “excess income.”
You will have to pay 12% of your excess income towards any rates liability remaining after your entitlement to Housing Benefit has been calculated. Rate Relief will then cover any rates charge remaining after these calculations.
- a family with two children and a weekly income of £278.53 and a weekly rates charge of £11.62 would receive Housing Benefit of £2.40 for rates and Rate Relief of £3.69.
- a lone parent with three children and a weekly income of £256.48 and a weekly rates charge of £13.31 would receive Housing Benefit of £6.21 for rates and Rate Relief of £2.83.
These figures are for illustrative purposes only
If I am entitled to Rate Relief how is it paid?
For Housing Executive and Housing Association tenants Rate Relief will be credited to their rent account.
For owner occupiers and private tenants Rate Relief will be credited to Land and Property Services on their behalf.