[holding answer 15 March 2010]: Housing benefit is an income-related benefit administered by local authorities to assist people on low incomes who need help to pay their rent. Tenants in the private rented sector have their benefit entitlement restricted to an amount considered to be reasonable for the area and their accommodation needs. As from 7 April 2008 the local authority uses the appropriate local housing allowance rate, based on the area where the person lives and the size of their household, to determine the maximum amount to be included in the housing benefit calculation.
In the case of single people aged 25 years and over and couples with no dependent children, the local housing allowance rate for a one-bedroom properly would normally be used to calculate their benefit entitlement. However, if they choose to live in a property where they do not have either exclusive use of two or more rooms, or exclusive use of one room, a bathroom and toilet and a kitchen or facilities for cooking, the shared room rate would apply.