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Understanding the Significance of Exempt Accommodation in Supported Housing

28th August 2023

Exempt accommodation is a category of supported housing that is exempt from locally set caps on housing benefit.   

Why is this important? Locally set caps on housing benefits are almost always based on the LHA (Local Housing Allowance) rates.  For your area these can be found here England: Universal Credit Local Housing Allowance monthly rates 2023 to 2024 - GOV.UK (   

Whether you are a landlord/developer, care provider, or a registered social landlord you need to look at the overall arrangement including the level of housing benefit that will be available. Ultimately, supported living schemes can only go ahead if the numbers stack up and meet everyone’s expectations. 

Of course, there are other elements to consider such as the terms of the lease, the property, and its location, but being classified as exempt accommodation can make a real difference in the value and desirability of the scheme. 

The Definition of Exempt Accommodation, as defined by UK Parliament Publications is as follows: 

What is exempt accommodation? 

  1. Exempt accommodation is a category of supported housing that is exempt from locally set caps on housing benefits. Supported housing encompasses a wide range of housing that combines housing with support for people with different needs, such as older people, people with disabilities, and people with complex needs. Exempt accommodation takes its name from the fact that it is exempt from housing benefit regulations that limit local housing allowance levels. The reason for this exemption is that this housing costs more to run than general needs tenancies, for example having higher costs for administration, insurance, and repairs and maintenance.   Rent is set by the provider and paid for by the resident’s housing benefit.

Who lives in exempt accommodation? 

  1. Many people who live in exempt accommodation have experienced or are currently dealing with challenges that mean they have few alternative housing options. Residents include refugees, care leavers, people with disabilities, and those who have formerly been homeless, had alcohol and drug addictions, been recently released from prison, or been a victim of crime such as domestic abuse or modern slavery.   Data is not collected on how many people live in exempt accommodation, but figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the homelessness charity Crisis suggest that in 2021 there were 156,868 households living in exempt accommodation.   

Who provides exempt accommodation? 

  1. Exempt accommodation in England can be provided by a non-metropolitan county council, unitary council, housing association, registered charity, or voluntary organisation. To qualify for exempt status, providers must show that they have not-for-profit status and that they are providing care, support, or supervision. Providers can be commissioned by a council, or in some cases by the NHS or another statutory body, and there are also non-commissioned providers. Some providers are registered with the Regulator of Social Housing, though this is not mandatory except for local authorities. Some providers own their properties, while others lease them from landlords or companies.

For more details from the UK Parliament follow this link Exempt Accommodation - Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee (

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