The Housing Costs Element for a claimant renting a private tenancy is based on their Local Housing Allowance.
However if their actual rent is below their Local Housing Allowance the DWP will use this lower rate
This means the amount of Housing Costs Element included in the Universal Credit calculation for a private tenant will depend on the size of property they are deemed to need, regardless of the size of property they are actually living in, and the range of rents for a rented property of that size in the area they are living in.
Some claimants are deemed to need only a room in a shared house (the Shared Accommodation Rate); and regardless of family size no-one is regarded as needing a home with more than four bedrooms
.(Note: from April 2017 some 18-21 year olds claiming UC on the 'Full'/Digital service will not be able to get any help with their rent - although this rule is due to be scrapped we do not have a date yet -
click here for more details).