Definition: Housing allowance
The housing function refers to interventions by public authorities to help households meet the cost of housing. An essential criterion for defining the scope of a housing allowance is the existence of a qualifying means-test for the benefit.
- rent benefit: a current means-tested transfer granted by a public authority to tenants, temporarily or on a long-term basis, to help with rent costs,
- benefit to owner-occupiers: a means-tested transfer by a public authority to owner-occupiers to alleviate their current housing costs: in practice often to help with paying mortgages and/or interest.
It does not include:
- social housing policy organised through the fiscal system (i.e. tax benefits),
- all capital transfers (in particular investment grants).
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1980/2003 of 21 October 2003 implementing Regulation (EC) No 1177/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning Community statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC) as regards definitions and updated definitions