Canadian renters can now apply for the Housing Benefit – here’s everything you need to know.

January 9, 2023

Attention Canadian renters! Applications for the Housing Benefit are now open. This consists of a one-time tax-free payment of $500 for low-income renters with adjusted net income of less than $20,000 for individuals or $35,000 for families.

We wanted to share everything taxpayers need to know to see if this benefit applies to you.

Am I eligible?

The first step you need to take is to check to see if you’re eligible. We’ve outlined the criteria needed to apply:

  • You must be at least 15 years old on December 1, 2022.
  • You lived in Canada in 2022 for tax purposes and your principal residence (the place you normally lived and paid rent, which could be a house, apartment, college residence, etc.) on December 1, 2022 was in Canada.
  • Both you and your spouse or partner (if applicable) must have filed a 2021 income tax return.
  • Your rent paid in 2022 must have been equal to at least 30% of your 2021 adjusted family net income. This applies to just what’s in your rental agreement, so it doesn’t include things like:
  • Meals or food-related services.
  • Utilities and taxes that are not included in the rental agreement.
  • Amounts deducted as a business expense (so, if you’re claiming part of your home as an office on your taxes, that percentage of space must be deducted from this amount).
  • Payments of rent-to-own where all or a portion of the rent goes towards the purchase of the property.
  • Rent paid to a parent or relative if it is only for the purpose of contributing to household expenses.

You will qualify for the $35,000 adjusted net income threshold if:

  • You had a spouse or common-law partner on December 1, 2022.
  • You lived with a child under the age of 18 on December 1, 2022.
  • You claimed the amount for an eligible dependant on your 2021 income tax return.

Of course, not every living situation is cut and dry. For those in complicated living situations, here are a couple tips to help you determine if you qualify:

  • If the rent payments are shared by multiple people (families or roommates) living at the same address, each family or roommate should apply separately, based on their portion of the rent, even if only one individual was making the payments to the landlord.
  • If you and your spouse or partner live in two different places, due to working or going to school in different cities, only one of you should apply. The one who applies must include the total amount of rent paid in 2022 for both principal residences.
  • If you were married or common-law and separated on or before December 1, 2022, you will only be considered separated for the purpose of the benefit you remained separated for ninety days after the split.
  • You must therefore wait until the ninety-day period has expired before applying. You’ll include in your application your share of the rent paid while living together, plus the rent you paid while living part.
  • If you separated after December 1, 2022, you will not be considered separated for the purpose of the benefit. Only one should apply for the benefit. You would include both the rent you paid while living together and the rent each paid while living apart.

What documentation do I need to use to prove the amount I’m claiming?

Applicants will need to have the following information available when filing for this benefit:

  • The address(es) of all principal residences in Canada in 2022.
  • The total rent paid in the 2022 calendar year for these residences.
  • The name and contact information of the person the rent was paid to.

Rent receipts or other documentation to verify the claim (such as a letter from the landlord) should be retained for six years in case the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) asks to verify the claim.

How do I apply?

There are different ways to apply:

  • My Account or My Service Canada Account (waiting time has been reported to be 5 to 10 business days).
  • Use the online application form found on the CRA website (waiting time has been reported to be 6 to 11 business days).
  • By phone at 1-800-282-8079 (waiting time has been reported to be 7 to 12 business days).
  • The last date for applications is Friday, March 31, 2023.

Additional details regarding the application process can be found on the CRA website at this link: One-time top-up to the Canada Housing Benefit -

If you have any questions about the one-time Housing Benefit top-up, H&R Block Tax Experts are here to help. Find an office near you to book an appointment today.

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