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Local Housing Allowance

What is it?

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Housing Benefit Scheme affects tenants of privately rented accommodation. 

Who can apply for LHA?

  • private tenants making a new claim for Housing Benefit
  • existing claimants who change address to a private tenancy
  • claimants in privately rented accommodation who have a break in their existing claim for benefit.

How is LHA worked out?

How much LHA you may get depends on:

  • Who lives with you
  • Which area you want to live in
  • How much money you have coming in
  • What savings you have

The number of rooms you need

The LHA is a flat rate housing allowance and the number of people who live with you will be used to work out how many bedrooms you need.

One bedroom is allowed for:

  • every adult couple
  • any other adult aged 16 or over
  • any two children regardless of sex aged under age 10
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • any other child.
  • The number of other rooms is ignored for this purpose as all tenants are entitled to these.

If you rent a bed-sit or a room in a shared house then you will only qualify for the shared room LHA rate. Please use the LHA Bedroom entitlement calculator if you are unsure.  Our current LHA room rates are here.  

Single Persons aged under 35 years

A single person aged under 35 years, who does not have a non-dependant living with them, will be entitled to the standard rate of Local Housing Allowance for a room in shared accommodation.  However, this will be based on a more generous definition than the existing Single Room Rent, which limits Housing Benefit entitlement to the rate for a room in shared accommodation.  The new rate will be based on properties where the tenant has the exclusive use of only one bedroom and the tenancy provides for the tenant to share the use of one or more of a:

  • kitchen
  • bathroom
  • toilet
  • room suitable for living in.

A severely disabled person under 35 years and care leavers under 22 years will be entitled to the Local Housing Allowance rate for a one bedroom self-contained property, provided they rent a property of at least that size.  For those who qualify for a severe disability premium, they will qualify for the one room rate regardless of the size of their accommodation.

How much LHA will I get?

There are no changes to the Housing Benefit entitlement rules; this is still based on a person’s financial circumstances and proof of a valid tenancy agreement.

LHA is the maximum benefit you can receive towards your rent.  The amount you will receive still depends on the money you have coming in each week, what savings you have and who else lives with you.

If you are subject to the Benefit Cap please ensure you take this into account when working out how much Housing Benefit you will be entitled to. 

How is it paid?

In most cases payment of LHA will be made direct to the tenant and it will be the tenant’s responsibility to pay the rent to the landlord.  LHA will be paid direct into bank accounts or by crossed cheque.  This means you will need to open a bank account if you do not have one already.  Some people may struggle with this responsibility and help will be available if required.

Local Housing Allowance does not apply if:

  • your landlord is a Housing Association
  • your rent has been registered as a “fair rent”
  • your tenancy started before 1989
  • your tenancy includes the provision of care, support or supervision and is provided by local authorities, social landlords, charities or voluntary organizations
  • your accommodation is a caravan, mobile home or houseboat.
  • If your rent includes a substantial amount for board and attendance (e.g. private hostel accommodation) LHA may not apply.  This will be decided by the independent rent officer.
  • You are claiming Universal Credit  

You can find out more information about Local Housing Allowance at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/local-authority-staff/housing-benefit/claims-processing/local-housing-allowance/

Last Updated: 06/03/2017
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