If you are a private tenant and make a new claim your entitlement will be calculated using the Local Housing Allowance rates.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the current way of working out new claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord. Local Housing Allowance was introduced on 7 April, 2008. If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, Local Housing Allowance does not affect you.
If you were already getting Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008, you will not be affected by LHA unless:
With Local Housing Allowance, your benefit is not usually based on the property you live in. It is usually based on:
In some cases the amount of benefit you are entitled to will be affected by other things. These can include:
Local Housing Allowance gives tenants a choice in where they live and it's fairer too. This is because with Local Housing Allowance:
The LHA is set each year by the rent service and gives allowances for households who need up to four bedrooms. If you are making a new claim for help with your rent and need more than four bedrooms to accommodate your family, you will still only receive the maximum LHA for a four bed property. Most tenants receive the LHA based on the number of bedrooms their household needs not the number of rooms in the property they rent, or the rent that they are charged. The LHA awarded when you make a claim lasts for one year, unless your household circumstances change. After one year it is updated.
You can find more information on the Valuation Office website.
The other factors that will determine the amount of LHA you are entitled to are:
You can view more details on rates of LHA below.
The number of people who live with you is used to work out how many bedrooms you are entitled to. We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
The number of bedrooms you are entitled to is then used to work out which Local Housing Allowance rate applies to you.
You can use the following information as a guide to work out how many bedrooms you are entitled to.
You are entitled to one bedroom for:
Below are some examples of how many bedrooms certain households would qualify for:
Any changes that may affect your benefit entitlement are:
Usually you will have your benefit paid directly to you. It will be paid by BACS straight into your bank or building society account.
If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you may want to set one up. That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically, using a standing order. If you do not have a bank or building society account at the time that you make your claim, we can pay you by Cheque. This will then give you time to open an account.
LHA cannot be paid into a Post Office Card Account like some other benefits.
You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank, building society or credit union. You can also get advice from a welfare organisation such as Citizens Advice.
It is up to you to pay the rent to your landlord. If you don't pay your rent, you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.
Your benefit is paid to you, unless you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent. If you are worried about managing your money, let us know. In some cases we may be able to pay your rent to your landlord The criteria are as follows:
Your benefit is for you to pay your rent with. If you do not use your benefit to pay your rent, your landlord may take you to court or try to evict you and you may lose your home. If your rent is higher than the LHA then you will have to make up the difference to avoid getting into arrears.
If you are having difficulty paying your rent because your rent is more that the LHA rates above you may be entitled to Discretionary Housing Payment – if you need advice or assistance please contact our Customer Services Section on 01753 475111.