Local Housing Allowance - LHA
Local Housing Allowance applies to most people in privately
rented accommodation who make a new claim for Housing Benefit on or
after 7th April 2008. If you are already receiving Housing Benefit
on this date these new rules will not apply to you. However. if you
move address or stop claiming Housing Benefit for at least one
week, we will work out your new claim under the LHA rules.
LHA replaces the old rent referral scheme with a system of Local
Housing Allowances based on the area in which the tenant lives and
the number of people in the household.
This new scheme will remove the need for the Rent Service to
value each individual property and will mean that you can find out
how much LHA you could be entitled to before you move into a
Every property in the country will be included in a specific
Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) which shows the weekly Local
Housing Allowance rates for each area.You can find out which
BRMA applies to you.
The Rent Service provides each authority with a set of LHA
figures which are to be used. These are weekly figures and are
dependant on the number of bedrooms your family needs, rather than
the number of bedrooms you actually have.
LHA uses size criteria for working out the amount of LHA that
can be paid. One room is allowed as a bedroom for each of the
following occupiers, up to a maximum of 4, with each occupier
coming only within the first category which applies to him or
- a couple
- a single person aged 16 or more
- two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- two children of the same or opposite sex under the age of
- any other child
- certain overnight carers
- foster children
- certain adult children who serve in the armed forces who
continue to live with parents
Local Housing Allowance will be paid to the tenant into a
bank account. If you do not have a bank account you will need to
open a new account. Details about basic bank accounts can be found
There are a few occasions where LHA can be paid to a landlord.
- If you are eight or more weeks behind with your rent
- If we think that you will have difficulty paying your rent
- If we think that you will not pay your rent
We can also consider paying your landlord if you think that you
will have difficulty with these arrangements. You will need to
contact us to discuss this, or you can download an application form
for Direct Payments of
Housing Benefit to your Landlord. You will have to provide
Further details about Local Housing Allowance can be found on
the Directgov website. Or you can visit
Alternatively you can get further information from any of our
New rules apply for single people who are aged under 35
and who rent from a private Landlord.
What do the changes mean?
From 1st January 2012 single people aged under 35 will
only be entitled to the Housing Benefit shared accommodation rate.
By single people we mean someone who is not
- as a couple
- with dependant children.
The shared accommodation rate is based on the level of local
rents for properties that are not self contained. This usually
means that there is a shared
- toilet or
Who will the changes affect?
These changes will affect you if you:
- rent accommodation from a private
- already get Housing Benefit, or are
going to make a new claim
- are single
- do not normally have children
living with you
- are under 35 years old
- live in a self contained
These changes will not affect you if you:
- rent from a local authority or
- are aged under 22 and have been in
- live in supported housing provided
by a housing association, registered charity, voluntary
organisation or a county council (in England)
- get the severe disability premium
in your benefit because you are entitled to the middle or higher
rate care component of the Disability Living Allowance
- need an extra bedroom for a carer
who provides you with the overnight care you need but who doesn’t
normally live with you
- have spent at least three months in
a homeless hostel or hostel specialising in rehabilitating and
resettling within the community. To benefit from this exemption you
need to have been offered and accepted support services to enable
you to be rehabilitated or resettled in the community.
- are managed under active
multi-agency management under the Multi Agency Public Protection
Shared accommodation rates
You can find out your local shared accommodation
rate using the websites below. You can also compare the shared
accommodation rate with the one bedroom rate:
England: Directgov Local
Housing Allowance Rates 2013
Local Housing Allowance Rates 2013
Welsh Government Local Housing Allowance Rates 2013
What should I do now?
You can get more information at Directgov. Directgov provides information
on public services in one place including up to date information on
the Housing Benefit changes.
Speak to your local authority Housing Benefit /
Housing Service as soon as possible. They can help you to find out
exactly how these changes will affect you and talk to you about
what your options may be if you are looking for accommodation.
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is an
executive agency of HM Revenue & Customs and holds information
on Local Housing Allowance, fair rents and Council Tax. Visit their
website at www.voa.gov.uk/
Citizens Advice provides a wide range of advice.
To find your local Citizens Advice Bureau, look in the phone book
or Yellow Pages, or visit their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
From April 2011 the Government introduced
absolute caps so that Local Housing Allowance weekly rates in any
area cannot exceed:
- £250 for a one bedroom property
- £290 for a two bedroom property
- £340 for a three bedroom property
- £400 for a four bedroom property
The caps are most likely to affect people who are renting
properties in central London boroughs. If your weekly rent is more
than the cap for the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to
you, your Housing Benefit will be reduced.
If you are concerned that you may not be able to afford to
remain in your home, you can speak to the Housing Options Team
Housing, Festival House, Grovewood Road, Enigma Business
Park,Malvern, Worcs WR14 1GD. Alternatively, you can call the
Housing Options Team for advice on 01684 579579. To make the most
of the assistance the Housing Options Team is able to offer, it is
important to seek advice as early as possible.