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Benefits and Council Tax

Local Housing Allowance

In this section you will find the following information:

If you rent privately and make a new claim for Housing Benefit or have a change in circumstances we will have to work out your request using the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate. This is a simpler way of working out the maximum amount of financial help that can be provided towards your privately rented accommodation.

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) overview

The LHA scheme is based on:

  • The area you live or you are moving to
  • The number of rooms your household has or needs

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. Malvern Hills has the following areas:

  • Cheltenham
  • Gloucester
  • Worcester North
  • Worcester South

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:

  • 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 10
  • Any other child
  • Certain overnight carers
  • Foster children
  • Certain adult children who serve in the armed forces, who continue to live with parents
Single people (not a couple or living with dependent children) aged under 35 are only entitled to the Housing Benefit shared accommodation rate.

Calculate your Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate

Use the room calculator to find out how many rooms you are eligible for and to find out the LHA rate for the property.

For the current Local Housing Allowance rates for your area, please visit the  LHA website

The rate will be the maximum amount that you will receive, it may be reduced due to the amount of income and capital that you have. To calculate your final amount please use the benefits calculator.


Housing benefit is paid directly into your bank account. If you do not have a bank account, you would need to open a new account. You can seek advice from our customer contact centre at the Council House, Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AF.

Opening a bank account will help you to pay your landlord by direct debit or standing order. We will 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 and pdf complete the application form (240 KB) for direct payments of housing benefit to your landlord.

Exemptions from the Local Housing Allowance

The standard LHA rate will not affect you if you:

  • Rent from a local authority or housing association
  • Are aged under 22 and have been in care
  • 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 Arrangements.
  • Have been in continuous receipt of Housing Benefit from before 15 January 1989
  • Are living in a caravan, houseboat, mobile home or hostel
  • Have a rent officer that decides that a large part of your rent includes meals.

Further information

If you are concerned that you may not be able to afford to remain in your home, you can contact us. To make the most of the help that the Housing Advice Team are able to offer, it is important to seek advice as early as possible. You may wish to also seek advice from Citizens Advice and Directgov.