Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
Who can get Local Housing Allowance?
If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance is used to work out how much Housing Benefit you get.
The amount of Housing Benefit you get will depend on where you live and who lives with you.
Local Housing Allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area. The rates range from a single room in a shared house, up to properties with four bedrooms.
If you have been getting Housing Benefit since before 7 April 2008, the Local Housing Allowance will only apply to you if you:
- change address
- have a break in your claim
LHA does not affect
- Registered social landlord tenancies
- Protected cases, such as supported housing provided by certain local authorities, social landlords, charities and voluntary organisations
- Tenancies which are excluded from current rent restrictions (such as pre-1989 tenancies)
- Exceptional cases such as caravans, houseboats and hostels
- Cases where the rent officer judges that a substantial part of the rent is attributable to board and attendance
How much LHA will I get?
The LHA is set each month by the rent service and gives allowances for households who need up to 4 rooms. Most tenants receive the LHA based on the number of rooms their household needs, not the number of rooms in the property they rent or the rent that they are charged.
How many rooms am I allowed?
You are allowed one bedroom for:
- each adult couple
- any other adult (aged 16 or over)
- any two children aged under 10
- any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- or for any other child
Please note the maximum number of bedrooms is capped at 4. To help further please visit Entitled To - Your bedroom entitlement.
Single people over 35 years old and couples with no children
If you are single and over 35 or a couple with no children you will get the 1 bedroom LHA but you must rent a property with at least two rooms or less than two rooms if it is self contained.
This means that the accommodation has its own bathroom/toilet and kitchen. If the property has less than two rooms and is not self contained you will be entitled to the shared room LHA only.
Single people under 35
If you are single and under 35 the shared rate applies to you if you don't live with dependants and rent a room in a shared home.
There are exemptions for severely disabled people, care leavers under 22 years of age or those with a bedroom used by care worker providing overnight care.
Joint tenants are people who are not a couple but share a property and are named on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants will get the LHA for their own household not including the family of the other joint tenants.
Current LHA rates
|Shared room rate||£66.50|
Remember - this figure is only the maximum amount of rent that we can pay through housing benefit. Your actual award may be less than this figure depending on your level of income.
Payments of local housing allowance/Housing benefit
Payment of Housing benefit is made fortnightly in arrears to the tenant into their bank account.
Please be aware that we cannot make payments into a Post Office card account.
Landlords will need to make arrangements with their tenant to collect the rent. Most people find that the best way is for the tenant to allow us to pay their local housing allowance direct into their bank or building society account. They can then set up a standing order to pay their landlord directly.
You should be able to open an account either at a bank or building society. You can download our Basic bank account leaflet (PDF) [214KB] for more details.
Some people may have difficulty getting the Housing benefit and paying their rent. Payments of Housing benefit can be made direct to a landlord if:
- We consider that a tenant is unlikely to pay their rent
- We think that a tenant cannot handle their own financial affairs
- Where a tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears with their rent
Payments to customers will be made fortnightly in arrears. Payments to landlords will be made every four weeks in arrears.
The first payment of Housing benefit may be made via cheque in the landlord's name, sent to the customer's address.
If someone else looks after your money for you, or there is a power of attorney, payments can be made to the person who looks after your money or the person with the power of attorney.
Tenants and landlords can download our Safeguard policy (PDF) [64KB] .
What happens if I am unable to receive direct payments?
If you feel unable to accept the responsibility of direct payments due to personal circumstances we may be able to consider making future payments directly to your landlord.
There are many reasons why a person may feel unable to manage their own financial affairs for example medical conditions, learning disabilities, addiction to drugs or alcohol, previous homelessness or debt problems.
It is our aim to ensure that vulnerable people with genuine problems are offered the support they need and we advise anyone who feels unable to manage their own affairs to complete our landlord payments form.
In order for us to reach a decision regarding who to send payments to, you will need to send supporting evidence with your request. We will consider evidence from a range of sources such as your GP, social/support worker, Citizens Advice Bureau.
If you feel that you, or your tenant, may benefit from payments being made directly to their landlord then please download and complete the Landlord payment form (PDF) [38KB] .
The rent I am charged is different to the LHA rate that applies to me
If the rent you are charged is less than the Local Housing rate that applies to you the maximum amount of benefit you can receive is the amount of rent you are charged.
If the rent you are charged is more than the Local Housing rate that applies to you the maximum amount of benefit you can receive is your Local Housing Allowance rate.
Extra help is available through our Discretionary Housing Payment page.
Will my LHA rate ever change?
The current Local Housing Allowance rates came into effect on the 1 April 2016.
These rates will now remain frozen for a further 4 years. Therefore your rate will not be reviewed or changed unless you have a change of circumstance in the middle of the year, that would affect the LHA rate applicable to you, for example a new child joining the household or a non dependent moving in.