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Welcome to birmingham.gov.uk

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Local Housing Allowance


Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is paid to people who live in private rented accommodation to help them pay their rent. It is usually paid to the claimant, but may be paid direct to the landlord in certain circumstances. The rates depend on how many people live in your household.

One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children regardless of sex aged under 10
  • Any other child (under 16)

Rates are set each year in April and remain the same until the following April.


Room rates valid from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 attached document LHA rates April 2015 to March 2016

Room rates January 2009 to March 2015 attached document LHA Rates January 2009 - March 2015

The attachments show the maximum amount you can be awarded - the actual benefit you receive may be less depending on the amount of money you have coming in and if other adults (other than your partner, if you have one) live with you. The maximum LHA rate payable is for 4 bedrooms, regardless of how many bedrooms you actually have.

Single claimants under 35

Most single claimants under 35 living in private rented accommodation are only entitled to the shared accommodation rate of LHA, regardless of the size of the accommodation they rent. The following are NOT affected by this:

  • Claimants over 25 but under 35 who have spent at least three months in a specialist hostel or hostels for homeless people, where the main purpose of that hostel it to provide supervision, care and support with a view to assisting people to be rehabilitated or resettled in the community.
  • Claimants over 25 but under 35 whose housing has been arranged under active Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), to be settled back into the community.
  • Severely disabled people receiving the middle or highest care component of Disability Living Allowance, or the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment.
  • Single claimants under 22 who have left care.

Discretionary Housing Payments

If you are receiving housing benefit but you are struggling to pay your rent, you may be able to get a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) to help.

DHPs can help when the amount of housing benefit you get isn’t enough to cover the rent or if you are in financial hardship.

DHPs can also help with removal costs, deposits or rent in advance if you move to a more affordable property. For more information, please see our dedicated page.

We also have a fund to help with Council Tax. Please see our dedicated  page.

Overpayments

An overpayment is defined as any payment of benefit to which the person wasn’t entitled. If we pay you too much housing benefit, we will write and tell you about the overpayment.

If we write to you and you don’t understand the letter, you can either write to us at


Birmingham City Council
Revenues and Benefits
PO Box 8267
Birmingham
B4 7XF


Or you can email us at ptmailbox@birmingham.gov.uk - please note that this mailbox does NOT accept attachments.

If you are currently repaying an overpayment and can no longer afford the weekly repayments, please call out contact centre on 0121 464 7000. Please have your income and expenditure details with you when you call. We can then look again at your circumstances. If we decide we can change your recovery payments, we will write and tell you our decision.

If you receive an invoice for an overpayment and cannot afford the balance, please ring us on 0121 464 8248 to discuss a possible payment arrangement.

Making an appeal

If you do not agree with our decision on how much local housing allowance we will pay you, or you want to dispute any overpayments we made, you can

  • Ask us for a more detailed explanation
  • As us to look at our decision again
  • Appeal against our decision

If you’re not sure, please ask us to look at the decision again – you can still appeal at a later date if you still do not agree with us.

If you have appealed and we stand by our original decision, we will send your appeal to the Tribunal Service. The appeal will then be heard by an independent person who will consider our reasons and why you think they are wrong. You have the right to attend the hearing and take a representative with you if you want to – this could be someone from the CAB, and advice agency or a solicitor (remember, a solicitor may charge you depending on your financial circumstances).


attached document Housing Benefit Reconsideration/Appeal Form

 
Paying Local Housing Allowance direct to your landlord

We know that in some circumstances it will be in everyone’s best interest if LHA is paid directly to the landlord rather than the tenant.

In some situations, we MUST pay the landlord directly:

  • Where we have evidence that the a tenant is 8 full weeks or more in arrears with their rent; or
  • Where the tenant is having deductions made from Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance to pay rent arrears

We can also pay the landlord directly where we consider that a tenant:

  • Is unlikely to pay their rent; or
  • Cannot get access to facilities to get their LHA paid; or
  • Cannot pay their rent because they cannot manager their own affairs

Further information for landlords and tenants is available here attached document Safeguard Application For LHA Payment Direct To Your Landlord - Guidance Notes

If you want to apply for direct payments, please use this application form

Safeguard Application - Application For LHA Payment Direct To Your Landlord

attached document Safeguard - Additional Landlord Direct Provision From 1st April 2011

These Guidance Notes will help you fill it in.

attached document Safeguard Application For LHA Payment Direct To Your Landlord - Guidance Notes