What is it?
Local housing allowance was introduced on 7 April 2008. It’s a simpler and fairer way of working out housing benefit for people on a low income who live in privately rented accommodation (not housing associations).
Who does it apply to?
We will assess your housing benefit under local housing allowance regulations if you are a private tenant (excludes tenants of registered social landlords) and:
- make a new claim for housing benefit;
- notify us of a change of address to other private rented accommodation;
- the person claiming housing benefit changes; or
- you have a break in your claim of one week or more.
What is it based on?
Local housing allowance is based on:
- The make up of the household;
- what income and savings you have; and
- how many bedrooms you need and not how many rooms there are in the property.
The number of bedrooms you need is based on the number, age and gender of people you have living with you. However, no more than 5 bedrooms can be counted when we assess your claim.
You are allowed one bedroom each for:
- a couple;
- any other adult (age 16 or over);
- any two children under the age of 10;
- any two children of the same sex under the age of 16; and
- any other child under the age of 16
It is not based on how much rent you pay.
Ineligible service charges and meals are not a factor when calculating the maximum rent with LHA. To calculate the maximum rent the following must be established:
- The contractual rent;
- The applicable LHA rate;
- Whether the contractual rent is higher than the LHA rate.
If your rent is less than the Local Housing Allowance that applies to you, you will be able to keep any extra benefit to a maximum of £15.00 per week. For example, if your rent is £90.00 per week and the Local Housing Allowance rate is £100.00, the maximum you could receive is £100.00 per week.
If your rent is more than the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to you, you will normally have to make up the difference. For example, if your rent is £110.00 per week and the Local Housing Allowance rate is £100.00 the maximum amount of benefit we could pay you would be £100.00 per week. Therefore, you would have to make up the £10.00 per week shortfall.
Who does it not apply to?
Local housing allowance will not apply to people:
- who rent their home from the council;
- who rent their home from a registered social landlord or housing association;
- whose tenancy started before 1989 or who have a registered fair rent;
- who live in supported accommodation; and
- who live in hostels, caravans and houseboats.
It may also not apply if your rent includes an amount for meals.