Housing Benefit under the Local Housing Allowance arrangements
What is the Local Housing Allowance?
The Local Housing Allow is used to work out claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. If you live in social housing, Local Housing Allowance does not affect you but you maybe affected by an under occupancy charge.
With the Local Housing Allowance, your Housing Benefit is worked out according to where you live and who lives with you. Local Housing Allowance rates are set for different types of property in each area ranging from a single room in a shared house up to properties with four bedrooms. The maximum Local Housing Allowance rate which can be used to calculate your Housing Benefit is the rate for four bedrooms.
Local Housing Allowance rates are available for all local authority areas from the following LHA Direct Website. This information will tell you how much help with your rent you might get before you find somewhere to live, making it easier for you to decide what type of property you can afford.
April 2018, Housing Benefit for social tenants will be capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate. This will mean that the lower of either the rent charged or the Local Housing Allowance rate will be used to work out your Housing Benefit. The cap will apply to housing association tenancies signed on or after 1 April 2016 (including mutual exchanges). The cap for tenants in supported accommodation in the social sector will be deferred until 2019/20.
How many bedrooms am I allowed?
The number of people you live with is used to work out how many bedrooms you are allowed. We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
You can use the following information as a guide to work out how many bedrooms you are allowed.
You are allowed one bedroom for:
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 aged under 10
any other child.
Extra bedroom for disabled couples unable to share a bedroom
An extra room can be allowed if a couple cannot share a bedroom because of a disability if:
- They are unable to share a bedroom (they may be able to if they have two single beds) - it can be one or both disabled
- If medical equipment is needed an extra room can be considered
- One member of the couple must be in receipt of one of the following:
- Middle or higher rate care of disability living allowance
- Daily living personal independence payment
- Higher rate of attendance allowance
- Armed forces independence payment.
If you (and your partner, if you have one) have friends, relatives or anyone else aged 18 or over living with you, we call these people non-dependants. If there are non-dependants living with you your benefit may be reduced. This is because we expect them to pay towards your rent. For more information about this, please see our Council Tax Support section.
Working out your Housing Benefit under the Local Housing Allowance arrangements if you are single and aged 18-34 or you are a couple and you do not have anyone else living with you-
The shared bedroom rate of Local Housing Allowance will apply to you if:
- You are single and aged 18-34.
The one bedroom rate of Local Housing Allowance will apply to you if:
- You live in a self-contained property, single and above the age of 35
- You live in a shared property but have two or more rooms (bedrooms or living rooms) that no-one else can use and above the age of 35.
- Are in a couple and do not live with any dependants
- Or If you live with an adult dependant.
What else might affect the Local Housing Allowance rate?
There are extra rules if you:
- are a care leaver aged under 22
- are severely disabled
- have a resident carer
- have a child who is not able to share a room due to disablity or illness.
If you are a joint tenant this may affect the benefit you can get. For more information about joint tenants, please get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0115 9071010.
Will the Local Housing Allowance rate which applies to me ever change?
The rate of local housing allowance is reviewed on an annual basis in April.
If you have a change of circumstances before the anniversary of your claim (April), a new Local Housing Allowance rate could apply to you if for example:
you have a change of address;
there is a change in the number of the people living with you;
the LHA rate which applies to you changes because of a change in your age, for example, you reach 35 years of age;
a member of your family or a relative who lives with you dies although there are circumstances where a protection in the level of rent can be used for a period of 52 weeks.
Local Housing Allowance is not suitable for everyone
If you are in one of the following groups, please contact us as the way in which we calculate you claim may have to be determined by the Rent Officer at The Valuation Office Agency.
a tenant claiming for a mooring or the letting of a house boat / other vessel used as a dwelling
a tenant claiming for a caravan site rent or the letting of a caravan / mobile home
a tenant whose rent includes a substantial amount for board and attendance
someone living in a hostel
a Rent Act protected tenant.