Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) 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.
Who can get LHA?
If you have a low income and pay rent for your property to a private landlord you may be able to claim LHA. You can't claim if you have savings over £16000, unless you are of state pension age and receive the guaranteed element of pension credit. There are special rules if you are a full time student or live abroad.
How much LHA will I get?
The LHA is set each year in April by the rent service and gives allowances for households who need up to four 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. The LHA awarded when you make a claim lasts until the following April unless your household circumstances change. In April it is updated.
The LHA rate also depends on which Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA) you are living in, for example Clitheroe comes under East Lancashire, Longridge comes under Central Lancashire and Read/Simonstone comes under West Pennine.
|Broad Market Rental Area|
|LHA Category (all figures are weekly)||Central Lancashire 57||East Lancashire 56||West Pennine 34|
|1 bedroom self contained||£90.90||£85.00||£80.55|
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 under 10
- any two children of the same sex aged 10 to 15 or for
- any other child.
We do not take any other rooms into account when this is worked out.
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 one room LHA rate 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 you get the shared room LHA no matter what size of property you rent.
When the rules don't apply
We will not have to use the shared accommodation rate for some single people under 35. The rules will not apply if:
- someone else (for example, a partner, child, elderly relative, friend or grown-up child) lives with you as part of your household.
- you rent from a housing association
- you live in supported housing provided by a housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation and get a package of care or support from your landlord (or from somebody else on behalf of your landlord).
- your private tenancy began before January 1989.
- you are severely disabled and get the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance.
- you need an extra bedroom for a carer who does not live with you but who provides you with overnight care.
- you are aged under 22 and have been in the care of a local authority since the age of 16, or have been accommodated by a local authority since the age of 16.
- you have lived in a hostel for homeless people or a hostel that provides rehabilitation and resettlement within the community for at least three months. You must have received resettlement support to help you live in the community.
- you are an ex-offender and your housing has been arranged for you through Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) for managing the risk posed by sexual and violent offenders.
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.
Local housing allowance rates
The rates are set each year by the Valuation Office Agency. Your rate will only be updated every 12 months unless there are any changes.
Payments of local housing allowance
Local housing allowance will usually be paid directly to yourself by BACS (directly in to your bank account). Payments can only be made four weekly in arrears. Its up to you to make sure your rent is paid to your landlord.
You should be able to open an account either at a bank or building society to get your local housing allowance. If you are having difficulty opening an account please let us know as we may be able to help.
Some people may have difficulty getting the local housing allowance and paying their rent. Payments of local housing allowance 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 affairs
- we can also make payments directly to landlords where a tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears with rent
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.
What to do if your circumstances change?
You must tell us if:
- any of your children leave school or leave home
- anyone moves into or out of your home (even on a temporary basis)
- you or anyone living with you becomes a student or goes on a training scheme
- your income, or the income of anyone living with you, changes
- your capital or savings change
- your rent changes
- you move
- you or your partner or civil partner are going to be away from home for more than a month
- any other changes
It is an offence not to tell us about any change of circumstance that affects your benefit. We may take court action against you and if we pay you too much benefit you will probably have to pay it back. To report a change of circumstance please complete the Benefits Change of Circumstance form or if you have moved house use the Benefits change of address form.