Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance is the way of working out claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord.

Local Housing Allowance was introduced on 7 April, 2008. It is based on:

  • The area your tenant lives in
  • Who lives with your tenant
  • What money your tenant has coming in
  • What savings your tenant has

It is not based on how much rent you charge.  The change will only affect your tenant if you are a Private Landlord and:

They rent your property and your tenant makes a new claim for Housing Benefit with a date of claim after 7 April 2008 OR:

You have an existing tenant that rents your property where they are already claiming Housing Benefit and they have a break in your Housing Benefit entitlement after 7 April 2008 OR:

Your tenant changes their address so that they begin renting your property or move into another one of your properties (this includes a change of rooms) and they make a new claim for Housing Benefit with a date of claim after 7 April 2008.

How much is the Local Housing Allowance?

The maximum amount of LHA depends on:

  • Who lives with your tenant
  • What area you property is in and the rate of LHA set by the Rent Service for the number of bedrooms your tenant requires
  • What money your tenant has coming in
  • What savings your tenant has

The LHA rates are set by The Rent Service each month.

Why is the number of bedrooms in my property important?

LHA is based on the number of bedrooms your tenant needs, not on how much rent you charge. The number of rooms allowed depends on who lives with your tenant. One bedroom is required for each of the following:

  • A couple
  • A single person over 16
  • Two children of the same sex under 16
  • Two children under 10 regardless of gender

How will Local Housing Allowance be paid?

LHA is usually paid direct to your tenant. Your tenant cannot decide to have their LHA paid to you. It will then be up to you to collect your rent. We can consider paying LHA to you in exceptional circumstances. This is called a safeguard.

The Local Housing Allowance rules do not apply to:

  • Local Authority tenants
  • Tenants of registered social landlords (housing associations) however, with effect from 1 April 2013, the award will be calculated on the minimum number of rooms requiredTenants who have a registered or fair rent
  • Tenancies which commenced before January 1989
  • Protected cases such as supported housing provided by social landlords, charities or voluntary organisations
  • Tenancies in caravans, house boats or hostels
  • Claimants with a continuous claim from before 7 April 2008 (until there is a break in their claim)
  • They also may not apply if the rent includes an amount for meals.