Local Housing Allowance (LHA) applies to most tenants who rent their home from a private landlord.
The Local Housing Allowance is the maximum amount that we can pay in housing benefit for different types of properties up to maximum of four bedrooms, in your area. This amount is set every year on 1 April.
What is my LHA?
There are different LHA rates for:
- shared accommodation (this applies to most single people under 35)
- one bedroom property
- two bedroom property
- three bedroom property
- four bedroom property
Current LHA rates
|Area||shared accommodation||one bedroom||two bedroom||three bedroom||four bedroom|
And excludes those below
The allowance that applies to you depends on the number of bedrooms the government states you need, not the number of bedrooms you have. Generally one bedroom is allowed (to a maximum of four) for:
- every adult couple
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex under 16
- any two children (regardless of sex) under 10
- any other child
- you or your partner are disabled and need overnight care. You must have an extra bedroom that a carer uses to sleep in overnight.
If we get a benefit claim for more than four bedrooms, we are limited to using the four bedroom rate.
Single tenants and couples without children
Most single tenants aged under 35 and living alone are only entitled to the shared accommodation rate. This rate also applies to single people over 35 and couples with no other occupiers who choose to live in shared accommodation.
The shared accommodation rate is based on market rents for non self-contained accommodation, which means facilities like the living room, kitchen or bathroom are shared.
The rules for single tenants aged under 35, and living alone, do not apply to people:
- in certain supported accommodation
- entitled to the severe disability premium in their housing benefit assessment
- under the age of 22 who were formerly in social services care
- entitled to an extra bedroom to allow for a non-resident carer to sleep over where overnight care is required
- who have spent three months or more in a homeless hostel, or more than one hostel, specialising in rehabilitating and resettling this group within the community
How does Local Housing Allowance affect housing benefit?
If your LHA rate is less than the rent you have to pay, your housing benefit will be based on the LHA rate. If the rate is more than the rent you have to pay, your housing benefit will be based on your rent charge.
Your income, savings and other factors are still taken into account.
If your landlord puts your rent up, it will only affect your housing benefit if the old rent was less than the Local Housing Allowance rate you are entitled to.
Properties unaffected by LHA
Local Housing Allowance does not apply to the following private tenancies:
- registered social landlords, such as housing associations
- supported housing provided by a housing association or a registered charity or voluntary organisation
- rooms in a hostel
- where rent for the accommodation includes a substantial amount for board and attendance
Our Safeguard Policy
Under Local Housing Allowance rules, we will normally pay Housing Benefit to the tenant. However, because of the risk that some tenants may struggle with the responsibility of budgeting for, and paying their rent, we have developed a Safeguard Policy setting out when we will pay a tenant's Housing Benefit to their Landlord.
A copy of the Safeguard Policy is available in the downloads and resources area of this page.
Payment to Landlord Request Forms
Please refer to the information given under 'Our Safeguard Policy' heading above.
If you want Housing Benefit to be paid to the landlord, in line with the Safeguard Policy, please use the following form:
Basic Bank Accounts
Local Housing Allowance means Housing Benefit will usually be paid to the tenant. It is much safer and quicker to have Housing Benefit paid into a bank account. If you are a tenant and you do not have a bank account, the leaflet attached to this page gives you details about basic bank accounts and how to open one.
Have Housing Benefit paid into your bank account
If you want your Housing Benefit paid into your bank account, please download and print off one of the BACS forms attached to this page. (Direct payments to bank accounts are known as BACS payments). There are separate BACS forms for tenants and landlords. Complete the form and return it to the address at the bottom of this page as soon as possible.
Debt Advice / Money Management
If you are struggling to live on the money you have or you are experiencing problems with debts, the fact sheet 'Money Advice' attached to this page contains useful information about managing your money.
For further information, please contact us:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- tel: 01302 735336
- address: Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support Section, Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster, DN1 3BU
- BACSrequest Tenant
- Download (80KB - PDF)
- Local Housing Allowance rates_April19 to March20
- Download (35KB - PDF)
- Local Housing Allowance rates April18 to March19
- Download (34KB - PDF)
- Local Housing Allowance Safeguard Policy
- Download (38KB - PDF)
- Download (186KB - PDF)