Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance replaced Housing Benefit for private tenants with effect from 7 April 2008. Local housing allowance is assessed on your income and your
housing need in accordance with the following criteria as set out by the Department For Work and Pensions:

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. For example


Household Bedrooms LHA
Family A couple with one child 2 2 room LHA
Family B - couple with 1 girl aged 6 and 1 boy aged 8 2 2 room LHA
Family C - couple with 1 girl aged 6 and 1 boy aged 12 3 3 room LHA


Care leavers aged under 22 and childless couples:
If you are a couple with no children, you will get the one room LHA 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. Care leavers aged under 22 will qualify for the one room rate regardless of what they rent until they reach the age of 22 where they will fall within the definition for aged under 35s.

Single people aged under35:
If you are single and aged under 35 you will get the shared room LHA irrespective of the size of property you rent.

Note: This does not apply to people aged under 25 who qualify for a Severe Disability Premium in their benefit assessment. Certain people under the age of 25 are not classed as a young individual therefore these would not be subject to the Shared rate LHA rules.

Joint tenants:
Joint tenants are people who are not a couple but share a property and are named on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants will get LHA for their own household not including the family of the other joint tenants.

Current LHA rates
The LHA rates for Teesside can be found on the following link.

http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/RentOfficers/LHARates/april2014lha.html

How much benefit will I get?

Every claim is based on an individual assessment so we cannot say what each person will get, however the maximum benefit you will be able to receive is the shared accommodation rate. The Shared accommodation rate can change every month and as we have to use the rate that applies when the change affects you we cannot accurately warn you in advance of the new rate.

What if I cant afford my rent after the change?

The above changes will have a significant impact on some customers with reductions in housing benefit, if you find yourself with a shortfall between your benefit and rent that you cannot afford we recommend the following options.

  • Ask your landlord if there can be any rent reduction, particularly if there is only a small shortfall. We can also ensure payments go straight to your landlord in this scenario if the change secures and retains your tenancy.
  • Seek alternative accommodation, this may be the best option if there is a very large shortfall between benefit and rent.
  • Speak to the Homelessness section at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, they can assess your needs and give you help and advice on finding alternative accommodation.
  • Apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment. Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council has a limited pot of money that it can use to assist people with exceptional circumstances and generally on a short term basis. This is awarded on a case by case basis and there is no guarantee of an award or the amount.
  • In all cases it is important that you act as soon as you realise that there may be a problem paying your rent.

Frequently Asked Questions About LHA

I need a property with more than four bedrooms. Will I only get benefit at the four bedroom rate?

The maximum Housing Benefit you get will be based on the four bedroom rate. You can still look for properties with more than four bedrooms, or other rooms that can be used as bedrooms, with rents that are within the four bedroom rate.

I am living in a self contained studio flat what rate applies to me?

The one bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate will apply to you.

If I am thinking of renting a property and claiming Housing Benefit, how much rent should I agree to pay?

the local housing allowance rates are available on the following link http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/RentOfficers/LHARates/april2014lha.html


My landlord wont reduce my rent and it is going to be difficult for me to move. Is there any other help?

Your local authority can help some people with a Discretionary Housing Payment to meet the gap between their benefit entitlement and the rent they pay. The amount of money available for these payments is limited so your authority will have to consider your circumstances carefully.

I think I will be due an increase in my Housing Benefit because I have a carer who stays overnight who should I tell?

Make sure that your local authority knows you have an overnight carer so that they can look at your Housing Benefit entitlement again. You must already have an extra bedroom in your home available for the carer to use before you get this help. If you are already getting Housing Benefit and meet the conditions for this extra help you will be entitled to it from the date the legislation becomes effective.

How Much LHA will I Get?

LHA is set each month by the Valuation Office Agency. The current rates for the Teesside area are available on the link below:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/RentOfficers/LHARates/april2014lha.html

How will I get LHA if I qualify?

Usually you will have your benefit paid directly to you, directly into your bank or building society account, if you have one, or by cheque.
If you do not already have a bank or building society account, we would advise you to set one up. Please see our leaflet How to open a bank account

The first payment of local housing allowance on a new claim can normally be made in the form of a cheque made payable to the landlord and sent to the tenants address.

The first payment is usually made this way because it can be for a higher amount than the usual two weekly payments so it makes sure the tenant does not fall into arrears. After the first payment, payments will normally be made direct to the tenant every two weeks in arrears.

Landlords will need to make arrangements with their tenant to collect the rent. Most people find that the best way is for the tenant to allow us to pay their local housing allowance direct into their bank or building society account. They can then set up a standing order or direct debit to pay their landlord every two weeks.

Bank Accounts

You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society and from welfare bodies such as Welfare Rights and Citizens Advice Bureau .

Safeguards:

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 could pay directly to a landlord.
  • we think that a tenant cannot handle their own affairs, we could pay directly to a landlord.
  • we can also make payment directly to landlords where a tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears with their rent.
Payments to landlords will be made 4 weekly in arrears. We are not able to pay landlords fortnightly.

Powers of attorney :
If someone else looks after your money for you or there is a power of attorney, payment can be made to the person who looks after your money or the person with the power of attorney.

 icon Safeguard Policy (Safeguard Policy V4.pdf - 495.8k)
Last modified: 04/05/2011 14:23:22


Where to get more information

If you want to know more about the changes and how they affect you:
Remember that this information is for guidance purposes only. It is possible that information will be subject to changes in local rates and government legislation. The Council will aim to keep this webpage updated as appropriate when changes occur.

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Last updated:
08/09/2014

Assigned review date:
20/09/2015

Page Section:
Resident
Housing & Property

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