Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a way of working out how much Housing Benefit you can get to help pay the rent; it's:
- for tenants on a low income, renting from a private landlord
- paid directly into your bank account (or to your landlord if you have difficulty managing bills)
Calculating Local Housing Allowance
We calculate your allowance using current Local Housing Allowance rates at the time of your claim. We reassess this after a year, or if your circumstances change.
The amount you're entitled to is not related to the amount of rent you pay; we base our calculation on the number of bedrooms your household needs.
If the standard Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate is:
- less than your rent - you will have to pay the difference (however, you may be able to request a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) if you need extra help paying your rent)
- more than your rent - you will only get the actual amount of your weekly rent
How we pay Local Housing Allowance
We generally pay Housing Benefit directly into your bank account because:
- it's quicker and more secure than payment by cheque
- many banks allow you to pay your rent by standing order
You will therefore need to have a bank account in place; if you don't already have one, see Citizens Advice guidelines about getting a bank account.
If you are likely to have difficulty managing your bills, we can put certain safeguards in place; for example, we can arrange to make payments directly to your landlord so that you don't have to do this.
'Old style' Housing Benefit
If you lived in your property before Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was introduced (7 April 2008) and have continuously received Housing Benefit, you'll usually be paid 'old style' Housing Benefit, rather than LHA.
You will not get LHA if:
- your tenancy started before 1989
- you live in a caravan, mobile home or house boat
However, you may still get 'old-style' Housing Benefit to help with your rent in these circumstances.