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 isn't 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'll 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'll only get the actual amount of your weekly rent
Note: We may reduce your Housing Benefit based on:
- your level of income, or
- if there's any other adults (or non-dependants) living in your household
How we pay Local Housing Allowance
We generally pay Housing Benefit directly into your bank account because:
- it's quicker and more secure than cheque payment
- many banks allow you to pay rent by standing order
You'll therefore need to have a bank account in place - see Citizens Advice guidelines about getting a bank account if you don't already have one.
We can put certain safeguards in place if you're likely to have difficulty managing your bills - for example, we can make payments directly to your landlord so you don't have to do this.
'Old style' Housing Benefit
You'll usually receive 'old style' Housing Benefit, rather than LHA if you've:
- lived in your property before LHA was introduced (7 April 2008), and
- continuously received Housing Benefit
You won't 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.