Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a type of housing benefit. It is:
- for tenants on a low income, renting from a private landlord
- paid when you apply for housing benefit
- paid directly into your bank account (or to your landlord if you’re vulnerable/have difficulty managing bills)
Calculating local housing allowance
Your allowance is calculated using current local housing allowance rates at the time of your claim - it' reassessed after a year, or if your circumstances change.
The amount you're entitled to does not relate to your specific rent, it's calculated based on the number of bedrooms your household needs.
If the standard 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 amount of your weekly rent
Find out how housing benefit is worked out or contact our Benefits advisors for further information. Remember your housing benefit might be reduced because of your income or any other adults living in your household.
How local housing allowance is paid
Housing Benefit will generally be paid directly into your bank account.
- this is quicker and more secure than payment by cheque
- however, it does mean that you will need to have a bank account
- many banks operate basic bank accounts that also allow you to pay your rent by Standing Order
There will be safeguards in place, so that payment can be made direct to your landlord, for example, if you are identified as ‘vulnerable’ (that is you are likely to have difficulty managing your own affairs).
'Old style' housing benefit
If you lived in your property before LHA was introduced (7 April 2008) and have continuously received housing benefits you'll usually be paid 'old style' housing benefit, rather than LHA - the rules are complicated, contact our benefits section for advice on your entitlement.
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 the old-style Housing Benefit to help you with your rent in these circumstances.