Local housing allowance (LHA) is the way of working out housing benefit for people who live in privately rented accommodation.
LHA is a flat rate allowance based on the size of the household, not the size of the property, and the area in which a person lives.
Each local authority is divided into Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA). The council has 3 Broad Market Rental Areas. The Rent Service sets individual local housing allowance rates for up to a maximum of 4 rooms in each of the BRMA areas.
If a customer finds a property that they like with a rent that exceeds their LHA they will need to make up the difference themselves. But if a customer finds somewhere with a rent below their allowance, we will only pay LHA up to the amount of rent they have to pay.
DocumentBroad rental market areas map
Payments are normally paid to the customer rather than the landlord. Safeguards are put in place to protect the vulnerable.
We will consider whether:
- the customer has difficulty managing their affairs
- it is improbable that the customer would pay their rent
If a customer and their representative feel they are vulnerable, benefit may be paid to the landlord. An application for payment of LHA to your landlord form will need to be filled in and supporting proof provided.
Benefit can still be paid to the landlord if a tenant falls into arrears of 8 weeks or more. Written proof of arrears will be required. Landlords should make sure they keep detailed records of the rent account.
In certain circumstances we may be able to make payments directly to a landlord if the council considers it will assist the customer to secure a new tenancy or retain an existing tenancy. For a tenancy to be secured or retained, the rent should be affordable to the tenant whilst in receipt of housing benefit, that is, at the new level of the LHA rate that applies to the tenant.
You can find out the rate of LHA on GOV.UK.
Search for Local Housing Allowance rates
The actual amount of LHA will depend on the following factors:
- the number of people who occupy your household
- the Broad Market Rental Area that you reside in
- the amount of income, capital and non-dependants you have
One bedroom is allowed for:
- every adult couple or single adult
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any 2 children of the same sex under 16
- any 2 children who are younger than 10
- any other child - a 'child' is someone under 16
The shared room rate applies where the claimant is either:
- single, less than 35 years old and not receiving the severe disability premium
- a member of a couple with no dependant children and not renting accommodation with at least 1 bedroom with exclusive use of a bathroom, toilet and kitchen
- has exclusive use of 2 or more rooms and not receiving the severe disability premium
There is no right of appeal or redetermination about the levels of local housing allowance, or Broad Market Rental Areas.
There are still appeal rights against to who payments are made.