Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is designed to be a fair and simple way of calculating Housing Benefit for people on a low income.
The Local Housing Allowance amount is set when you make a claim and lasts for one year unless your household circumstances change. After a year the amount is reviewed.Apply for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support
Who is affected by LHA?
The following are affected by Local Housing Allowance:
- Private Tenants making a new claim for Housing Benefit
- Claimants in privately rented accommodation who have a break in their existing claim
- Existing claimants who change address to a private tenancy
The following are not affected by Local Housing Allowance:
- Tenants of a Housing Association
- Tenants of the local authority
- Tenants whose rent has been registered as a "fair rent"
- Tenants whose tenancy started before 1989
- Tenants whose tenancy includes the provision of care, support or supervision and is provided by local authorities, social landlords, charities or voluntary organisations
- Tenants whose accommodation is a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
- Tenants whose rent includes a substantial amount for board and attendance (e.g. private hostel accommodation). Local Housing Allowance may not apply in these cases, the Rent Officer will make a decision on this
How is LHA worked out
Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs and the area you live in.
Number of Bedrooms
The Local Housing Allowance is a flat rate housing allowance, the number of people who live with you is used to decide how many bedrooms you need.
One bedroom is allowed for:
- every adult couple
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children regardless of sex aged under age 10
- any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- any other child
The number of any additional rooms is ignored for the purpose of this calculation.
The area you live in
The Valuation Office Agency has divided the country into broad rental market areas (BRMAs), in North Norfolk there are 3 Broad Rental Market Areas. To locate which area you are in you will need to know the postcode of the property.
The Local Housing Allowance rate will be based on the same amount wherever you live within your broad rental market area, this means that people with the same circumstances will be entitled to the same rate of LHA. It is intended that tenants will then have the choice to trade between the quality and the price of their accommodation.
If the actual rent you are charged is less than the Local Housing Allowance figure for the type of property you need, your maximum benefit award will not exceed your rental charge. However, if your actual rent charge is greater than the Local Housing Allowance figure, you will have to pay the difference.
LHA for single people under 35 years
If you are a single person aged under 35 years and you do not have a non-dependant living with you, you will be entitled to the standard rate of LHA for a room in shared accommodation.
However, this will be based on a more generous definition than the original Single Room Rent, which limits Housing Benefit entitlement to the rate for a room in shared accommodation.
The new rate will be based on properties where the tenant has the exclusive use of only one bedroom and the tenancy provides for the tenant to share the use of one or more of the following:
- Room suitable for living in
A severely disabled person under 35 years and a care leaver under 22 years will be entitled to the Local Housing Allowance rate for a one bedroom self-contained property, provided they rent a property of at least that size. For those who qualify for a severe disability premium, they will qualify for the one room rate regardless of the size of their accommodation.
More information regarding these rules and the changes, which came into effect from 1 January 2012 can be found in our leaflet changes for people aged under 35.
How much LHA will I get?
There are no changes to the Housing Benefit entitlement rules; this is still based on a person's financial circumstances and proof of a valid tenancy agreement.
Local Housing Allowance is the maximum benefit you can receive towards your rent. The amount you will receive still depends on the money you have coming in each week, what savings you have and who else lives with you.
How is LHA paid?
In most cases payment of Local Housing Allowance will be paid directly to you and it will be your responsibility to pay the full rent to the landlord.
There are some cases where we may be able to consider making payments directly to your landlord if you are vulnerable or if it will help you secure and retain a tenancy. If you think this applies to you or if you are a landlord and you think this applies to your tenant you can ask us to consider this using the following forms:
- Tenant vulnerability form (to be filled in by the tenant)
- Landlord vulnerability form (to be filled in by the landlord)
Local Housing Allowance will be paid directly into your bank account. If you do not currently have one you will be need to open a basic bank account.
Please note that payment of Local Housing Allowance cannot be made into a Post Office account.