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Local housing allowance (LHA)

There has been a big change to the way we work out housing benefit for those in a private tenancy. For those making a claim on or after 7 April 2008, help towards rent will be calculated using Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates.

What is Local Housing Allowance?

Local Housing Allowance is Housing Benefit for people on benefits or low incomes who rent from private landlords. LHA is based on the number of rooms people are allowed, not how much the rent is. The number of rooms allowed depends on who lives with the claimant.

Please see our leaflets in the related documents section for more detailed information.

How much is LHA?

The maximum amount of LHA we can pay will depend on:

  • the number of bedrooms you are allowed
  • the rate set for this number of bedrooms by the rent service.

The allowances that is set by the rent service each month will be the maximum amounts - the actual amount of entitlement will depend on income, savings and the claimants circumstances. The claim will be based on the LHA rate for the month the claim is made and will be reviewed every year.

From April 2009 the maximum bedroom rate allowed is five bedrooms, even if your household would require more than this.

Find out more about Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Rates.

Payment of LHA

Payment of LHA is different to Housing Benefit. This is because the payment will be made to the claimant in almost all cases. Payment cannot normally be made to the landlord, except in a very small number of cases.

Who will not be affected by Local Housing Allowance?

The new rules will not apply to:

  • local authority tenants
  • tenants of registered social landlords (housing associations)
  • tenants who have a registered or 'fair' rent
  • tenancies which commenced before January 1989
  • protected cases such as supported housing provided by social landlords, charities or voluntary organisations
  • tenancies in caravans, houseboats or hostels
  • claimants with a continuous claim from before 7 April 2008.

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