Local housing allowance

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a new way of calculating housing benefit which is based on the area that you live, number of occupiers in the property and household size.

Who does local housing allowance apply to?

  • Private tenants making a new claim
  • Existing benefit claimants who change address to a private tenancy
  • Claimants in private rented accommodation who have a break in their existing claim for benefit

LHA does not apply to you if:

  • You are a council or a housing association tenant
  • You have a tenancy that started before 1989
  • You live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat

But you can still get housing benefit to help with your rent.

If you are in board and lodging or charity supported accommodation you may not get LHA.

How much LHA can I get?

LHA does not depend on how much rent you pay. The LHA rates may be different for each area. These rates are set by the Rent Service, based on local rents. The Wycombe district is divided into three areas by the Rent Service: Chiltern, Aylesbury and Reading.

Current local housing allowance rates
Accommodation Chilterns BRMA Aylesbury BRMA Reading BRMA 
 1 bedroom shared accommodation  £73.64  £72.76  £78.78
 1 bedroom self-contained  £145.43  £123.58  £153.02
 2 bedrooms  £182.45  £153.02  £188.33
 3 bedrooms  £236.34  £198.43  £221.79
 4 bedrooms  £344.05  £291.34  £315.12

Most tenants will get the LHA based on the number of rooms their household needs not the number of rooms in the property they rent or the rent that they are charged.

The LHA awarded when you make a claim lasts for one year unless your circumstances change.

How many rooms am I allowed?

You are allowed one bedroom for

  • each adult couple
  • any other adult (aged 16 or over)
  • any two children under 10
  • any two children of the same sex aged 10 or over
  • or for any other child

How will Local Housing Allowance be paid?

In most cases we will pay LHA directly to you and not your landlord. If you have a bank account you can arrange for your bank to pay your rent direct to your landlord.

Single people aged 25 to 34 who rent from a private landlord. may only be entitled to the lower rate of housing benefit for a room in shared accommodation if all of the following apply:

  • you are a single person
  • you are occupying one-bedroom self-contained accommodation in the private rented sector
  • your housing benefit is due to be reviewed from January 2012 onwards
  • at the date of the review you will be aged 25 or over but under 35 years, and
  • you are not covered by any of the exemptions on sharing accommodation

Instead of receiving benefit on the one-bedroom self-contained rate you will move onto the shared accommodation rate which may be much lower than the one-bedroom self-contained rate.

If this causes you hardship, there is help available from the Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) fund. DHP application forms are available on request.

Safeguards

Where a claimant is unable to manage their own affairs, payment of LHA can be made direct to the landlord.

Contact information

  • Telephone: 01494 412 227