Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much housing benefit you get if you rent from a private landlord.
It does not apply if you live in a property that you:
- Rent from the Council
- Rent from a Registered Social landlord
- Rent from a charity or voluntary organisation who provide you with support, counselling or supervision
- Live in a caravan, houseboat or hostel
- Have meals included in your rent
How LHA is calculated?
Your maximum LHA rate is based on:
- where you live
- the number of bedrooms you are entitled to under the rules
Rates are set for each Broad Market Rental Area for shared-accommodation (also referred to as single room rate) up to and including a 4 bedroom rate.
How many rooms will I be entitled to claim for?
This will depend on the number of people who live with you.
The regulations allow for one bedroom for each of the following:
- Every adult couple
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex up to and including age 15
- any two children regardless of sex under age 10
- any other child
- parents of armed forces personnel who continue to live at home but who are deployed
- an additional room will be allowed for foster children
The following are not included as part of the family/household unit when calculating the appropriate numbers of bedrooms needed:
- Foster children (however one additional room will be allowed for a foster child or children living with an approved foster carer)
- Dependent children who do not live with the parent/guardian for the majority of the time
- Joint Tenant(s) whom are not tenants in common.
You will usually only get the LHA shared accommodation rate if you:
- are a single person under the age of 35 without children - there are exceptions to this
- live in shared accommodation
Payment of Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
LHA is usually paid directly to the tenant.
We will make your payments direct to your landlord if:
- you have rent arrears of eight weeks or more
- deductions are being made from other benefits for rent arrears
In some cases, we can choose to pay your benefit to your landlord if this would be in your best interests. For example, you:
- have a history of not paying the rent
- struggle to pay the rent because of a medical condition or learning disability
- could lose your tenancy if they don't
What happens if my landlord increases my rent?
If your rent is below the LHA rate we will be able to increase the maximum rent up to the LHA rate or the amount of your new rent, depending on which one is lower.
What happens if someone moves in or moves out of the property?
You must notify the Housing Benefit office immediately.
This may change the number of bedrooms used to determine the Maximum Eligible Rent for your claim under the LHA scheme.
What is a Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)?
The BRMA is an area defined by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and is an area of residential accommodation within which a person could move and still have access to similar services of a similar standard.
South Cambridgeshire District Council has three BRMA's;
- Stevenage and North Hertfordshire.
What will happen if I move home?
If you move home then you may have to complete a new Housing Benefit claim form.
The new LHA figure (Maximum Eligible Rent) will depend on the area you move to and the number of Bedrooms you are allowed.
The appropriate LHA figure (Maximum Eligible Rent) will normally be applied from the date your claim form is received by the Council, or the date of the actual change.
Will I be allowed additional rooms in determining the LHA figure if a member of the household is disabled?
An additional bedroom may be allowed in the following circumstances:
- If you or your partner have a non-resident carer who regularly stays overnight
- you or your partner have a disability which means you’re unable to share a bedroom
- you have 2 or more children and due to disability one of your children cannot share a bedroom