Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum rent that your Housing Benefit can be based on if you rent your home from a private landlord.  

Does Local Housing Allowance (LHA) apply to all tenancies? 

LHA does not apply in the following circumstances:

  • You rent your home from a Registered social landlord e.g. Council or Housing Associations
  • you rent your home from a charity or voluntary body who also provide you with support, counselling or supervision
  • you have a Regulated tenancies which started prior to January 1989
  • you live in a caravans, houseboats, mobile homes or hostel
  • you have meals included in your rent  

This is NOT a full list of all the tenancy types that are exempt from the new Local Housing Allowance scheme.

How LHA is calculated

The council works out your maximum LHA rate as a starting point. This is based on:

  • where you live in the UK
  • whether you live in shared accommodation
  • 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.

Check your Local Housing Allowance rates here.

You can also check how many bedrooms you may be eligible for. This is based on the number of people in your household.


If you would like more information on local housing allowance, please e-mail benefits@scambs.gov.uk

What is a Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA)?

The BRMA is an area defined by the 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;
Cambridge, Huntingdon  and Stevenage and North Herts. 

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

Current Local Housing Allowance rates


LHA rate for 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019

 

CAMBRIDGE

HUNTINGDON

STEVENAGE + NORTH HERTS

Room rate

Cost per week / month

Cost per week / month

Cost per week / month

Shared room rate

£80.52 week /£349.88 month

£63.50 week/£275.92 month

£72.04 week/£313.03 month

1 bedroom rate

£129.83 week /£564.14 month

£108.04 week/£469.46 month

£129.81 week/£564.06 month

2 bedroom rate

£149.31 week/ £648.79 month

£129.78 week £563.93 month

£160.03 week/£695.37 month

3 bedroom rate

£173.50 week/£753.90 month

£154.91 week/£673.12 month

£197.81 week/£859.53 month

4 bedroom rate

£231.44 week/£1005.66 month

£198.11 week/£860.84 month

£253.34 week/£1,100.82 month

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

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 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 happens if my circumstances change during the year?

If you have a change of circumstances that affects the appropriate number of bedrooms you are allowed, then the LHA figure (Maximum Eligible Rent) can be changed.

The new LHA figure (Maximum Eligible Rent) will continue for the remainder of the financial year and will be reviewed at the following 1st April.

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 you tell my landlord I am claiming benefit?

The Council will not talk to your landlord about your claim unless you have given permission to do so.

However if you are 8 weeks or more in arrears with your rent, the landlord has the right to ask for direct payments of Housing Benefit.

In those circumstances the Council would confirm to the landlord the amount of Housing Benefit you are entitled to.

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

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