Local housing allowance
Local housing allowance is the way of working out housing benefit for private tenants.
Local housing allowance (LHA) was introduced nationally on 7 April 2008 through the Welfare Reform Act 2007.
Anyone who rents their home, from this date, from a private landlord, makes a new application and is entitled to Housing Benefit is paid under the LHA scheme rules.
Who is not affected by LHA?
LHA does not affect the following:
- local authority landlords who let to 'council tenants'
- tenancies with registered social landlords
- some supported housing
- tenancies which started before 15 January 1989 (2 January 1989 in Scotland)
- tenancies in caravans, houseboats or hostels
- tenancies where the Rent Officer has decided that a substantial part of the rent is for board and attendance
Payments of LHA
Most people are paid their LHA direct into their bank or building society account by BACS. They can then set up a standing order or direct debit to pay their landlord.
You should be able to open an account either at a bank or building society to get your LHA. For further information on bank accounts please refer to the money made clear website
If you have difficulty opening an account, please let us know as we may be able to help or alternatively contact the Hillingdon Citizens Advice Bureau »
When will my LHA change?
We will review your LHA rate at the beginning of April each year.
Your maximum housing benefit will be the LHA rate that applies for the year. This may mean your benefit increases, decreases or stays the same. This will depend on the LHA rates The Rent Service give us at that time.
This review of your claim will happen automatically, there is no need for you to ask for it. We will write to you to let you know what your housing benefit will be following the review.
How many rooms are allowed for each household?
Information on how many persons can occupy a bedroom.
One bedroom is allowed for the following:
- each adult couple
- any other adult (aged 16 or over)
- any two children under 10
- any two children of the same sex aged 10 to 15
- or for any other child.
Change in circumstances
A new LHA applies from the Monday of the week of the change.
- if the tenant moves
- if a child reaches age 10 or 16
- if a household member arrives or departs
- if the relationship between existing household members changes
- if a member of the household dies
How much LHA can tenants get?
The LHA awarded when the claim is made lasts until the beginning of the following April unless the household circumstances change before then.
From April 2012, the LHA is set for a year, changing every April [20kb]. The Rent Service will give allowance rates for households up to a maximum of four bedrooms for each area (known as Broad rental Market Areas).
Tenants receive the LHA based on the number of rooms their household needs, not the number of rooms in the property they rent (although this may be the same) or the rent that they are charged. If the LHA is more than the rent then the tenant's housing benefit is assessed using the actual rent.