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Local Housing Allowance

If you are privately renting a property or room from a private landlord and you are on a low income, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit based on Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

The amount of LHA you can get usually depends on how many bedrooms you need and the maximum rent allowed for properties in your area. The local limits are based on the cheapest 30 per cent of properties in an area.

LHA does not apply to:

  • private tenants who have claimed continuously from before 7 April 2008
  • private tenants with tenancies from before 15 January 1989
  • people living in hostels or bed and breakfast accommodation
  • people living in mobile homes or on houseboats

LHA does not apply to council and housing association tenants. These tenants are subject to the rules in respect of the Social Sector Size Criteria.

Local Housing Allowance can cover your rent and some service charges if you have to pay them to continue living in the property. LHA cannot be used to pay for charges for heating, hot water, lighting, laundry or cooking. Your claim may be reassessed if your circumstances change – you must tell us if this happens.

When you make a claim for LHA, you will be assessed as needing a bedroom for each of the following people in your household:

  • an adult couple
  • another person aged 16 or over
  • any two children of the same sex up to the age of 16
  • any two children regardless of sex under the age of 10
  • any other child

Foster children are included in this calculation.

If you claim LHA, the maximum amount you can get is limited to the top rate in your area for a four bedroom property. Larger homes will only receive the maximum four-bedroom rate, meaning your allowance may not cover all of the rent.

Anyone under 35 or in shared accommodation can only claim the allowance at the shared accommodation rate. This is lower than the rate for a one-bedroom property. It applies even if you can’t find shared accommodation in your area and are renting a property on your own.

Current rates to March 2020

  • Shared Accommodation Rate: £63.22 per week (Also applies to single claimants under 35)
  • One Bedroom Rate: £86.30 per week
  • Two Bedroom Rate: £109.32 per week
  • Three Bedroom Rate: £130.38 per week
  • Four Bedroom Rate: £163.16 per week
Last updated 2 April 2019
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