Local housing allowance (LHA) is used to work out how much housing benefit you can get if you rent your home from a private landlord.
Local housing allowance
Local housing allowance is a way of working out how much housing benefit you can get to help pay the rent if you have a private landlord.
If you rent from a council or housing association or have a part-rent part-buy shared ownership home, different rules are used to calculate your housing benefit.
LHA has many of the same rules as housing benefit, but there are some extra rules that limit the amount of help you can get for a private rented home.
LHA is usually paid direct to you rather than to your landlord.
Who can claim LHA
You can claim local housing allowance if you are a private tenant who needs help with paying the rent. You may be entitled to this housing benefit if you are working or if you claim benefits.
You can't get LHA if you have savings of £16,000 or more unless you are getting pension credit (guarantee credit part).
Your claim may be reassessed if your circumstances change.
What LHA pays for
LHA helps with rent and some service charges.
How LHA is calculated
The amount of LHA you can get depends on your income and savings and if any non-dependants live with you, for example adult children.
The amount of LHA you receive also depends on the maximum rent allowed for properties in your area and the number of rooms the council decides you need.
The benefit cap can affect your total benefit entitlement.
You can rent a home of any size or price, but your housing benefit claim is limited. You have to make up any rent shortfall.
Maximum LHA amounts
There are limits on the amount of LHA you can get. The maximum weekly LHA rate limits are:
- £260.64 for a room in shared accommodation
- £260.64 for 1 bedroom accommodation
- £302.33 for 2 bedroom accommodation
- £354.46 for 3 bedroom accommodation
- £417.02 for 4 bedroom accommodation
The amount of LHA you are eligible for depends on where you live and the maximum you can get is lower in many areas.
You can't get more than the LHA rate for 4 bedrooms, even if you live in a larger home.
Rooms allowed when calculating LHA
You are assessed as needing a bedroom for the following people in your home:
- 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
An extra bedroom can be allowed if you:
- have a foster child or children
- have a severely disabled child who needs their own room
- or your partner are disabled and a carer provides regular overnight care
- have a child who is away on duty with the armed forces and intends to return home
If you're aged under 35
You are usually only entitled to LHA at the reduced shared accommodation rate if you are a single person under the age of 35 without children or you live in shared accommodation.
Find out more about housing benefit if you're under 35.
How often housing benefit is paid
Payment of housing benefit is usually made every two or four weeks, or monthly.
Housing benefit is not paid in advance. Each payment covers a past period.
Private landlords usually expect rent to be paid in advance, so you need to budget for this.
When LHA can be paid direct to landlords
Your council must make your LHA 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, the council can choose to pay your LHA direct to your landlord. They could do this if for example you:
- have a history of not paying the rent
- have problems paying the rent because of a medical condition or learning disability
- could lose your tenancy if they don't