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Occupiers exempted from LHA scheme

This content applies to England

This section gives information on which occupiers are exempt from the local housing allowance scheme.

The LHA scheme applies to most occupiers who rent privately, provided they meet the income and savings criteria, and can prove that they are required to pay rent for a valid tenancy. However, there are some exceptions.

Exempt from LHA scheme

LHA schemes do not apply to:[1]

  • private tenants who live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • people living in specified hostels (see below)
  • regulated (protected) tenancies, who are excluded from current rent restrictions
  • private tenancies where a significant portion of the rent payable covers meals and services (ie board and attendance)
  • private tenants who have received housing benefit (HB) continuously at the same address since before 7 April 2008.

These occupiers, like tenants of local authorities and privately registered providers of social housing, will still be referred to the rent officer.

Hostels

A hostel is defined in regulations as a building which:[2]

  • provides accommodation that is not self-contained, and either board or facilities that are adequate for the needs of the residents for preparing food, and
  • is managed or owned by a registered housing association, or is managed by a voluntary organisation or charity and provides care and support to the residents to help them resettle in the community.

Living in accommodation that is described as a hostel does not necessarily attract exemption from the LHA scheme. In one case it was held that a hostel resident's rent was not exempt from the scheme, as none of his rent related to the provision of food or food preparation facilities.[3]

[1] reg 13C Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213, as inserted by Housing Benefit (Local Housing Allowance and Information Sharing) Amendment Regulations 2007 SI 2007/2868.

[2] reg 2(1) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.

[3] R (on the application of Sobko) v RB Kensington and Chelsea [2015] EWHC 580 (Admin).

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