Local housing allowance (LHA) if you're under 35

If you rent privately, local housing allowance (LHA) is used to work out both:

  • housing benefit

  • universal credit housing element

LHA is not a separate benefit. It affects how much help you get with rent.

The government has frozen LHA rates despite rising rents and living costs.

Find out how to deal with a rent increase if you get benefits.

Local housing allowance (LHA) rates

Your LHA rate is the maximum amount you can get to help with rent.

There are different LHA rates. Your LHA rate depends on:

  • your age

  • who you live with

  • rent levels in your area

  • other things like a care history or disability

Your LHA rate affects the size and type of property you can afford.

Most single renters under 35 can only get the shared accommodation rate

The shared accommodation rate is lower than other LHA rates.

This can make it harder to rent a whole property. You probably have to look for a room in a shared house or a bedsit for somewhere you can afford.

Single pregnant women

You can usually only get the shared accommodation rate until your baby is born unless you already have children.

Some councils give discretionary housing payments to top up your LHA until the birth. This could help if you cannot live in shared housing while you're pregnant.

Some single renters under 35 can get a higher LHA rate.

Who gets the 1 bed LHA rate?

You could get the 1 bed self contained LHA rate if:

  • you live with your partner

  • you're a care leaver under 25

  • you have lived in a hostel or refuge for at least 3 months

  • you get disability benefits but do not need overnight care

  • you're a former prisoner covered by MAPPA aged 25-34

The 1 bed self contained LHA rate is used to work out your benefit even if you live in shared housing. You still cannot get more than your actual rent.

You get a different LHA rate if children live with you.

You live with your partner

The rate depends which benefit you get.

Universal credit - you qualify for the 1 bed self contained rate even if you rent a room in a shared house.

Housing benefit - you qualify for the:

  • shared accommodation rate if you live in a shared house

  • 1 bed self contained rate if you don't share with other people

You're a care leaver under 25

You count as a care leaver if you have a social services pathway plan because you were in care when you were 16 or 17.

Care leavers can qualify for the 1 bed self contained rate until you're 25.

Before 31 May 2021 you could only get this rate until the age of 21.

Ask the DWP or the council to look at your benefit again if this change affects you.

Your social services adviser can confirm your care history.

You have lived in a hostel or refuge for at least 3 months

You can get the 1 bed self contained rate if you have lived in a hostel or refuge for at least 3 months since you were 16.

This does not have to be recent. The 3 months do not have to be continuous.

You could have stayed in different hostels or refuges that add up to at least 3 months in total.

The hostels or refuges must have provided:

  • meals or shared kitchen facilities

  • support or resettlement services

Keep your agreement if you move out of a hostel or refuge so you can prove it in the future.

You may need to ask them to confirm your stay if you do not have proof.

If you were given a room in a hotel or B&B because you were homeless during the pandemic, this could count if you had the same type of support as you would in a hostel.

You get disability benefits but do not need overnight care

With universal credit, you can get the 1 bed self contained rate if you also get:

  • PIP – daily living component

  • DLA – middle or high rate care

  • armed forces independence payment

With housing benefit, you can get the 1 bed self contained rate unless someone else gets benefits because they are your full time carer. Then you get the shared accommodation rate.

You're a former prisoner covered by MAPPA

You get the 1 bed self contained rate if you:

  • are aged 25-34

  • have to live in certain types of housing under multi agency public protection arrangements (MAPPA) - Level 2 or 3

Who gets a higher LHA rate?

You can get a higher LHA rate if you:

  • need overnight care

  • live with children or other household members

You need overnight care

You can get a higher rate if a carer stays regularly to provide overnight care and you get:

  • PIP – daily living component

  • DLA – middle or high rate care

Your carer could be a friend or family member, or part of a team of paid carers who stay overnight. There must be a bedroom for your carer when they stay.

You live with children or other household members

You get a higher LHA rate if you live with:

  • children under 18 including foster children

  • adult children or other adult household members

Your LHA rate depends on the number of bedrooms you can claim for.

If you're a foster carer without a placement, you can still get a higher rate if a foster child has stayed in the last year.

What to do if your benefits do not cover the rent

Your LHA rate is the maximum amount you can get to help with rent.

You may not get the full rate. For example, if you're working or have deductions.

Even if you get your full LHA rate, it is often lower than the rent you have to pay.

If you're struggling, you can:

  1. Apply for discretionary housing payments from the council

  2. Get benefits advice if you think you're on the wrong LHA rate

  3. Find out how to deal with rent arrears


Last updated: 30 March 2022

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