Local housing allowance (LHA) for private renters

Local housing allowance (LHA) rates are used to work out how much universal credit or housing benefit you get if you rent from a private landlord.  

Increase in local housing allowance rates

Local housing allowance rates increased on 1 April 2020 after a 5 year freeze.

This means you should get more money towards your rent if you get either:

  • universal credit housing element
  • housing benefit

How to check your local housing allowance rate

You can check your LHA rate on GOV.UK if you know:

  • your postcode or council area
  • how many bedrooms you can claim for

The GOV.UK tool gives you the weekly LHA rate. You can convert this to a calendar monthly figure if you multiply it by 52 and divide the result by 12.

How many bedrooms you can claim for

There are 5 local housing allowance (LHA) rates:

  • shared accommodation rate
  • 1 bed rate
  • 2 bed rate
  • 3 bed rate
  • 4 bed rate

Your LHA rate is based on the number of bedrooms you can claim for under the rules.

Shared accommodation rate

You usually only get the shared accommodation rate if:

  • you're a single person under 35
  • children don't live with you

This applies even if you don't share your home with others but there are exceptions.

If you're a single person aged 35 or over, living in a shared house without dependent children you qualify for the:

  • 1 bed rate if you get universal credit
  • shared accommodation rate if you get housing benefit

Will local housing allowance cover your rent? 

Local housing allowance won't always cover your full rent.

The LHA rate that applies to your household is a starting figure for calculating the help you get with rent. 

Your full rent could be covered if it's the same or less than your LHA rate. 

But even then you won't usually get the full amount in the following situations:

  • you're working
  • the benefit cap applies
  • other adults live with you and are expected to contribute

If you're working

Your benefit usually goes down if you're working because your overall income increases. You'll have to pay more of your rent from your wages.

Universal credit claimants can earn £287 a month before your benefit is reduced if either:

  • you have dependent children
  • you're not expected to seek work because of disability or ill health

In most other cases, for every £1 of income you earn above the benefit you'd get if you weren't working, you usually lose:

  • 63p of universal credit
  • 65p of housing benefit

If you're affected by the benefit cap

The benefit cap is an overall limit on the amount of benefits that many working age people can get.

If it applies to you, your housing benefit or universal credit is reduced so the money you get from benefits doesn't go above the cap level.

Deductions for adults who live with you

Deductions are made for some adults who live in your home and are expected to contribute to the rent. 

The amount taken from your benefit is different depending on whether you claim:

If your benefit won't cover your rent

You can apply for a discretionary housing payment (DHP) from your council. A DHP is an extra payment to help if you're struggling to pay rent.

You should also make sure that you and any household members are claiming everything you're entitled to:

Use the entitledto benefits calculator

If you think a benefit decision is wrong

You can ask for a review if you think your benefit has been calculated wrongly.

First, you should check how many bedrooms you can claim for.

Find out how to ask for a review of a:

When different rules apply

You housing benefit is calculated in a different way if you:

Still need help?

If you have rent arrears:

Contact a Shelter adviser

If you want to challenge a benefits decision:

Find out where to get benefits advice


Last updated 01 Apr 2020 | © Shelter

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