Local housing allowance (LHA) for private renters

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

Work out your local housing allowance rate 

If you rent privately, a local housing allowance rate is used to calculate your housing benefit or universal credit housing element.  

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.

The rates are different depending on where you live in the UK:

Check the local housing allowance (LHA) rates on GOV.UK

Shared accommodation rate

If you're under 35 and single with no dependent children, you can usually only get the shared accommodation rate. This applies even if you don't share your home with other people.

If you're 35 or over, single with no dependent children and living in a shared house you qualify for the:

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

When your full rent can be covered

The LHA rate that applies to your household is the maximum amount you can get to help with rent. It won't always cover your full rent. 

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

Your rent won't usually be fully covered if:

  • 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.

If you get universal credit, you can earn £198 per month before your benefit is reduced if you either:

  • have dependent children
  • are 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:

  • 65p if you get housing benefit
  • 63p if you get universal credit

You should still be better off, but your benefit will go down and you'll have to pay more of your rent from other income.

If you're affected by the benefit cap

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

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. 

Find out more about the benefit cap

Deductions for adults who live with you

Deductions are made for certain 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

Challenge a benefit decision

You can ask for a review of a decision 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 don't get local housing allowance and your housing benefit is calculated in a different way if you:

Still need help?

If you have rent arrears:

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person

If you want to challenge a benefits decision:

Find out where to get benefits advice

Last updated 10 Dec 2018 | © Shelter

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