Local housing allowance (LHA) for private renters

Local housing allowance (LHA) is not a separate benefit.

Your LHA rate affects how much help you get when renting from a private landlord.

It is used to work out both:

  • housing benefit

  • universal credit housing element

The government's 4 year freeze on LHA will not end until April 2024.

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

How your LHA rate is worked out

Your LHA rate depends on:

  • your age

  • who you live with

  • rent levels in your area

  • other things like a disability or care history

It is based on how many bedrooms you can claim for under the rules.

The number, age and sex of the people in your household affects your LHA rate.

Most single private renters under 35 only get the shared accommodation rate of LHA - even if you do not share your home with others.

But there are exceptions and some single renters qualify for a higher LHA rate.

How much can you get?

Do you know:

  • your postcode or council area?

  • how many bedrooms you can claim for?

Check your weekly LHA rate on GOV.UK if you have this information.

You probably pay rent monthly so may need to change the weekly rate to a monthly figure.

Most people on universal credit get one monthly payment.

Work out how much you could get each month

Calculate your monthly LHA rate like this:

Weekly LHA rate ÷ 7 x 365 ÷ 12 = Calendar monthly LHA rate

This is the most you could get under the rules.

You will usually get less if you're working or have other income.

The GOV.UK tool gives you the weekly LHA rates.

Will local housing allowance cover your rent? 

Benefits will not always cover your full rent.

Most private renters have a shortfall between what they get and their actual rent.

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

You will not usually get the full LHA rate if you're in any of the situations below.

You're working

Your benefit usually goes down if you're working because your overall income increases. 

You have to pay more of your rent from your wages.

For every £1 you earn above the benefit you'd get if you were unemployed, you usually lose:

  • 55p - if you get universal credit

  • 65p - if you get housing benefit

Families with children and some disabled people can earn £379 a month before your universal credit is reduced. This is called a 'work allowance'.

You're affected by the benefit cap

The benefit cap is an overall limit on the amount of benefits for working age people.

It affects many families with children as well as some single people in high rent areas.

If you're affected, your universal credit or housing benefit is reduced to below the cap level.

Find out about dealing with the benefit cap.

Other adults who live with you are expected to contribute

Money can be taken from your benefit for some adults who live in your home if they are expected to contribute to the rent. This can happen even if they do not give you any money. 

Find out more about:

If your benefit does not 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.

Contact your council's discretionary housing payments team

What is your location?

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

Check your benefits with 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:

  • live in a mobile home or houseboat

  • have a regulated or protected tenancy

  • live in a hostel, refuge or some types of supported housing

  • have claimed housing benefit in your current home since before April 2008

Still need help?

Easy read advice

There is easy read money and housing advice on the Mencap site.

Find out how to:

Last updated: 3 April 2023

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