The Local Housing Allowance scheme

The LHA scheme is an alternative method of calculating housing benefit, but is only for tenants in the deregulated private rented sector.

This content applies to England

LHA and housing benefit regulations

LHA is governed by the Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 (as amended)[1] and the Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006 (as amended).[2] The Department of Work and Pensions has published guidance for local authorities on the operation of the LHA.[3]

Where the regulations do not specify otherwise the rules governing housing benefit, for example on temporary absences, will apply to the LHA scheme.

Key aims of the LHA scheme

The aims of the LHA scheme include:

  • giving claimants an incentive to ‘shop around’ for accommodation at a rent that will be met by the LHA

  • promoting personal responsibility and financial inclusion by making payments direct to the claimant rather than the landlord, and preferably into the claimant’s bank account

LHA calculations are less complex than the main housing benefit rules, and it was hoped that they would reduce delays in processing claims.

The LHA rates for each area are available online.

LHA flat rate allowance

The key principle of LHA is that entitlement will be based on a flat rate allowance, rather than on a rent officer’s figure for an individual claimant. Rates are published by the local authority each month, but are only reviewed in April of each year.

LHA rate is based both on:

  • the 'broad market rental area' in which the claimant lives

  • the composition of the claimant’s household

Households of the same composition and who live in the same area are subject to same LHA rate, regardless of the actual rent, size or desirability of the accommodation they live in.

Last updated: 14 April 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213, as amended.

  • [2]

    Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214, as amended.

  • [3]

    Local Housing Allowance Guidance Manual, DWP, August 2013.