Calculating the benefit for private tenants
If you are a private tenant and make a new claim your entitlement will be calculated using the Local Housing Allowance rates.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the current way of working out new claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord. Local Housing Allowance was introduced on 7 April, 2008. If you live in council accommodation or other social housing, Local Housing Allowance does not affect you.
If you were already getting Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008, you will not be affected by LHA unless:
- you move address to a home rented from a private landlord
- you have a break in your claim – if you stop claiming Housing Benefit for any reason (for example, starting employment), any new claim for benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates
- you have a break in your claim – if you are working age and stop claiming Housing Benefit for any reason (for example starting employment) any new claim for housing costs will need to be made directly to the DWP and Universal Credit. Any break in your Housing Benefit claim will trigger a migration to Universal Credit and Housing Benefit (LHA) will come to an end.
With Local Housing Allowance, your benefit is not usually based on the property you live in. It is usually based on:
- who lives with you,
- which area you live in,
- how much money you have coming in,
- what savings you have,
In some cases the amount of benefit you are entitled to will be affected by other things. These can include:
- how much your rent is,
- whether anyone living with you is expected to contribute to your rent /household income.
Local Housing Allowance gives tenants a choice in where they live and it's fairer too. This is because with Local Housing Allowance:
- you are entitled to the same amount of benefit as people in the same circumstances as you,
- you can find out how much benefit you can get before you rent a property,
- you can decide how much of your benefit you want to spend on renting a property,
- you will usually get your benefit paid to you - it will be up to you to pay the rent to your landlord,
- you will find out about your benefit more quickly than before.