What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?
We use LHA to calculate how much Housing Benefit you can receive if you rent privately.
The LHA is a flat rate of Housing Benefit which varies according to the size of your household and where you live. LHA looks at the number of bedrooms you and your household need rather than the actual rent you are being charged.
Your LHA rate determines the maximum Housing Benefit you can receive, but the amount you actually get will depend on things like your income, savings, personal circumstances, and those of the people living with you.
Who does Local Housing Allowance (LHA) apply to?
If you have been getting Housing Benefit from before 7 April 2008 the LHA will only apply to you if you:
- change address
- have a break in your claim
- move from a council or housing association property to a privately rented property.
LHA does not apply to you if you:
- are a council tenant
- rent your home from a registered social landlord or a housing association
- have a tenancy that started before 1989
- have a registered fair rent
- live in supported accommodation
- live in a hostel, caravan or houseboat
- have meals included in your rent.
But you may still be able to get Housing Benefit
. Your Housing Benefit will be worked out using the rent you pay your landlord, less any amounts you pay for things like heating, lighting or meals.
Calculating Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
The amount of LHA that can be paid to you will depend on your age, the area you live in and the number of bedrooms you need, not the amount of rent you pay.
We allow one bedroom for each of the following:
- a couple
- a single adult or young person aged 16 or over
- two children of the same sex aged 10 to 15, unless one or both has an illness or disability which means it is unreasonable for them to share a room
- two children of either sex aged under 10, unless one or both has an illness or disability which means it is unreasonable for them to share a room
- any other child
- a non-resident overnight carer if you or your partner are disabled and need overnight care.
We will also allow one bedroom if
- you are a foster carer:
- and you have one or more foster children placed with you in your home
- who is between placements but only for up to 52 weeks from the end of the last placement
- who has been newly approved, but only for up to 52 weeks from the date you were approved if no child is placed with you during that time.
We will not count a room as being a spare room if you have:
- a non-dependant who is a member of the armed or reserve forces away on operations intend to return home
- non-dependant who is a student away studying, but intends to return home - for example, during Easter and summer holidays.
For example, a couple with a six-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter need a two-bedroom property (one for the couple and one for the children).
Shared accommodation rate
The shared accommodation rate will apply to you if you:
- live in a privately rented house or flat and you have exclusive use of one bedroom and share other rooms such as the living room, bathroom or toilet and kitchen with at least one other tenant. This will apply regardless of your age and will also apply you are a joint tenant
- are under 35 years old and you live alone, even if you live in self-contained accommodation such as a one-bedroom flat or a studio flat.
Single people and couples with no-one else living with them
If you are 35 years old or more, with no children or dependants, you will only be entitled to the:
- one-bedroom rate if you live in self-contained accommodation
- one-bedroom rate if you have exclusive use of at least two rooms in a shared house or flat
- shared accommodation rate if you have exclusive use of only one room and share other rooms in the house or flat with other tenants.
If you are under the age of 35 and live alone you are usually entitled only to the shared accommodation rate of LHA. This will not apply if you:
- get the severe disability premium in your benefit because you are entitled to the middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, or Personal Independence Payment for daily living
- need an extra bedroom for a carer who provides you with overnight care, but who doesn't normally live with you
- are aged between 25 and 34, and you have spent at least three months in a homeless hostel (even if the three months were not all in one block of time), and you have accepted support services to enable you to be rehabilitated or resettled in the community
- are aged between 25 and 34, and you are an ex-offender who is being supported by a number of agencies, sometimes known as MAPPA
- are aged under 22 and had at some time been subject to a care order since the age of 16
- are aged under 22 and had previously been accommodated by social services
- have one or more children or other people (non-dependants) living with you.
If you share your tenancy with another person, you will be entitled to the:
- shared accommodation rate if you have one bedroom to yourself and share other facilities with the other joint tenant(s)
- one-bedroom rate if you do not share your home with anyone else other than your partner and you are not affected by the rules for under 35s
- the rate for the number of bedrooms you need if you have children or non-dependents.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates
1 bedroom - shared accommodation
1 bedroom - self-contained accommodation
The maximum LHA we can pay is the rate for four bedrooms.
The LHA determines the maximum housing benefit you can receive, but the amount you actually get will also depend on your income and savings.
If you are living in a property with a rent that exceeds the LHA rate you need, you will have to make up the difference yourself.