Local housing allowance
If you are renting from a private landlord and claiming Housing Benefit, the maximum level of benefit payable will be your actual rent (if it is below Local Housing Allowance (LHA) levels or the LHA rate). However, there are certain exclusions from the LHA scheme, such as supported housing and bed and breakfast accommodation.
Under the LHA scheme:
There are 'standard rates' of allowance depending on the number of bedrooms you and your family need.
With Local Housing Allowance, your benefit is based on:
- who lives with you;
- which area you live in;
- how much money you have coming in; and
- 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; and
- whether anyone living with you is expected to contribute to your rent.
- whether you receive other state benefits.
With LHA you will know, before you find somewhere to live, how much the maximum amount of help with your rent you may be entitled to. By knowing how much you might get, it is easier for you to decide what type of property you can afford.
How do I get paid my housing benefit?
With LHA, housing benefit is usually paid to you and not to your landlord. You cannot normally choose to have your local housing allowance paid direct to your landlord. We can pay benefit to your landlord if we decide that you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent or if your landlord agrees to reduce your rent to the LHA level.
Usually you will have your benefit paid directly to you. It will be paid to you directly into your bank or building society account. If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you should open one. That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically. You should do this with a direct debit or standing order.
You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. Ask your bank about a basic bank account. You can also get advice from local welfare organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau. You could also consider a credit
As a tenant you are responsible for paying your rent to your landlord. If you do not pay the rent your landlord may apply to the local authority to have it paid to them, or take other action to recover their money. If you are in rent arrears your landlord may be able to go to the courts and ask that you be evicted from your home. If you are in more than 8 weeks of arrears we will pay your landlord directly and you may risk losing your home.