Housing Benefit for Private Tenants
Find out more about Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance for tenants renting from a private landlord.
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Local Housing Allowance (LHA) changed the way we pay housing benefit to residents in private rented accommodation.
It is how we decide the maximum amount of housing benefit that can be paid to a customer. It is based on the location and size of accommodation a resident requires rather than the rent that is being charged.
The amount of housing benefit will depend on the LHA rate that applied after also taking into account a resident's financial and household circumstances.
Who Can Claim?
If you are:
- On a low income, including low earnings
- Responsible for paying rent
- Your savings are less than £16,000 (different capital rules apply to people over 60)
You may be entitled to Housing Benefit.
What are weekly room rates?
Weekly room rates are used to calculate Local Housing Allowance. The number of people who live with you is used to work out how many bedrooms you are entitled to. We do not count other rooms such as a living room, kitchen or bathroom.
One bedroom each for:
- every adult couple (same or opposite sex),
- any other adult (over 16),
- any two children under 10,
- any two children of the same sex aged 10 to 15,
- or for any other child
The number of bedrooms you are entitled to is then used to work out which Local Housing Allowance rate usually applies to you.
What if you get overnight care from a non-resident carer?
If you or your partner (if you have one) need and receive regular overnight care from a non-resident carer, we can increase the number of bedrooms you are allowed for the LHA rate by one, as long as your carer has the use of a bedroom that is not used by other members of your household.
You or your partner must:
- Need overnight care. You or your partner must either;
get Attendance Allowance (AA) or the middle or highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) provide us with information and/or evidence to confirm the need for regular overnight care
- Have care provided by a non-resident carer (this could be an individual or one of a team of carers) who stays overnight to provide care
- Give your carer use of a bedroom that is not used by other members of your household
If you qualify for an extra bedroom for your LHA rate in this way, we can increase the number of bedrooms you are allowed by one, but the total number of bedrooms can't be more than four.
Find your Local Housing Allowance online
How is Local Housing Allowance paid?
Usually, you will have your benefit paid directly to you. It will be paid directly into your bank or building society account, if you have one, or by cheque. You will have access to this money more quickly if it is paid directly into your bank or building society account.
If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you may want to set one up. That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically, using a standing order.
You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. You can also get advice from a welfare organisation such as Citizens Advice.
It is up to you to pay the rent to your landlord. If you don't pay your rent, you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.
Can I have my benefit paid directly to my landlord?
Your benefit is paid to you unless you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent. If you are worried about managing your money, ask us if we can help. In some cases, we may be able to pay your rent to your landlord.