Local Housing Allowance is the way we work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent their homes from a private landlord. This scheme was introduced from 7 April 2008 and any claims made from this date have their Housing Benefit calculated using the Local Housing Allowance. If you are were an existing customer and had a change address or room, or had a break in your claim, your new entitlement will be based on Local Housing Allowance.
Central Government has stated that there are a number of key aims for the Local Housing Allowance such as:
- Fairness, tenants with similar circumstances living in the same area will get the same amount of Housing Benefit.
- Choice, tenants being able to choose the quality and price of their accommodation.
- Transparency, making it easy to find out how much rent could be covered by Housing Benefit.
- Personal responsibility, by paying the allowance in the main to the tenant we encourage them to take responsibility for budgeting and paying their rent themselves.
- Increased work incentives, greater certainty about what in-work benefit they could receive is expected to help tenants to bridge the gap between being out of work and taking a job.
- Simplicity, by removing complex rent restrictions, we speed up the decision making process.
There are a few tenancies that will be exempt from the Local Housing Allowance, such as:
- Registered Social Landlord tenancies
- Protected cases, such as supported housing provided by certain local authorities, social landlords, charities and voluntary organisations
- Tenancies that are excluded from current rent restrictions
- Two key aspect of the LHA scheme are:
- The Local Housing Allowance rates are published in advance and are based on how many bedrooms you need,
- In most cases, LHA is paid direct to the tenant rather than to the landlord
Although the regulations state that payments of LHA should be paid direct to the tenant, local authorities have a local ‘Safeguarding Policy’ whereby applications can be made, and considered, to pay LHA to the landlord and there are certain circumstances where the we will consider paying the landlord direct - these include where a tenancy has been secured or retained based on the Housing Benefit being paid direct to the landlord.
You can calculate how many bedrooms under the LHA calculation your household would be entitled to.
The current Local Housing Allowance Rates for all bedroom sizes / requirements in the West Lindsey area can be found by entering the postcode of your property or a property that you are considering renting on the Valuation Office Agency: Local Housing Allowance Rates website.