Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance is a way of working out Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord.

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a flat-rate allowance that is the maximum amount you could receive in Housing Benefit towards rent costs if you rent your property from a private Landlord.

See LHA rates for South Somerset

This does not apply to certain tenancy types for example Housing Associations (Registered Social Landlords) but see Social Sector Size Criteria. LHA is based on household size and make up, the number of bedrooms needed and the area in which you live.  The actual amount of Housing Benefit you get will still depend on your income and savings.

LHA will be paid to the tenant, except in cases where tenants are likely to have difficulty in managing their financial affairs, or where tenants have fallen into arrears, please see our Safeguard Policy. In such circumstances benefit may be paid to a landlord or agent.

The Rent Service provides each local authority with the LHA rates. These are reviewed from 1st April each year.

See LHA rates for South Somerset


Determining The Local Housing Allowance Rate (LHA)

The Local Housing Allowance rate depends on the number of people in the claimant's household and the area in which they live.

The size criteria determines the number of bedrooms that the household qualifies for and allows a bedroom for each of the following:

  • Every adult couple
  • Any other adult aged 16 and over
  • Any two children under the age of 10 irrespective of their sex
  • Any two children of the same sex  until either reach 16
  • Any other child
  • A room for a non-resident overnight carer, if caring for the claimant or partner
  • Extra room if children are unable to share due to severe disabilities which would disrupt the sleep of any other child if obliged to share a room.

There are, however, the following exceptions:

  • Single claimants under the age of 35 will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate
  • Single claimants aged 35 and over and couples without dependent children will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate if they choose to live in accommodation with shared facilities
  • Single care leavers aged under 22 always qualify for the one-bedroom rate regardless of the type and size of property (the shared accommodation rate will apply from the age of 22 to 35)
  • Claimant qualifies for the Severe Disability Premium
  • Claimant is over 25 and has spent at least 3 months in a specialist hostel for homeless people where the main purpose of the hostel is to provide accommodation, care and supervision with a view to assisting homeless people to be rehabilitated or resettled into the community.
  • Claimant is over 25 and is an ex-offender who is being managed under active multi-agency management within the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) to be rehabilitated back into the community.

The Gov.uk website will assist tenants, renting accommodation from a private landlord, to calculate the possible amount of Housing Benefit that may be available to them under the LHA scheme.

Under the scheme the following changes may result in a change to the Local Housing Allowance rate before the year elapses:

  • A change which may entitle the claimant to a different room rate, for example a change to the number or ages of the occupiers
  • A change of address

Frequently Asked Questions

The rent I am paying is more than the Housing Benefit I get. What should I do?

You can talk to your landlord about the changes and see if they will drop the rent on your property. If that isn't possible, you could start looking for somewhere cheaper. You might want to talk about your situation with our Housing Advice Team or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
My landlord won't reduce my rent and it is going to be difficult for me to move, is there any other help?

We can help some people with a Discretionary Housing Payment to meet the gap between benefit entitlement and the rent payable. The amount of money available for these payments is limited, so we will have to consider your circumstances carefully.

Do I have to be getting Housing Benefit under Local Housing Allowance arrangements to get the allowance for another bedroom for an overnight carer?

No. This change applies to all tenants who meet the qualifying conditions and live in privately rented accommodation or social sector housing, no matter how their Housing Benefit is worked out.

I think I will be due an increase in my Housing Benefit because I have a carer who stays overnight - who should I tell?

Make sure that we know that you have an overnight carer so that we can look at your Housing Benefit entitlement again. You must already have an extra bedroom in your home available for the carer to use before you get this help.

What about extra rooms for other circumstances such , couples who cannot share a room, or where extra space is needed for medical equipment?

This only applies where the person making the Housing Benefit claim, or their partner, needs overnight care from someone outside the household.

What about extra rooms for children who cannot share due to a severe disability which would disrupt other children's sleep?

An extra bedroom is allowed for a severely disabled child(must be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance care component at middle or high rate), but only where the effects of their disability would disrupt the sleep of other children if they were obliged to share a bedroom. However, it will remain for local authorities to assess the individual circumstances of the claimant and their family and decide whether their disabilities are genuinely such that it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to share a room. This will involve considering not only the nature and severity of the disability but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night and the extent and regularity of the disturbance of the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. This will come down to a matter of judgement of the facts, so it is important to explain the situation in detail.