Local Housing Allowance

With Local Housing Allowance, Housing Benefit is worked out according to who lives with you, and this is for people who rent from a private landlord.   

How is Local Housing Allowance used?

Your Housing Benefit will be based on the Local Housing Allowance rate which applies to you. The Local Housing Allowance rate which applies to you will depend on the number of bedrooms you are allowed.
Local Housing Allowance is used when you make a new claim, move house or have a break in your existing Housing Benefit claim.

When is Local Housing Allowance not used for Housing Benefit?

Local Housing Allowance is not used if:

  • you are a Housing Association tenant
  • you have a tenancy that started before 1989
  • you live in a caravan, mobile home, house boat or hostel
  • you are living in supported housing provided by the Council, a Registered Social Landlord, a charity or a voluntary organisation
  • the Rent Officer decides that a substantial part of your rent is for board and attendance.

What Local Housing Allowance rate can I get?

The rate of Local Housing Allowance depends on:

  • who lives with you (how many bedrooms your household needs).
  • the maximum bedroom allowance for Local Housing Allowance is 4 bedrooms, even if you need 5 bedrooms or more.

Local Housing Allowance does not take account of how much rent you pay. The Local Housing Allowance rates are set by the Valuation Office Agency and are based on local rent levels. The Local Housing Allowance rates will change annually, so they will stay the same each month until April 2015. These rates are the maximum amount of Local Housing Allowance that can be used for Housing Benefit.

The shared accommodation rate will apply to single claimants under 35 years old. This means if you live on your own without dependant children, are under 35 years old and live in privately rented accommodation, your Housing Benefit will be no higher than the shared accommodation rate.

You should consider asking your landlord to reduce the rent. If you are unsuccessful, you may apply for Discretionary Housing Payments.

Please see current Local Housing Allowance rates for further details.

To help make sure you receive the allowance you are entitled to, you can use our online Room Calculator. 

What’s different about Local Housing Allowance?

You will usually get any Housing Benefit paid direct to you and you will have to pay the rent to your landlord. Knowing the rate of Local Housing Allowance that is used, means that when you are looking for somewhere to live, you can work out what rent you can afford, and choose accommodation that suits you.

You cannot choose to have your Housing Benefit paid direct to your landlord. If your landlord agrees to reduce the rent to the new Local Housing Allowance rate, we may pay your Housing Benefit direct to them, if it helps you secure or renew a tenancy. You will need to make sure that you have a bank or building society account set up so that your Housing Benefit can be paid directly into it.

You can arrange for your bank or building society to pay your rent direct to your landlord by a standing order or direct debit. If you don’t have an account you may want to think about opening one now. For information on basic bank accounts and how to open one please see our Guide to Basic Bank Accounts.

In some exceptional cases we may decide to pay your Local Housing Allowance directly to your landlord. We have to consider your individual circumstances and be satisfied that you are unable to manage your finances. Our safeguard policy sets out the rules for when we may pay your Local Housing Allowance directly to your landlord.

If you think you may have difficulties managing your rent payments, you can request that your benefit is paid direct to your landlord by completing a Direct Payment Request.

How do I find out more?

If you have any questions about Local Housing Allowance you can contact us using the details on the right hand side of this page. You can also find more detailed information about Local Housing Allowance on the Directgov website.