What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a way of working out Housing Benefit for private tenants.

If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord, Local Housing Allowance is used to work out how much Housing Benefit you get.

The amount of Housing Benefit you get will depend on where you live and who lives with you. Benefit is based on the number of bedrooms you need and not how much the rent is.

Local Housing Allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area. The rates range from a single room in a shared house, up to properties with four bedrooms.

The rates that are set are the maximum amounts, the actual amount of entitlement will depend on your income, savings and circumstances.

Local Housing Allowance ensures that people with the same circumstances, living in the same area, will receive the same amount of benefit. You can choose accommodation, knowing how much rent we will use to work out your benefit, from the LHA rates set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

Local Housing Allowance applies to anyone who lives in private rented accommodation and has made a new claim for Housing Benefit, or has changed their address or had a break in their claim, on or after 7 April 2008.

Local Housing Allowance does not affect you if:

  • you live in a home which is owned by the council;
  • you are a tenant of a registered social landlord (housing association), registered charity or voluntary organisation;
  • you live in supported housing;
  • your tenancy started before 15 January 1989;
  • you live in a caravan, mobile home, houseboat or hostel;
  • you claim benefit for help with mooring fees;
  • the Rent Officer has decided that a large part of the rent you pay for your tenancy is for meals cooked for you.

If any of the above groups apply to you, please see the how much Housing Benefit will I get page for information on how your Housing Benefit is worked out. If you move address or stop claiming Housing Benefit for at least one week, we may work out your new claim under the LHA rules.