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Local Housing Allowance

Last updated 24 December 2015

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the name for Housing Benefit for most tenants of private landlords who claim Housing Benefit after April 2008.

You can’t get Local Housing Allowance if:

  • You’re a private tenant who is already getting Housing Benefit (unless you move or have a break in your claim, on or after 7 April 2008) as you’ll continue to get your Housing Benefit
  • You’re a council tenant
  • You’re a tenant of a housing association (in most cases)
  • You’re living in bed and breakfast accommodation
  • You live in a caravan, mobile home or house boat
  • You’re tenancy started before 1989; or
  • You live somewhere where you are provided with care, support or supervision

There is no separate claim form for Local Housing Allowance - you apply for it using Housing Benefit claim form.

Apply for Local Housing Allowance

How Local Housing Allowance is calculated

LHA is based on a given fixed rate for your area, not on how much your rent is. There are different rates depending on if you or your household lives in shared, 1, 2, 3, or 4 bedroom accommodation.

If your rent is lower than the LHA rate for your area we use the lower figure and the number of bedrooms to calculate how much you get.

If your rent is higher than the LHA rate we can only use the LHA rate to calculate how much you get.

The actual amount of benefit you receive will vary depending on your income, capital (such as savings) and who lives with you.

Find out how many bedrooms you are entitled to under LHA and find out what your LHA rate is at the Valuation Office Agency website.

Shared Accommodation Rate for people under 35

The Shared Accommodation Rate is the maximum amount we can pay if you:

  • are single
  • under the age of 35
  • don't get severe disability premium
  • are entitled to Local Housing Allowance

You’ll get this rate even if you live in a self-contained property such as a one-bedroom flat.

This rule won’t apply if:

  • you have a partner
  • a non-dependant adult lives with you
  • you’re getting Child Benefit for a child in your care, or
  • you qualify for certain disability benefits, or
  • you’re aged under 22 and have been in care
Weekly LHA rates for Waltham Forest from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016
Number of bedrooms Outer North East London Outer East London
Shared accommodation rate £75.15 £76.56
1 bedroom self contained £155.57 £181.80
2 bedrooms £192.62 £229.58
3 bedrooms £242.40 £286.98
4 or more bedrooms £312.77 £331.61
Monthly LHA rates for Waltham Forest from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016
Number of bedrooms Outer North East London Outer East London
Shared rate £326.54 £332.67
1 bedroom rate £672.79 £782.16
2 bedroom rate £836.98 £979.58
3 bedroom rate £1053.29 £1247.00
4 or more bedroom rate


How Local Housing Allowance is paid

LHA is usually paid straight into your bank account.

We may be able to pay your LHA direct to your landlord if:

  • You’ve managed to negotiate a lower rent with your landlord, and
  • Paying rent direct will help you to secure or retain the tenancy
  • The person claiming is unable manage the payment themselves, for example for health reasons

Our safeguard policy (Word doc, 56KB) outlines how Local Housing Allowance will be paid to vulnerable claimants.

You can choose to have your benefit paid into your bank account or direct to your landlord if:

  • You were claiming benefit before 7 April 2008, and you have not moved or had a break in your claim
  • You live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • You live in bed and breakfast accommodation or a hostel
  • Your tenancy began before 15 January 1989, or
  • You live in accommodation where you’re cared for, supported, or supervised, and your rent includes a charge for this service

Rent arrears advice for Landlords

When rent is in arrears for 8 weeks or more we’ll pay Housing Benefit directly to the landlord.

Landlords are encouraged to contact the Benefit Service when rent has been in arrears for five weeks to give us time to gather information before the tenant is in arrears for 8 weeks.

If you want to tell the Benefits Service that your tenant is in arrears with their rent, please complete the Landlord Rent Arrears form​ (Word doc, 62KB) and return it to us with supporting evidence.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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See also

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