Local Housing Allowance

Benefits and money advice


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
  • your 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

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’re entitled to under LHA and find out what your LHA rate is at the Valuation Office Agency website.

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

Local Housing Allowance rates are set independently by the Valuation Office Agency.

Weekly LHA rates for Waltham Forest from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

Number of bedrooms 

Outer North East London

Outer East London

Shared accommodation rate



1 bedroom self-contained



2 bedrooms



3 bedrooms



4 or more bedrooms




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

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. 

Housing benefit advice for landlords

If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service pc to log your request/report. Staff are available to support you if you need it.​​​​​​​

Please make a note of the 10-character form reference in case you need to ask us something. You can also use this reference to go back to a partially completed form.

Once you have answered the questions on all of the pages, click ‘Show Errors’ to confirm that the form is complete. Any pages with errors or omissions will be shown. Click on the page number to go to that page where the issue will be highlighted.

You can attach any evidence required by clicking ‘Upload & Attach File’.

If you get stuck, and cannot submit the form, please use the ‘Contact Us’ option to send us a message. If you send us the form reference we will be able to help you more quickly.

Once any errors have been resolved you can securely submit the form by clicking ‘Submit’.

When we have received your form, you will see a confirmation message on your screen. We will send you an email to confirm receipt of your application.

Contact Click to get info

Revenues and Benefits Service

London Borough of Waltham Forest 
PO Box 856 
E17 9PN 

Phone: 020 8496 3000 
Email: revenue.services@walthamforest.gov.uk