Local Housing Allowance
This section only applies to Private Tenants, who have recently moved home or are making a new claim for Housing Benefit.
It does not apply to Housing Association tenants, persons in supported accommodation, people living in caravans, houseboats and hostels, or people who are excluded from the current eligible rent restrictions. If you fall within these categories please go to the other tenants page.
If you are a landlord please go to the Landlord page.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) will apply to all private tenants who have moved home or who make a new claim for Housing Benefit (HB) after 7th April 2008. Claims that were made before this date will continue to be determined under the old eligible rent provisions until such time as their claim comes to an end or they move address.
What is Local Housing Allowance?
Local Housing Allowance rates are based on the number of rooms a household needs and not on how much their rent is. This will encourage more:
- Fairness: Under LHA the maximum amount paid to tenants would be based on the size, composition and location of the household, in other words two households in similar circumstances in the same area would be entitled to the same amount of HB.
- Choice: LHA encourages tenants to take on greater responsibility and choose how to spend their income in a similar way to other tenants who are not in receipt of benefits.
- Transparency: The current link between HB and individual rent is complex. It does not state clearly what level of support is available for people on low incomes. A clear and transparent set of allowance rates will enable tenants and landlords to know the maximum HB is available from the state.
- Personal responsibility: The Government believes that, where possible, LHA should be paid to tenants, alike most other benefits and tax credits, empowering people to budget and pay their rent themselves. This will develop skills unemployed tenants need to move back to work.
- Financial inclusion – Ideally, we want people to have their HB paid into a bank account and to set up a standing order to pay the rent to their landlord.
- Improved administration and reduced barriers to work: A simpler system will speed up the administration of housing benefits. A transparent system will encourage people to move area to seek employment opportunities.
What does this mean for me?
Under LHA the amount of Housing Benefit that you are entitled to will be determined by the size and composition of your household, and the location of the property that you rent, or intend to rent. This will allow you the opportunity to shop around for better quality accommodation for your needs and circumstances.
Please note that you are only likely to get the full LHA rate if you are on Jobseekers Allowance (income based), Income Support, or Guaranteed Pension Credit.
By simplifying the Housing Benefit scheme with the introduction of LHA you will now find that it should take less time to get a benefit decision, and that you will no longer receive interim payments until a full and final decision has been made about your eligible rent.
How are LHA rates decided upon?
The LHA rates are provided monthly by The Rent Officer Service, and will be available on our website at the start of each month. Please note that LHA rates may not change every month.
The number of bedrooms you need is determined by counting how many times your household falls within the categories listed below:
One bedroom for:
- every adult couple
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex aged under the age of 16
- any two children regardless of sex under age 10
- any other child.
For example, a couple with 3 children, two girls aged 13 and 11 years, and a boy aged 8 years will get an LHA rate based on 3 bedrooms (one for the couple, one for the daughters, one for the son).
The majority of single claimants aged 25, or less, will qualify for the shared room rate. There are certain circumstances when this rule doesn’t apply and we will inform you if this rule does not apply to you.
If you are unsure about how to work out the LHA rate applicable to your household’s circumstances please go to our online “LHA Room Calculator”. This page also contains the current LHA rates for Wrexham County Borough Council.
The Rent Officer is independent of Wrexham County Borough Council.
Housing Benefit Payments under LHA
Usually LHA will be paid directly to you and it will be your responsibility to pay your landlord. You may be evicted from your property if you don’t pay your rent.
If you do not have a bank account already, you will need to set one up. This will enable you to pay your rent to your landlord by direct debit or standing order. You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society of your choice. You can also get advice from welfare organisations such as Citizen Advice Bureau.
In the useful links section there is a link to the Financial Standards Authority (FSA). This link will take you to an information leaflet about Basic Bank Accounts.
If you are worried about managing your money, please contact us.
In special circumstances, we can make payments to your landlords.