Other tenants (those not subject to LHA)
Despite the introduction of the Local Housing Allowance there will still be a considerable number of potential claimants of Housing Benefit that will remain outside of the scheme. The most notable groups that will not be subject to LHA are:
- Council Tenants
- Housing Association Tenants
There are a number of other groups that are not subject to LHA, but these tend to be existing Housing Benefit claimants, or tenants with usual circumstances. This chapter is essentially for the tenants that are highlighted above.
What is the difference between my actual rent and my eligible rent?
Your actual rent is the amount of rent that you have contractually agreed to pay to your landlord, this can also include charges for services which you receive or consume whilst residing at your home.
For Housing Benefits some of these service charges may be considered to be ineligible for Housing Benefits. The parts of your actual rent that are covered by Housing Benefits are called your eligible rent.
For Council tenants your Housing Benefit, known as rent rebate, is usually based on your actual rent, whereas for Housing Association tenants your Housing Benefit will be based on your eligible rent, which maybe less than your actual rent.
What charges maybe deemed ineligible?
A service charge maybe eligible for Housing Benefit so long as they:
- Are paid as a condition of occupying your home
- Are not listed in the Housing Benefit regulations as being ineligible
- And are not excessive in relation to the service that they are for.
Below is a summary of service charges and their eligibility for Housing Benefit:
ELIGIBLE – Provision of heating systems, provision of heating in communal areas, furniture and household equipment (in fully or part furnished lets), communal cleaning including communal windows, and anyone communal services to provide adequate accommodation.
INELIGIBLE – Water charges, fuel charges, meals, cleaning of your windows and accommodation, counselling and support, living expenses, medical or nursing care, and emergency systems.
If ineligible services are part of your actual rent the Government has set standard weekly deductions which the Council are obliged to deduct from your rent. These charges relate to the heating, lighting, the provision of hot water, cooking, and the provision of meals as part of your rent. These rates are set in accordance with your families circumstances and are reviewed annually.