Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) was introduced nationally from 7 April 2008. There have been several changes to the rules since that date. The information on this page is based on current rules. LHA is used to calculate most private sector claims.

Local Housing Allowance

The LHA looks at the location and the size of the accommodation rather than the rent being charged. In particular LHA rates take into account the number of bedrooms required by the claimant and their household but only up to a maximum of four bedrooms. Claimants with similar circumstances are generally entitled to the same rate of benefit regardless of the rent they pay.

The LHA places a cap on the maximum amount of Housing Benefit claimants can receive for each rate. The maximum amount we can pay in Housing Benefit is the LHA Rate set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA). The rates set by the Valuation Office Agency are capped at a maximum of four bedrooms.

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Rates

The rate of LHA that is used to calculate a claimant’s Housing Benefit depends on the number of people living in the household. Further details are available on our size criteria page.

LHA rates are set by the Valuation Office Agency annually and are reviewed every April. These rates are available on our LHA rates page and are the maximum amount we can pay in Housing Benefit. The actual amount a claimant will receive depends on their income, savings and circumstances.

Housing Benefit is based on the rate of LHA that applies from 1 April each year and will be reviewed every April unless there is a change in the rate the claimant is entitled to before then.

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Method of payment

Housing Benefit under the LHA rules is normally paid directly to the claimant. In some circumstances we may decide to pay the landlord. Further information on the payment of Housing Benefit under LHA rules is available on our Payments page.

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Claimants unaffected by LHA

LHA rules apply to deregulated private tenancies. They do not apply to:

  • Tenants who live in house boats, mobile homes or caravans
  • Tenants whose landlord is a registered Housing Association
  • Tenants who have regulated tenancies or registered rent
  • Tenants whose rent includes a substantial sum for board and attendance
  • Tenants whose landlord is a charitable or voluntary organisation who provide care support or supervision
  • Tenants who pay rent to Haringey Council
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Appealing an LHA decision

You or your landlord can appeal against:

  • a decision to pay you and not the landlord
  • a decision to pay the landlord instead of you.

You cannot appeal against decisions:

  • about the level of LHA set by the Rent Service
  • about the boundary of a Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA).

Appeals must be made in writing within one month of the date of our decision. You must tell us the date of the decision and what you are appealing against. You should also provide information and evidence to support your appeal.

Please visit our Appeals page for further information.

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Further information

Further information about LHA is available on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section.

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