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LHA entitlement and payments

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Entitlement

Local Housing Allowance rates are used to calculate Housing Benefit for people who are on a low income and living in private rented accommodation.

You cannot get LHA if:

  • you are a council or housing association tenant;
  • you have a tenancy that started before 1989;
  • you live in a caravan, mobile home or house boat;
  • you live in a hostel.

If you are in board and lodging or charity-supported accommodation you also may not be entitled to LHA.

You may still be entitled to Housing Benefit to help with your rent as the rules for calculating the actual entitlement to benefit have not changed. The amount you qualify for will still be affected by your income, capital and personal circumstances. The presence of non-dependants in the household will also affect your benefit, unless you are in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance care component or are registered blind.

Payments

The amount of LHA you can get depends on:

  • who lives with you;
  • what area you live in;
  • what money you have coming in;
  • what savings you have.

LHA does not depend on how much rent you pay, but you cannot receive more LHA than the amount you pay for rent.

The LHA rates may be different depending on which area you live in. These rates are set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA), based on local rents. Remember that you may get less than the LHA rate depending on your personal income and circumstances.

In most cases LHA will be paid directly to you, into a bank or building society account. Payments will be made fortnightly or monthly in arrears. If you wish, you can arrange for your bank or building society to pay your rent directly from your account to your landlord.

You can no longer choose to have your LHA paid direct to your landlord, except in some very exceptional cases, such as if you have a serious illness that means that you cannot cope with handling your financial affairs. If you are worried about taking this responsibility please talk to us and we will do our best to help you.

When you know how much LHA you are entitled to receive, you can work out how much rent you can afford to pay which can help you find accommodation which suits you.

The Council will not talk to your landlord about your claim unless you have given written permission to do so - unless you are in arrears with your rent by eight weeks or more. In these circumstances the landlord has the right to ask for direct payments and so the Council would then confirm to your landlord the amount of benefit to which you are entitled.

Change of circumstances

If you have a change of circumstances that affects the number of rooms you are allowed then your LHA figure can be changed. 

Appealing against LHA rates

You cannot appeal against the level of LHA that the VOA has set. This rate is used for everyone qualifying for that room requirement.

Further information

Further information is available on GOV.UK

Contact Details

Benefits,
Ipswich Borough Council,
1E Grafton House,
15-17 Russell Road,
Ipswich,
IP1 2DE

Telephone icon

01473 432700