This page tells landlords what the local housing allowance rates are and how they can be paid.
Who can get Local Housing Allowance?
Private tenants who live in the Leeds area, have a low income and pay rent for a property to a private landlord may be able to claim Local Housing Allowance (LHA). Tenants cannot claim if they have savings over £16,000, unless they receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit. There are also special rules for full time students and people who have lived abroad.
How much is Local Housing Allowance?
Please see the documents area for current rates.
How do I know which rate my tenants will get?
Tenants are allowed one bedroom for:
* each adult couple
* any other adult (aged 16 or over)
* any two children under 10
* any two children of the same sex under 16
* or for any other child.
The maximum rate is 4 bedrooms
A couple with one child would get the 2 bedroom rate
A single parent with a girl aged 6 and a boy aged 8 would get the 2 bedroom rate
A couple with girls age 17 and 14 and boy age 9 would get the 4 bedroom rate
When is the shared rate paid?
A single person under 35 will normally get the shared rate of LHA no matter what size of property they rent.
Single people aged 35 years and over or a couple with no children can get the one bedroom LHA but only if they rent a property that is self contained. This means that the accommodation has its own bathroom / toilet and kitchen. They could also get the 1 bedroom rate if they have 2 rooms for living and sleeping in but share the kitchen and/or bathroom with others. If the property is not self contained and they don't have 2 rooms for lining and sleeping in they will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate of LHA only.
Single people aged between 25 and 34 who have been homeless at any time for more than 3 months and who live in self contained accommodation may be able to get the 1 bedroom rate.
Single care leavers under 22 and people who are severely disabled will get the 1 bedroom self contained rate, regardless of the type of accommodation occupied.
Tenants who think that any of these situations may apply to them should contact us.
Does everyone get the full amount?
No, the maximum that is paid is the LHA rate, but if the rent is less than the LHA, the maximum LHA we will pay will be the rent charged. For example if the LHA was £98.08 and the rent was £80.00 the most that would be paid would be £80.00.
The household income is also taken into account.
Tenants can use the benefit calculator to work out how much they can get.
How is Local Housing Allowance paid?
The first payment of LHA on a new claim is normally made in the form of a cheque made payable to the landlord and sent to the tenant’s address. The first payment is usually made this way because it can be for a higher amount than the usual four weekly payment so it makes sure the tenant does not fall into arrears.
If a tenant is already getting LHA and changes their address, and the first payment covers only the usual four weekly payment then it will usually be sent to the tenant. However if the payment is for an amount greater than four weeks we may pay the first payment to the landlord.
After the first payment, payments will normally be made direct to the tenant every four weeks in arrears. However, tenants may ask to be paid fortnightly in arrears.
Tenants must make arrangements with you how to pay the rent. Most people find that the best way is for us to pay the local housing allowance directly into their bank or building society account. They can then set up a standing order or direct debit to pay you every four weeks.
Can my tenant’s payments come directly to me?
Some people may have difficulty getting the local housing allowance and paying their rent.
Payments of local housing allowance can be made direct to a landlord if:
* we consider that a tenant is unlikely to pay their rent
* we think that a tenant cannot handle their own affairs
* where a tenant is more than eight weeks in arrears with their rent.
If your tenant owes you more than eight weeks of rent or you feel that your tenant will not pay your rent you must provide either a written statement detailing how the arrears have built up or a letter explaining why you believe that your tenant will not pay their rent.
We will also make payment direct to the landlord where this will assist the customer in securing or retaining a tenancy. This is intended to provide landlords with an incentive to reduce rents to a level that is affordable to customers. If your tenant can no longer meet the agreed rent because of the cuts to Housing Benefit and you agree to reduce the rent to a level that your tenant can afford in return for direct payment of Housing Benefit let us know. Your tenant must agree to direct payment and you must have reduced the rent to a level that your tenant can afford.
Payments to landlords can only be made four weekly in arrears.
We are not able to pay landlords fortnightly.
View your tenants payments online
If you are receiving direct payments and you want to check your next payment, simply See ‘View your tenants Housing Benefit online"’ in top tasks at the top right of this page. You will need your creditor reference to register for this service.
More information about direct payments is available in the Information for landlords document in the document area on the left.
The Benefits Cap
If your tenant receives more than £500.00 a week in benefits (£350 if they are single) your tenants benefit may be reduced because of the benefit cap. To find out more about the Benefit cap and other welfare benefit changes see the related pages on the left
The address to write to: Welfare and Benefits, Citizens and Communities, Selectapost 15, Leeds, LS2 8BA
Telephone Leeds 0113 222 4404