Please note that you can now register to view your tenants entitlement to Housing Benefit and check when your next payment is due - simply click on the 'Do it online' function in the top right of the page
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 are pension age and receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit. There are special rules for full time students and people who have lived abroad.
The LHA is based on the number of bedrooms the household needs not the number of rooms in the property. If the LHA is less than the rent then the tenant must make up the shortfall. The LHA amount is updated each April.
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
Family A - a couple with one child would get the 2 bedroom rate
Family B - a single parent with a girl aged 6 and a boy aged 8 would get the 2 bedroom rate
Family C - a couple with a girl aged 6 and a boy aged 12 would get the 3 bedroom rate
Family D - a single parent with a boy age 17 and boy age 12 would get the 3 bedroom rate
Family E - a couple with girls age 17 and 14 and boy age 9would get the 4 bedroom rate
Family B for example are entitled to two bedrooms. If they rent a property with three bedrooms, their benefit will still be worked out using the two bedroom LHA.
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. If the property is not self contained they will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate of LHA only.
A single person under 35 will get the shared rate of LHA no matter what size of property they rent.
Single tenants 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 – tenants who think that this may apply to them should contact us.
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.
Joint tenants are people who are not a couple but share a property and are named on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants will get the LHA for their own household not including the family of the other joint tenants.
Current local housing allowance rates
The LHA is set annually by the rent service who provide the “maximum allowances” for households. Leeds has two sets of LHA rates Leeds and Tyersal. The Leeds rates apply to all properties within the our boundary except those in the Tyersal area.
The maximum weekly Local Housing Allowance rates for Leeds from 1st April 2013 are:
Shared accommodation £61.50
One bedroom accommodation £98.08
Two bedroom accommodation £121.15
Three bedroom accommodation £150.00
Four bedroom accommodation £196.00
The new maximum weekly Local Housing Allowance rates for Tyersal from 1st April 2013 are:
Shared accommodation £57.69
One bedroom accommodation £80.77
Two bedroom accommodation £98.08
Three bedroom Accommodation £109.62
Four bedroom accommodation £121.15
The rates are provided annually by the rent service. These rates are valid until 31st March 2014.
The maximum rate is four bedrooms, even if a household would be entitled to more than four bedrooms, the maximum LHA rate is the four bedroom rate.
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, but if the LHA was £98.08 and the rent was £120.00 the most we would pay would be £98.08.
LHA rates are set annually.
In April 2014, LHA rates will be set for the year using the lower of:
1) the April 2013 LHA rate uprated by the Consumer Price Index of September 2013,
2) the April 2013 LHA rate uprated by a maximum of 1%
3) the 30th percentile of local market rents in September 2013.
If the rent increases From 1 April 2013 we can review the rate that is paid if there is a change in the rent.
If the rent charged is less than the LHA rate and the rent is increased, we will be able to apply this increase up to the LHA rate. If the rent is already above the LHA rate and the rent is increased, we will not be able to increase benefit as the maximum that can be paid is the LHA rate. We also need to be advised of any decrease in rent.
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 unless the tenant has provided proof that the rent is paid up to date. 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.
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 worth 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. More information about direct payments is available in the Information for landlords document in the download area at the bottom of this page.
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.
If you have any queries about local housing allowance please see contact us at the top of the page.See the download area below for more useful information for landlords and the links on the right for websites that may be helpful. If you are paid direct you can also register to view your tenants entitlement to Housing Benefit and check when your next payment is due through the 'Do it online' link in the top right of this page.