What is Local Housing Allowance?
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is paid if a tenant who rents from a private landlord in Leeds applies for housing benefit and is eligible.
Who can claim Local Housing Allowance?
If you live in the Leeds area, have a low income and pay rent for your property to a private landlord you may be able to claim LHA.
How do I apply?
You need to fill in a benefits claim form. You can download one from the useful forms for claiming benefits related page. You can also pick a form up at any of our one stop centres. To find your nearest one stop centre go to the ‘Where I Live’ section and enter your postcode.
How much is the Local Housing Allowance?
The LHA rates are set each April by the Rent Service who provide the “maximum allowances”. Leeds has two sets of LHA rates; Leeds and Tyersal. Please see the documents section for Leeds and Tyersal current rates. The rates from 1 April 2014 are now also available in this section.
Which rate of LHA will I get?
The LHA is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs - not the number of rooms in the property you rent, or the rent that you are charged. If the LHA is less than the rent that you pay you must make up the shortfall. If your rent is less than the LHA that you could get, the most you will get will be your rent.
You 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 any other child
For example, a couple with one child would qualify for 2 bedrooms. A single parent with a girl aged 6 and a boy aged 12 would qualify for 3 bedrooms. Follow the link on the right to the LHA Rates (Valuation Office Agency) website to calculate your LHA rate. The Leeds LHA rate calculator can be found in the external links section.
Who is the shared rate paid to?
If you are single and under 35 you get the shared accommodation rate of LHA no matter what size property you rent. You will also get the shared rate if you are single and over 35, or a couple without children living in shared accommodation.
However, if you are a single care leaver under 22, a foster carer, severely disabled, or between 25 and 34 and have been homeless at any time for more than 3 months, you may be able to get the 1 bedroom rate – contact us if you think that this may apply to you.
Can I get an extra room if my carer stays some nights?
If someone who does not normally live with you, regularly stays overnight to provide care for you because you could not continue to live independently without the care they provide, you may be able to get extra help.
If you think that this applies to you, please contact us and we will look into this further with you.
How are payments made?
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 your 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 you do not fall into arrears.
If you are already getting LHA and change address, and the first payment covers only the usual four weekly payment, then it will usually be sent to you. However, if the payment is for an amount greater than four weeks we may pay the first payment to the landlord unless you have provided proof of rent paid up to date.
After the first payment, payments will normally be made direct to you every four weeks in arrears. However, if it is more convenient for you, you can ask to be paid fortnightly in arrears.
You must make arrangements with your landlord how to pay the rent. Most people find that the best way is for us to pay the LHA directly into their bank or building society account. They can then set up a standing order or direct debit to pay their landlord every four weeks. You should be able to open an account either at a bank, building society or at the Leeds City Credit Union to get your LHA. If you are having difficulty opening an account, please let us know as we may be able to help.
Can my Local Housing Allowance be paid to my landlord?
LHA can be paid direct to your landlord if:
* You have difficulty getting your LHA and paying your rent
* You are more than eight weeks in arrears with your rent
* Your landlord has reduced the rent that they would normally charge in exchange for direct payment of your Local Housing Allowance.
Tell us if your landlord has reduced your rent to a rent that is affordable for you and you agree that your LHA should be paid direct to your landlord.
Payments to landlords can only be made four weekly in arrears.
Can you pay my LHA to someone else?
Payment can be made to:
* the person who looks after your money or
* the person with the power of attorney
If you want your LHA to be paid directly to someone else who helps you with your finances, you should write to us stating why you feel you cannot pay your rent yourself.
You must tell us if your rent changes and send proof of your new rent.
If you would like more details or advice, please contact us at: -
Leeds Benefits Service,
Telephone 0113 222 4404