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Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance is the name for the way Housing Benefit is calculated for tenants living in privately rented accommodation.

Local Housing Allowance is how we work out the maximum housing benefit you could get. The amount of housing benefit you will get still depends on your income and savings.

Everyone who has made a claim for housing benefit since 7th April 2008, and whose landlord is not a Housing Association, will have their housing benefit calculated under Local Housing Allowance.

The only other exceptions are if you live in a caravan or mobile home, if meals are included in your rent or you pay rent for accommodation where care, support and supervision is provided. In these cases, you will have your maximum housing benefit worked out using the previous rules.

How does Local Housing Allowance work?

The maximum amount of housing benefit you can receive will be set in advance by the Valuation Office. It will not depend on the amount of rent you pay. The maximum amount you could receive will be the same for every same size household in the area in which you live, regardless of differences in actual rent.

How is the allowance calculated?

The Valuation Office provide us with Local Housing Allowance rates. There is a set of rates ranging from a Shared Accommodation rate to a 4 bedroom rate. The rate you are entitled to will depend on where you live and who lives with you.

How many rooms can you claim for?

This depends on the number of people who live with you. For example a single person under 35 will only be entitled to the Shared Accommodation rate. If you are over 35 with or without a partner, and no children, then you will be entitled to the shared rate if you live in shared accommodation or the one bedroom rate if you live in self-contained accommodation.

For everyone else with children or non-dependants then the Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms you are allowed. Size criteria is based solely on the number of bedrooms needed.

One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:

• Every adult couple

• Any other adult aged 16 or over

• Any two children of the same sex up to 16 years

• Any two children regardless of sex under 10 years

• Any other child.

Disabled Children

Where two children are unable to share a bedroom, due to severe disabilities, you may be entitled to an extra bedroom.

We will need to satisfy ourselves that this is the case, for example, a claim will likely be supported by medical evidence and many children are likely to be in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for their medical condition. In addition we must consider not only the nature and severity of the disability, but also the nature and frequency of care required during the night, and the extent and regularity of the disturbance to the sleep of the child who would normally be required to share the bedroom. In all cases this will come down to a matter of judgement on facts of each individual case.

It should be noted that this does not provide for an extra bedroom in other circumstances, for example, where the claimant is one of a couple who is unable to share a bedroom or where an extra room is required for equipment connected with their disability.

Foster Parents and Armed Forces Personnel

Foster Parents who have one spare room, whether or not a child has been placed with them, so long as they have fostered a child or been approved to do so within the past 12 months will be allowed a bedroom.

Also members of the armed forces who are living with their parents will be regarded as still occupying their room while away on operations.

Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA)

The Rent Service has divided the country into Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA). In this area there will be a wide mix of property types within a reasonable distance of various public amenities such as health, education, recreation, personal banking and shopping. From the information that is collected the figure that is at the mid-point of these rents will be the figure that is used as the Local Housing Allowance rate.

You are able to tell in which BRMA you live using your post code. There will be a number of different rates based on the number of bedrooms each household needs.

The weekly Local Housing Allowance rates (valid from 1 April 2015) are:

  pdf icon Chilterns BRMA (see map) [786kb]pdf icon East Thames Valley BRMA (see map) [471kb]
1 Bedroom Shared Accommodation£73.64£76.27
1 Bedroom Self Contained£145.43£151.50
2 Bedrooms£182.45£193.92
3 Bedrooms£236.34£244.89
4+ Bedrooms£344.05£334.43

 

Further information on Local Housing Allowance is available on the Gov.uk website