Benefits - Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance is the name for the way housing benefit is calculated for tenants 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.

How to make a claim

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 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.

online bedroom calculator gives more information and an indication of what your bedroom rate might be.

Additional rooms for non-residential carers or those unable to share a bedroom

Some people may need care and support while living at home and this care might extend throughout the night. Others are unable to share a bedroom due to a physical disability.

If you or your partner require care throughout the night and have set aside a bedroom that is used by a non-residential carer, or team of carers, for overnight stays, or your children are unable to share a bedroom due to severe disabilities, then you may be entitled to additional help with your rent through the Housing Benefit scheme.

From 11st April 2017, this is extended to include disabled children or non-dependant adults with the need for an overnight non-resident carer and couples who are unable to share a bedroom due to a disability.

In order to establish whether an extra bedroom can be taken into account for a non-resident carer, you will need to prove that:   

  • Care has been arranged

  • a spare bedroom is available for the carer (or team of carers)

  • an extra bedroom has not already been provided for a non-resident overnight carer (or team of carers) in the same household

In addition you, your partner, the disabled child or non-dependant adult must be in receipt of:

  • middle or higher rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

  • Attendance Allowance (AA)

  • the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or

  • the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP)

To determine if a child or couple are unable to share a bedroom, we will first need to make an assessment as to whether an individual cannot reasonably share a bedroom because of his or her disability. This will be a judgement on the basis of the facts:

  • Are the children/couple able to share a bedroom in spite of their physical disabilities (one or both of them)? This may mean they have two single beds in one bedroom, in which case you are not entitled to an additional bedroom

  • If there is a physical disability that prevents them from sharing a bedroom (for example related to medical equipment, hospital beds, hoists etc) and there is insufficient space for two single beds an additional bedroom should be considered, but see the further qualifying test below

Further qualifying test will be that a child or one member of the couple is in receipt of:

  • the middle or higher rate care component of DLA

  • higher rate AA

  • the daily living component of PIP or

  • AFIP

If you can answer yes to these statements, then please email, giving your name, address and contact telephone number, or you can telephone on (01494) 732077.

We may need to visit you, so please ensure that you provide your contact telephone number.

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.

Where can I get more Information?

GOV.UK - Local Housing Allowance information