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Local housing allowance

Local Housing Allowance is a new way of working out new claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord. If you live in Council accommodation or housing association accommodation, Local Housing Allowance will not affect you.

With Local Housing Allowance, your benefit is not usually based on the property you live in. It is usually based on:

  • who lives with you
  • which area you live in
  • how much money you have coming in
  • what savings you have.

In some cases the amount of benefit you are entitled to will be affected by other things. These can include:

  • how much your rent is
  • whether anyone living with you is expected to contribute to your rent

Why Local Housing Allowance was introduced

Local Housing Allowance gives tenants more choice in where they live and it's fairer too. This is because with Local Housing Allowance:

  • you will be entitled to the same amount of benefit as people in the same circumstances as you
  • you can find out how much benefit you can get before you rent a property
  • you can decide how much of your benefit you want to spend on renting a property
  • you will usually get your benefit paid to you. It is up to you to pay the rent to your landlord
  • you will find out about your benefit more quickly than before

Will I be entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit

You can use the online calculator to see if you may be entitled to Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Benefit. You can also use this calculator to find out how a change in your circumstances might affect your current Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit.

How will I get my benefit if Local Housing Allowance applies to me?

Usually you will have your benefit paid directly to you. It will be paid directly into your bank or building society account, if you have one, or by cheque.

If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you may want to set one up. That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically, using a standing order.

You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. You can also get advice from a welfare organisation such as Money Advice.

It is up to you to pay the rent to your landlord. If you don't pay your rent, you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.

Can I have my benefit paid direct to my landlord?

Your benefit is paid to you unless you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent, or it must be paid to your landlord. For more details about this, please see information about Local Housing Allowance: tenants who are likely to have difficulty paying their rent.

If you are worried about managing your money, ask us if we can help. In some cases we may be able to pay your rent to your landlord. More information is provided on this website.

What will happen if I use my benefit for something else?

Your benefit is for you to pay your rent with. If you do not use your benefit to pay your rent, your landlord may take you to court or try to evict you and you may lose your home.

Changes of circumstance

If you are getting Housing Benefit and you move to a new address or other circumstances change, you should tell us straightaway. You may need to make a new claim for Housing Benefit. Examples of changes are:

  • Changes in income for yourself and/or partner separately or jointly.
  • Anyone living with you not receiving full time education reaching 18 years of age.
  • A change in the number of people living in your household.
  • Any person living in your household who starts to receive or stops receiving Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (Income Based).
  • Any child who ceases to be in full time education.
  • If a child takes up full time work.
  • If you change your address.
  • If you and/or your partner go into hospital.
  • If your rent changes.
  • You are in receipt of Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance(Income Based) and you stop receiving it.
  • You move from your present address.

Any overpayment of housing benefit or excess payment of council tax benefit made as a result of failure to disclose or late disclosure of information will be recovered.

Remember that the information about Local Housing Allowance on this website is a guide only.