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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

LHADirect - Local Housing Allowances (LHA)

Calculate how many bedrooms you are entitled to under Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and find out what your LHA rate is. Your housing benefit will be based on this number of bedrooms, not on the size of the property you live in.

LHA rates are used to calculate housing benefit for tenants renting from private landlords. LHA rates depend on the area you are making your claim in. These areas are called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA).

From April 2012 LHA rates will be updated annually instead of monthly. This means they will remain the same between April 2012 and March 2013.

Checking your LHA rates

To check the LHA rates you need:

  • details of how many people live in your household, including family members, non-dependants, boarders and sub-tenants
  • to know whether you are entitled to an additional bedroom for someone not living with you, but who provides necessary overnight care for you or your partner
  • the postcode of the property you rent or want to rent, or the local authority where it’s situated

If you’re not sure who belongs to your household for housing benefit purposes, contact the housing benefit department at the local authority.

When you don’t need to use the bedroom calculator

For couples and single people claiming under certain circumstances the number of bedrooms you are entitled to is fixed.

When using ‘Find Local Housing Allowance rates’ choose the ‘Shared accommodation’ rate if one or more of the below applies:

  • you are one of a couple, don’t live with dependants and rent a room in a shared home
  • you are 34 years or younger and live alone (there are exemptions for severely disabled people, care leavers under 22 years of age or those with a bedroom used by care workers providing overnight care)
  • you are 35 years or over and rent a room for your sole use in a shared home

Choose the '1 bedroom' rate if you are 35 years or over and rent a self-contained property (eg a whole flat or house).

LHADirect is not suitable for everyone

If you are in one of the following groups, please contact your local council for advice:

  • a tenant claiming for a mooring or the letting of a house boat / other vessel used as a dwelling
  • a tenant claiming for a caravan site rent or the letting of a caravan / mobile home
  • a tenant whose rent includes a substantial amount for board and attendance
  • someone living in a hostel
  • a Rent Act protected tenant

Find out how Local Housing Allowance rates are set

There is further information available on

  • what rental information is used to set LHA rates
  • how and where rental information is collected from
  • how it is used to set Local Housing Allowance rates
  • how private landlords and tenants can provide rental information

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