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Local Housing Allowance
Housing benefit changes took place wef April 2013.
Local Housing Allowance
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a new scheme for people in privately rented accommodation who make a new claim for Housing Benefit on or after 7th April 2008. If you were already receiving Housing Benefit on this date these new rules will not apply to you. However, if you move address or stop claiming Housing Benefit for at least one week, we will work out your new claim under the LHA rules.
LHA replaces the old rent referral scheme with a system of Local Housing Allowances based on the area in which you live and the number of people in your household.
This new scheme will remove the need for the Rent Service to value each individual property and will mean that you can find out how much LHA you will be entitled to before you move into a property without the need to complete a Pre Tenancy Determination form.
Every property in the country is included within a specific Broad Rental Market Area (BRMA). Stratford District has 7 BRMA:
- South Warwickshire
- Worcester North
- Worcester South
- Rugby & East
Each area has a separate set of LHA rates. The rate is valid on your claim until the following April when it will be updated, unless you move address or there is a change in the size of your household which affects the bedroom rate you need.
To work out how much Local Housing Allowance you will be entitled to you will need to know which BRMA your property is in and how many bedrooms your household needs based on the list below.
One bedroom is allocated to every single adult or adult couple
An additional bedroom will be allocated for:
- Any other person over the age of 16
- Any two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- Any two children under the age of 10
- Any other child
- An overnight carer where the claimant/partner requires regular overnight care and support
Each person should be allocated to the first category that applies to them and can only be counted once.
Single claimants under the age of 35 and tenants who share their facilities will be entitled to the 1 room with shared facilities LHA rate.
Shared accommodation is defined as exclusive use of one bedroom with shared living room, bathroom and kitchen facilities. For example someone who has a Joint Tenancy will received the shared accommodation rate because they share their living room, bathroom and kitchen facilities with the other tenant.
Usually you will have your Local Housing Allowance paid directly to you. It is then your responsibility to pay the rent to your landlord. If you don't pay your rent your landlord may take action against you.
If you do not already have one, you may want to set up a bank account. That way you can pay the rent to your landlord by setting up a standing order or direct debit. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) have provided an independent leaflet about the different types of basic bank accounts available. The Leaflet 'Just the facts about basic bank accounts' is available in any Council office or can be downloaded from the FSA website.
Stratford on Avon District Council is committed to the welfare of the more vulnerable residents of the District. If you think that you are in arrears or are unable to manage your affairs, a safeguard policy 'Local Housing Allowance Safeguard Policy for Tenants and Landlords' has been developed to guarantee that LHA payments will go directly to Landlords, in accordance with LHA rules, where it is considered that someone is vulnerable or unlikely to pay. These safeguards have been put in place to ensure that those who are vulnerable or who do not intend to pay their rent minimise the risk of falling into rent arrears, eviction and to reassure Landlords. A full copy of this policy is available from Council offices. An abridged version will be available on the website shortly.