For those people who rent their homes from private landlords after April 2008 the amount that they are entitled to will be calculated using the Local Housing Allowance.
Local housing allowance is a way of calculating the rent to use before the normal housing benefit rules are used to provide a final amount of housing benefit.
Although the following paragraphs give a brief overview about the local housing allowance and how it may affect you, there are a number of leaflets available which provide more detailed information.
If you are a landlord, our please see our LHA frequesntly asked questions page for landlords which has a large selection of questions and answers.
If you rent from a private landlord after April 2008
As a private tenant any housing benefit you will be paid is called local housing allowance. In most cases we have to pay local housing allowance to the person making the claim and not the landlord. The payments will be made direct to your bank account or to you by cheque. It will then be your responsibility to make sure you pay the right amount of rent to your landlord at the right time. These rules and local housing allowance changes DO NOT apply to tenants of registered social landlords, such as Two Rivers Housing or Wyedean tenants. If you do not have a bank account, please contact us to get further help and guidance.
There are a few times when we will pay your benefit straight to your landlord. We will only do this if we think you will have difficulty paying, if you are eight or more weeks behind with your rent or if we think you will not pay your rent. In all cases we will consider all cases individually using our LHA safeguard policy. There is also a LHA direct rent application form available for you or your representatives to complete if you or they feel we should pay your rent direct.
At the moment tenants will only receive local housing allowance when:
- a new claim is made
- when there is a change of address
What is local housing allowance?
It is help towards the cost of your rent.
Who is local housing allowance for?
Local housing allowance is for private tenants on a low income.
Private tenants are people who rent a property from a private landlord.
Local housing allowance does not apply if:
- you rent your property from the council
- you rent your property from a housing association
- your rent has been registered as a ’fair rent’
- your tenancy started before 1989
- you live somewhere where you are provided with care, support or supervision
- you live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat.
Local housing allowance may not apply if your rent includes an amount for meals.
How much local housing allowance will I get?
The amount you will get depends on:
- the number of rooms you need
- the area you live in
- any savings or money you may have coming in
- whether you have someone who is not a dependant living with you.
The number of rooms you need
Your local housing allowance will have to take into account the number of rooms you need based upon the number of people who live with you.
The area you live in
The Forest of Dean district council administrative area will be divided into a main Forest area and two smaller areas based upon other LHA areas by the rent service agency. Each area will have a different housing allowance amount dependant on local circumstances such as the rents that most people pay in that particular area.
If your rent is LESS than the local housing allowance you will be able to keep any extra money. But if the rent is MORE than the local housing allowance you will normally have to make up the difference yourself or agree with your landlord a revised rent for the property.