January 2012 LHA changes –
Before January 2012
If you are single, live alone and are aged under 25 you usually get the "shared accommodation" rate of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) even if you have sole use of more than 1 room.
"Shared accommodation" under the LHA rules means accommodation where the tenant and their partner, if they have one, have sole use of 1 bedroom and share 1 or more of a kitchen, bathroom, toilet, lounge or dining room.
There is a "shared accommodation" rate of LHA which is likely to be lower than the 1 bedroom rate of LHA.
After January 2012
From Sunday January 1, 2012 the "shared accommodation" rate described above will be extended to include single people aged 25-34 who live in privately rented property.
The new rules mean that if you are a single person aged 25-34 living on your own in self contained accommodation we can no longer base your Housing Benefit on 1 bedroom self contained accommodation. Instead we have to use the "shared accommodation" rate, which may be lower than the rent you pay.
This affects people making new Housing Benefit claims from Sunday January 1, 2012 straightaway.
Existing benefit customers
Existing benefit customers who are single and are already receiving LHA but live in self contained accommodation will not see an immediate reduction in their Housing Benefit.
If your LHA rate has been reviewed since Friday April 1, 2011 then you will continue to receive a protected amount of Housing Benefit for a period of 9 months. At the end of the 9 month period your benefit will reduce to the "shared accommodation" rate.
If your LHA began before Friday April 1, 2011 but is not due to be reviewed until Saturday March 31, 2012 then you will be entitled to 9 months protection from the date your claim is reviewed.
Are there any exemptions from these rules?
- If you are receiving Disability Living Allowance at the middle or higher rate and have an entitlement to the Severe Disability Premium then you are still able to receive the 1 bed rate of LHA which is based on self contained accommodation.
- If you are aged 25 or over and have lived for a least 3 months in a hostel for the homeless or a hostel where the main purpose is to rehabilitate and resettle you into the community. Please contact us for advice.
- If you are aged 25 or over and receiving support from the Probation Service. Please contact your Probation Officer for advice.