Local Housing Allowance

If you are a private tenant renting a property or room from a private landlord and you are on a low income, you may be able to claim and receive Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

The allowance is a flat rate towards rent costs based on:

  • The area you live in
  • Who lives with you
  • What money you have coming in
  • What savings you have

It is not based on the rent charged by the landlord, so the Housing Benefit you receive may differ from the rent you are being charged.

Why is the area I live in important?

Each Council will be divided into areas called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs).

The Rent Service will be responsible for calculating the LHA for each BRMA, which will be based on the average rent for that area depending on the size of the property.

LHA will pay the same amount wherever you live in your area.

Why is who lives with me important?

LHA is based on the number of bedrooms you need, not on how much your rent is.

The number of bedrooms you need will be based on the number of people you have living with you.

You are allowed one bedroom for:

  • Every adult couple (married or unmarried)
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any two children regardless of sex aged under 10
  • Any other child.

How will Local Housing Allowance be paid?

LHA will usually be paid directly to you.

It will be up to you to pay your rent to your landlord. If you do not pay your rent you may be evicted from the property.

You may want to open a bank account if you do not already have one. That way you will be able to pay your Housing Benefit to your landlord by direct debit or standing order. Get a basic bank account.

You can also get advice from a welfare organisation such as the Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you are worried about managing your money, ask us if we can help. In special cases we may be able to pay your rent to your landlord.

Exceptions

Some tenants will have problems with the responsibility of paying the rent themselves.  In order to safeguard these tenants, the Council will use its discretion to decide whether there is evidence that it is in the tenant’s interest to pay their LHA direct to their landlord.  

There are five circumstances when the Council will consider whether it will be in the tenant’s best interests to make direct payments:

  • If it is considered that the tenant is likely to have difficulty managing their financial affairs
    Examples of this could include tenants with a health problem or a learning disability or an alcohol or drug problem that might mean they would have problems managing their finances.
  • It is considered that the tenant is unlikely to pay their rent.
    They may have consistently failed to pay their rent in the past or they may have other debts or cash flow problems.
    However, it will not be sufficient to make direct payments simply because the tenant has said they will not pay their rent.
  • The tenant has rent arrears of 8 weeks or more.
    As now, if a tenant has built up rent arrears of 8 weeks or more, the Council will be able to make payments direct to the landlord, unless it is not in the tenant’s overriding interests to do so.
  • Deductions from DWP for rent arrears
    If a landlord is receiving deductions from a tenant’s Income Support, Job Seekers Allowance or Pension Credit to cover rent arrears, the Council can pay LHA direct to the landlord.
  • If an agreement is made between the tenant and the landlord to reduce the rent to the LHA rate (see below)
    We will need written evidence to make a decision. Once we have collected the evidence we will decide as quickly as possible whether it will be in the tenant’s best interest to pay their LHA direct to their landlord.  Each request will be considered on its own merits.
  • Safeguard application form

Current LHA rates

The weekly LHA rates based on the area that you live are currently.

Oldham and Rochdale LHA rates
Number of rooms
Rate
Share room or bedsit
£57.73
1 bedroom
£83.08
2 bedrooms
£98.08
3 bedrooms
£114.23
4 bedrooms £150.00
Central Manchester LHA rates
Number of rooms
Rate
Share room or bedsit
£64.62
1 bedroom
£98.06
2 bedrooms £115.37
3 bedrooms
£128.19
4 bedrooms £184.62
Tameside and Glossop LHA rates
Number of rooms
Rate
Share room or bedsit
£57.69
1 bedroom
£86.54
2 bedrooms
£103.85
3 bedrooms
£126.92
4 bedrooms £154.83

If you are under 35, single and live alone, your Housing Benefit may be calculated using the shared room rate of LHA, regardless of the size of the property.

From April 2011 the maximum we can pay will be the 4 bedroom rate. However, if you already received benefit at the 5 bedroom rate this may be protected.