Local Housing Allowance
This is the name for the system of providing financial assistance to private tenants to help to meet the rental costs of their home, introduced from April 2008.
In April 2008, a new method of deciding the level of assistance available to tenants of private sector landlords (not Housing Association) was introduced. From then, instead of an individual figure for each property, the Rent Service sets a range of flat rates (Local Housing Allowances) for different size households in different localities of Rother District. When a claim for assistance is being considered, the Council will decide the size of accommodation the claimant's household requires, and will then calculate entitlement using the flat rate figure for that size of property, regardless of the actual rent payable. If the rent is more than the Local Housing Allowance, the claimant will be required to make up the difference from his own resources.
To find out what the LHA rate will be for a particular property, first use the LHA Bedroom Calculator to work out the bedroom requirement of the household. Then use the three LHA Localities Maps below to find which 'locality' the property falls in. Most properties in Rother District fall in the Sussex East locality. Finally refer to the Local Housing Allowances link for the current month, to the left of this article, which shows the rates for the different sizes of properties in the three localities. LHA rates for all Council areas nationally can be found by using the link to National LHA Rates to the right of this article. Rates for the other four East Sussex Councils can be found by using the links to their websites below. The LHA amount can then be inserted into the Benefits Calculator for an estimate of the likely benefit award.
An application form can be downloaded below. You will need to print the form as it requires signing by you and any partner. Do not delay sending the form to us as you may lose benefit to which you are entitled.
In most cases, the Local Housing Allowance will be paid to the claimant, not the landlord as is often the case at present. The claimant will be responsible for making payments of rent direct to his landlord. However, to protect vulnerable tenants and to reassure their landlords , the Council will have a discretion to pay the landlord. A 'Safeguard Policy' has been set by the Council, which sets out the guidelines within which decisions on this will be made. The policy is shown at the bottom of this article.
Applications for payments to be made to the landlord can be made by either party, but there will be a requirement to provide sufficient evidence that the claimant is likely to have difficulty in relation to the management of their financial affairs. Application forms for the use of either the tenant themselves (or someone on their behalf), or the landlord, can be downloaded from the links below. Please also see the leaflet below 'Local Housing Allowance: Difficulty in paying rent'.
Appeals can be made against the Council's decisions on who to pay, please see the leaflet below: Local Housing Allowance: Reviews and Appeals'
The change will only apply to new claims for benefit made after 7th April 2008, with some exceptions, where an existing Housing Benefit claimant moves after that date or has a break in their claim of more than 1 week.
The LHA rates will be reviewed annual by the Valuation Office agency which will be widely publicised. This means that anybody thinking of renting a property in the private sector (not where the landlord is a Housing Association) and expecting to claim assistance with their housing costs, will know in advance the figure on which their entitlement will be based, and will be able to make informed decisions on which properties are within their financial means.
If you would like any further information on LHA, please email the Benefit Service on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01424 787000.
Each Council in East Sussex will also advertise their local rates on their own websites. Use these links to check the rate for a property in their area: