If you are a private tenant renting a property or a 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 Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs not the number of rooms in the property you rent.
The LHA rates are set by The Rent Service (Welsh Assembly Government), and are published each month. In most cases LHA is paid direct to the tenant, rather than the landlord.
If the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to a tenant is more than the rent charged the maximum amount of benefit that can be paid is the actual rent charged.
Housing Benefit is a means tested benefit, the claimant’s income and circumstances are taken into account when calculating entitlement. The amount of benefit a tenant is entitled to is often less that the maximum LHA rate due to their income.
Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms your household needs rathern than the number of rooms in the property you rent.
You are allowed one bedroom for the following, up to a maximum of 4 bedrooms:
- each adult couple
- any other adult (aged 16 or over)
- any two children under 10
- any two children of the same sex under 16
- or for any other child
To check the number of bedrooms you are entitled to you can use the LHA Room calculator which is available on the right hand side of this page.
- Couple with one child - 2 bedroom rate
- Single parent with a girl 6 and a boy aged 8 - 2 bedroom rate
- Couple with a girl aged 6 and boy aged 12 - 3 bedroom rate
- Single parent with a boy age 17 and boy age 12 - 3 bedroom rate
- Couple with girls aged 17 and 14 and boy aged 9 - 4 bedroom rate
- Single person aged under 35 - Shared room rate
- Single person over 35 has own bedroom but shares kitchen/bathroom/toilet - Shared room rate
- Single person over 35 has own bedroom/kitchen/bathroom self contained unit - 1 Bedroom rate
- Couple no children self contained unit - 1 Bedroom rate
Single people over 35 years old and couples with no children
If you are single and over 35 or a couple with no children you get the 1 bedroom LHA but you must rent a property that is self contained. This means that the accommodation has a bedroom/bathroom/toilet/kitchen.
Single people under 35
If you are single and under 35 you get the shared accommodation LHA rate no matter what size of property you rent.
Single people leaving care and those who are severely disabled
If you are a single care leaver under 22 or are severely disabled you will get the 1 bedroom self contained rate, regardless of the type of accommodation that you occupy.
Joint tenants are people who are not a couple but share a property and are named on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants will get the LHA for their own household.
The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate is set each month by The Rent Officer Service (Welsh Assembly Government). The current rates are below.
If the LHA rate that applies to a tenant is more than the actual rent charged, the maximum amount of benefit that can be paid is the actual rent charge.
The last 3 months LHA rates are available on the right hand side of this page.
The Local Housing Allowance scheme affects the majority of tenants in the private sector with the following exemptions:
- accommodation rented from a Housing Association
- tenancy is excluded from rent restrictions
- tenancy includes the provision of care, support or supervision and is
- provided by a social landlord, charity or voluntary organisation
- tenancy includes substantial board and attendance
- accommodation is a caravan, mobile home or houseboat site rent
In most cases LHA is paid directly into your Bank account. It is your responsibility to pay the rent to your Landlord.
If you do not have a Bank account, you will need to take steps to open one. You can then set up a standing order or direct debit to pay your rent to your Landlord. It is important you open an account without delay, as there is no alternative method of payment.
The leaflet on the right hand side of this page offers advice on how to open a Basic Bank Account. You will have to contact the Bank or Building Society yourself to open an account. If you are worried about managing your money, you can ask organisations, such as Citizens Advice, for help.
There are certain circumstances where we can make direct payments to your landlord. Please see the Payment to Landlord page for further information.
Payment to Landlords
LHA will be paid directly to the tenant, and the tenant will then be responsible for paying the rent to their Landlord.
However, the Local Authority recognises that some tenants may struggle with the responsibility of paying their rent. The Local Authority has a policy for safeguarding LHA payments. This is called a Vulnerability Policy, and when an application is made by the tenant or landlord to make payments to the landlord we will follow the guidelines included in the policy and make an appropriate decision on each case.
The Local Authority can decide to make a payment directly to the Landlord in a number of circumstances, including:
- If a tenant has learning difficulties or mobility problems that make dealing with day to day business difficult
- If a tenant has serious difficulties in communicating or speaking English
- If a tenant is dealing with gambling, drug or alcohol addiction
- If a tenant has severe debt problems
- If a tenant is unable to open a Bank account
- If a tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears with their Rent
- If paying the landlord will allow the tenant to secure or retain a tenancy
The Local Authority will usually require documentary evidence to support an application for payments to the landlord. Guidance on acceptable evidence is included on the payment to landlord request form.
The Local Authority can accept written evidence from:
- The tenant
- Family and friends of the tenant
- The Landlord
- Welfare and Support Groups
- Social Services
- G.P. (Doctor)
- Probation Service
- Department for Work and Pensions
Once the payment to landlord request and relevant supporting evidence has been received by the Benefit Section, a decision will be made as soon as possible. The tenant and Landlord will receive written confirmation of the decision, and both will have the right to ask for a Review of the decision, and/or and Appeal the decision.
Forms requesting payment of Housing Benefit to the landlord are available in the document section.
Payment to Landlord Reviews
If it is decided to make payments to the landlord this decision will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the circumstances surrounding the decision still apply.
The Council considers it extremely important that the most vulnerable members of society are protected at all times. Some tenants may not be able to deal with budgeting and paying their rent on a regular basis, and Local Authorities have been encouraged to develop the Vulnerability Policy to protect such individuals. The policy has been developed in consultation with agencies such as Citizens Advice and Shelter Cymru.