Changes to Local Housing Allowance (affecting private tenants only)

Written on . Posted in Benefits, Residents, Your money

The rules surrounding Local Housing Allowance (LHA) do change from time to time. this page details the most recent changes as well as upcoming changes.

April 2011

  • LHA is only payable for shared accommodation, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom and 4 bedroom properties.
  • The £15.00 excess which was payable if the amount of Local Housing Allowance received is more than the rent charged stopped. This stopped immediately for new claims made after 1st April 2011 but at a later date for existing claims.
  • LHA rules now includes provisions for a carer that has to stay overnight to look after a disabled claimant or partner but does not usually live as part of the household (providing the property has a separate bedroom for the carer to sleep in.) For example a disabled customer that lives in a 2 bedroom property prior to April 2011 would be restricted to the 1 bed rate, but after April 2011 they would be entitled to the 2 bedroom property.

These new rules came into force for all new claims from the 1st April 2011. For existing customers receiving Local Housing Allowance the changes will not take effect until one of the following happens

  • change of address, or
  • number of people in the home changes so that a new Local Housing Allowance level applies, or
  • the first anniversary date after 1st April 2011 is reached. However for customers who reach their anniversary date there is an 9 month transitional protection. This means that the old rate will continue for a further 9 months.

January 2012

From 1st January 2012 the government is bringing in further changes to certain people who receive Housing Benefit via the Local Housing Allowance scheme and Housing Benefit via the scheme prior to Local Housing Allowance.

The change is going to affect single claimants who are under the age of 35.

Currently single people under the age of 25 are only entitled to the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance or the Single Room Rate of a Rent Officer Decision for the scheme prior to Local Housing Allowance.

NOTE: By single people we mean living by themselves with no partner, no dependant children, no non dependants, no carer and no sub tenants.

From 1st January 2012 this age restriction will increase from 25 to 35 years old. This means that single people under the age of 35 will be restricted to the lower shared accommodation Local Housing Allowance rate OR the single room rate of a Rent Officer Decision.

When will the change take effect?

The date that the change will take effect is different for new claimants than it is for existing claimants.

New Claimants – For those claiming benefit after 1st January 2012, if you are single and under 35 you will come immediately under the new rules.

Existing Claimants – For existing claimants there 2 different ways that the changes will come into effect. If you are single and under 35 and

  • you are currently receiving the Transitional Protection for the Local Housing Allowance April 2011 changes (see above) you will start receiving the lower shared accommodation rate once your 9 months transitional protection runs out.
  • you are not receiving the transitional protection because you made your claim after 1st April 2011 but before 1st January 2012 OR you receive the Housing Benefit scheme prior to Local Housing Allowance, you will move to the lower shared accommodation rate on the anniversary of your claim.

Exceptions to the change

The following groups of people are exempt for the new rules and will not be restricted to the shared accommodation rate or single room rent.

  • If you are in receipt of middle or high rate care component of Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance.
  • If you are an ex offender subject to the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements.
  • If you have spent at least 3 months in a homeless hostel or a series of homeless hostel that specialise in rehabilitating and resettlement in the community. NOTE: In order to qualify for the exemption you will need to have been offered and accepted support services to enable you to be rehabilitated or resettled into the community.

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