Local housing allowance

For private tenants, except those who rent from a housing association, the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the maximum rent figure to be used in the calculation of housing benefit.

The Rent Officer Service issues maximum rent levels for all sizes of properties in a given area and housing benefit claims are assessed on a set amount, the Local Housing Allowance.

The Local Housing Allowance amount depends on the number of bedrooms required by the claimant’s household – this is called the size criteria.

Broad Rental Market Areas

The Rent Service has divided the country into Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs).

There is only one BRMA in Newport and the Rent Service has issued the following LHA amounts. These amounts are now fixed for twelve months from 1 April 2015:

Local Housing Allowance for BRMA

Category 

Newport, £ per week

Shared accommodation

55.05

1 bedroom

85.85

2 bedrooms

103.56

3 bedrooms

119.71

4 bedrooms

158.05

 

The LHA amount used in the calculation is valid for 12 months from 1 April 2015 or until the claimant has a change of circumstance that affects the bedroom requirements.

The LHA amount is reviewed on 1 April each year.

The size criteria

One bedroom is allowed for each of the following:

  • a couple
  • someone who is 16 or over
  • two children of the same sex until they are 16
  • two children who are younger than 10
  • any other child (other than a foster child or child whose main home is elsewhere)
  • a carer (or group of carers) providing overnight care.

Each person is counted once in the first group that they would come into.

Not everyone in the house is counted when working out the number of bedrooms required.

The tenant and their partner are counted as well as any children or young people they are responsible for.

If the tenant has any other adults who are not boarders or lodgers, they are counted. Joint tenants are not counted.

A recent announcement by the Government has introduced two changes across both the private and social rented sectors which relate to two specific groups and apply from 1 April 2013:

• an additional room will be allowed for a foster child or children living with an approved foster carer

• parents of armed forces personnel who are away from home on operations will continue to have them included when applying the size criteria.

Another separate announcement by the Government means that local authorities can allow an extra bedroom for children who are unable to share because of their severe disabilities.

Shared accommodation

The LHA amount for shared accommodation applies to people that live in non self-contained accommodation, e.g. a single claimant lives in a room with shared use of a kitchen, living room or bathroom.

This rate will apply to:

  • single claimants under the age of 35 – this is a legislative change from 1 January 2012 and is regardless of the type of accommodation that they live in
  • childless couples if they live in non self contained accommodation
  • joint tenants if they share part of the accommodation, e.g. shared use of the kitchen

This rate will not apply to:

  • care leavers under 22, or a customer who lives with a care leaver under 22 who is their partner, and they have no dependent children
  • single claimants or couples who have no dependent children and who have the Severe Disability Premium included in the calculation of their benefit

In these circumstances the one bedroom LHA rate will apply whether or not they share accommodation and regardless of its size. 

Contact

Newport City Council or email benefits@newport.gov.uk