Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a method of working out Housing Benefit entitlement for tenants renting from a private landlord and is based on the area you live in, who lives with you and how much income and savings you have. Objectives of LHA The fundamental objectives of LHA are to make it easier for you to find out how much Housing Benefit you are entitled to and make it quicker for us to assess your claim. It gives you the choice of where you want to live and it is fairer as tenants in the same circumstances will receive the same amount of Housing Benefit. It also helps you to take responsibility for budgeting and paying your rent and this in turn will help you when you move into work. What are the differences between Local Housing Allowance & Housing Benefit? Local Housing Allowance is still subject to a means test, just as the original scheme is. The key differences between the two schemes are: LHA does not depend on how much rent you pay but on the size of your household. The LHA rate that you are entitled to will depend on how many people live with you and will vary from a one bedroom with shared facilities to a four bedroom rate. These rates are set by the Rent Registration Service for individual areas, known as Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs). The City of Dundee has only one BRMA. In most cases, Local Housing Allowance will be paid by direct payment to you and not to your landlord. Local Housing Allowance Rates The current rates from Shared room rate to 4 bedroom rate are available on the Local Housing Allowance Rates page. The rate of Local Housing Allowance that you are entitled to is fixed from 1 April 2016 for a period of four years. There are two circumstances where your Local Housing Allowance may change during the assessment year: if your circumstances change and this might mean that you are entitled to a different rate of Local Housing Allowance, for example, if the number of people you live with changes; or if you change address, the rate of Local Housing Allowance for the month in which you changed address will apply. Payment of Local Housing Allowance If you would like to see when your Housing Benefit cheque will be issued or when you will receive your Housing Benefit via BACS please follow the links. Housing Benefit - Payment Dates for BACS Housing Benefit - Payment Dates for Cheques You will have to pay any extra amount you need to cover your rent. However, if you paid your rent without any support from Housing Benefit in the past year, for the first 13 weeks of your award you will be entitled to Housing Benefit that will cover your full rent, without any restrictions. Vulnerability and Direct Payment Information There are safeguards in place to protect both the tenant and the landlord such as:- where the tenant is at risk and cannot manage their own financial affairs. if you owe your landlord eight weeks' rent or more, your landlord has a right to ask us to pay your Housing Benefit direct to them. if, in the past, you have not paid your rent, we may pay your Housing Benefit direct to your landlord. if we are taking amounts from your Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance to pay back rent that you owe. if an agreement is reached between the tenant and the landlord to reduce the rent to a level the tenant can afford (such as the Local Housing Allowance rate) in order to secure or retain their tenancy. In these circumstances we would discuss the amount of Housing Benefit you receive with your landlord. You may wish to read our Vulnerability and Direct Payment to Landlord Policy (99KB PDF). Appeals You can appeal against a decision we have made when working out your Housing Benefit, for example, you may disagree with the amount of income we have used to work out what you are entitled to, or you may think that we have made a mistake in the number of rooms we have used to work out your entitlement. You or your Landlord can appeal against any decision we make not to pay your Housing Benefit direct to your Landlord. You can also appeal against a decision we make about you being a vulnerable tenant. If your Landlord wins an appeal to receive your Housing Benefit, we will start paying your Landlord from the date we stopped paying you. You cannot appeal against our decision not to pay Housing Benefit to your Landlord because they are acting as your agent. You cannot appeal against the rate of Local Housing Allowance you receive or against the BRMA your Local Housing Allowance is based on unless, for example, we have made a mistake in working out the rate you are entitled to. For any other questions you may have with regards to Local Housing Allowance, you can pick up a leaflet from any of our enquiry offices, your local Library or Community Centre. Alternatively, you can contact us on 01382 431205.