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Local Housing Allowance (LHA)

LHA rates are set annually at the lower of:

  • The previous LHA rate uprated by the previous September’s CPI or;
  • The 30th percentile of local market rents in the previous September

Annual uprating makes LHA simpler to understand and easier for people to plan for the future when they know the maximum amount of HB that will be available for the year ahead.

All claimants will have their benefit assessed each April.

Wyre Forest's LHA rates from April 2015

 

LHA April 2015

Worcester North

£61.45

£92.05

£117.70

£133.32

£176.56

BRMA

Room

1 Bed

2 Bed

3 Bed

4 Bed

Under the new rules the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can receive will be decided by the number of bedrooms you require – not the number of bedrooms you have. The amount of benefit you receive may reduce depending upon your income, savings and circumstances and the Benefit Cap.


The rates for the Wyre Forest district, are covered by the Worcester North Broad Market Area and the Black Country Broad Market Area, and are the median (middle) cost of different sized properties across this area.

There are rules for how many bedrooms you will be treated as needing.

One room is allowed as a bedroom for each of the following occupiers, each person only counting in the first category which applies to them:

  1. A couple
  2. A single person aged 16 or more
  3. Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
  4. Two children (of the same or opposite sexes) under the age of 10
  5. A child under the age of 16


Once you know how many bedrooms you will be treated as requiring, you can look up the rate that applies. This will be the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can receive anywhere within the Worcester North area.

If you would like to calculate the number of bedrooms you require, you can use the calculator on the Rent Service website

Direct payments to landlords

The rules about when we can pay your housing benefit to your landlord have changed. We can pay your landlord where they have reduced your rent, normally to the LHA level and this secures or retains your tenancy.

If you currently have your housing benefit paid directly to yourself and think that this change means you could have it paid to your landlord please contact us on 01562 732928

Most claims will have the Housing Benefit paid directly to the tenant. It will be up to you to pay your rent and if you don’t you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.

It is hoped that we will be able to pay most people directly into a bank or building society account. This way you can arrange to pay your rent automatically by setting up a standing order to your landlord.

If you do not already have a bank or building society account you may want to set one up. Banks and building societies provide basic bank accounts. You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. You can also get advice from welfare organisations such as Citizens Advice.

There will be safeguards for tenants who may have difficulty paying their rent or who we believe are unlikely to pay their rent. We decide who this may apply to but the decision can be challenged. Tenants who owe more than the equivalent of eight weeks rent or who are having deductions from other state benefits to pay off rent arrears may have their Housing Benefit paid directly to their landlord.

LHA rates are limited to payments for a maximum of 4 bedrooms.

If you need a larger property, you can still look for properties with more than four bedrooms, or other rooms that can be used as bedrooms. However, your maximum housing benefit will be calculated based on the four bedroom rate in that area, so a shortfall is likely to develop unless the property is cheaper than usual for the area. If you get into rent arrears, you could lose your home.

The LHA Direct website has a calculator which you can use to work out how many bedrooms your household is entitled to.

Deductions from benefit if you have non-dependants

If you share your home with any adults who are not dependent on you – for example, adult sons or daughters, parents, relatives or friends, your benefit may be reduced – as it is assumed that they should pay something towards your rent, whether they actually do so or not.

This may affect you if you share your home with other adults unless they are:

You will have to make up any shortfall .You may need to ask these other adults in your home to contribute more towards your housing costs.

Extra room allowed for disabled people who need overnight care

If you or your partner is disabled and you need a carer – who doesn’t normally live with you – to stay overnight, you may qualify for help towards paying for an extra bedroom. You will need to show that:

  • you have the extra bedroom in your home available for the carer to use 
  • care is required  
  • care is provided

Please tell us if you have an overnight carer, so that we can look at your claim again. This change will apply to all private and social housing tenants, including those which are not based on local housing allowance rates.

What if I can’t pay the shortfall?

It may become difficult for you to make up the shortfall between the amount of benefit you receive, and the rent you have to pay. It is likely that some private tenants will fall into rent arrears. If this happens to you, you will need to act quickly to avoid the risk of eviction. It may be possible to:

  • talk to your landlord about reducing the rent
  • apply for a Discretionary Housing payment to help make up the shortfall
  • ask non-dependents to increase their contributions to the rent
  • find somewhere more affordable to live.

This is a brief overview of the scheme and not a statement of your legal rights.

For general enquiries you can:

Phone the Worcestershire Hub on 01562 732928

Contact the Benefits Team

Read a Guide to Local Housing Allowance for Tenants  (1,593K)

Read a Guide to Local Housing Allowance for Landlords and Agents (1,643K)

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Wyre Forest District Council