What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?
The maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can get depends on the number of bedrooms you need – not the number of bedrooms you have, this is called Local Housing Allowance (LHA).
Under the LHA rules one room is allowed as a bedroom for each of the following (each person only counting in the first category which applies to them):
- A couple
- A single person aged 16 or more
- A child under the age of 16
- Two children of the same sex under the age of 16
- Two children (of opposite sexes) under the age of 10
If you would like to calculate the number of bedrooms you need, you can use the calculator on the Rent Service website.
There are some exceptions to these rules – see more detail on how LHA is calculated on Shelter Legal England.
Single claimants living in shared accommodation or any single claimant under the age of 35 will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate of LHA.
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 unless the property is cheaper than usual for the area. If you get into rent arrears, you could lose your home.
LHA rates for Wyre Forest
|Room||1 bed||2 bed||3 bed||4 bed|
Extra room allowed for single disabled people who need overnight care
If you are 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 - proof of qualifying benefits needed
- care is provided
Please tell us if you have an overnight carer, so that we can look at your claim again.
What if I can’t pay the shortfall?
If it becomes difficult for you to make up the shortfall between the amount of benefit you receive, and the rent you have to pay, you must 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 information is for guidance only. It does not cover all the rules for all the benefits for every situation, nor does it provide a full interpretation of the rules. It should not be treated as a complete and authoritative statement of the law.