If you are a private tenant renting a property or room from a private landlord and you are on a low income, you may be able to claim and receive local housing allowance.

Apply for local housing allowance

Current LHA rates

From April 2015North DevonNorth DevonTaunton and West SomersetTaunton and West SomersetMid and East DevonMid and East Devon
Rooms Weekly Monthly* Weekly Monthly* Weekly Monthly*
Shared Accommodation** £63.25 £274.84 £64.14 £278.70 £66.70 £289.83
1 bed need £92.05 £399.98 £92.05 £399.98 £96.96 £421.31
2 bed need £115.07 £500.01 £120.82 £524.99 £126.31 £548.85
3 bed need £138.08 £599.99 £145.67 £632.97 £151.50 £658.30
4 bed need £168.46 £732.00 £184.11 £800.00 £192.28 £835.50

*Monthly figures are given for information only, as benefit is paid weekly.
** "Shared Accommodation"means a room in a house with shared facilities.

What LHA rate am I entitled to?

The maximum amount of housing benefit you can get depends on:

  • the number of bedrooms you need
  • the area you live in and
  • the rate set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) for this number of bedrooms for the area you live in

The rates that are set by the VOA are the maximum amounts, the actual amount of entitlement will depend on your personal financial situation.

Number of rooms

The maximum rate for Local Housing Allowance is the four-bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate. If your family needs five or more bedrooms, you will be restricted to the four bedroom rate.

We will decide how many rooms according to the Housing Benefit rules you need.

  • if you live in one room and share some facilities (for example a kitchen or bathroom) with other people, you will only receive the rate for shared accommodation
  • if you are under 35 and live on your own, you will only be entitled to the rate for shared accommodation
  • single claimants aged 35 and over, care leavers aged 22 and under and childless couples will qualify for the one bedroom rate of LHA, but if you choose to live in shared accommodation you will only receive the rate for shared accommodation
  • if you are severely disabled, or live with a severely disabled partner, and have no dependent children, your benefit will be based on the one bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate


If the above categories do not apply to you, we will work out your number of rooms as one bedroom for each of the following:

  • a couple
  • a person over 16
  • two children of the same sex aged under 16
  • two children of any sex who are younger than 10
  • any other single child under 16

You may also be allowed an additional bedroom if:

  • you or your partner need overnight care from someone who doesn't normally live with you
  • you are an approved foster carer and either have a foster child or children living with you or you are waiting for a child/children to be placed with you
  • your children are unable to share a bedroom because of severe disabilities – we will assess your individual circumstances and decide where it is inappropriate for the children to be expected to share a room

Please note if you have an adult child or children who are away from home serving as a member of the Armed Forces, a bedroom will continue to be allowed for them as long as they have an intention to return to your property. The same applies to adult children who are away undertaking a course of advanced education.

Current Local Housing Allowance rates are listed in the table above.

If your rent is higher than the Local Housing Allowance

The maximum benefit you will receive is the LHA rate for the size of your household in your area. If your rent is more than this figure, you will need to make up this shortfall yourself.

If you are having difficulties, you may be able to apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment.

If your rent is lower than the Local Housing Allowance

The maximum Housing Benefit you can receive will not be more than your rent.

Exemptions

Some properties are exempt from LHA:
  • tenancies with registered social landlords (eg. housing associations)
  • tenancies that began before 15 January 1989
  • some supported housing
  • caravans, houseboats and hostels
  • if the rent officer decides that a substantial part of your rent is for meals that are cooked for you

If you have any questions or need any more information please contact the Benefits team on 01271 388877 or email benefits@northdevon.gov.uk