Frequently asked questions regarding LHA
Changes to Housing Benefit from April
Questions and Answers
Will I be affected by the changes to
Local Housing Allowance rates?
If you are renting from a private landlord and
you made your claim for Housing Benefit at your current address on
or after the 7 April 2008 it is likely that you will be affected by
I have been getting Housing Benefit
since before April 2008 could the changes affect me?
Providing you continue to live in the same
property and you don’t have a break in your Housing Benefit claim
the Local Housing Allowance arrangements will not apply to you.
Will I be affected by the
The caps are most likely to affect people who
are renting properties in central London boroughs. If
your weekly rent is more than the cap for the Local Housing
Allowance rate that applies to you, your Housing Benefit will be
How do I know which Local Housing
Allowance rate applies to me?
You can use the following information as a
guide to work out how many bedrooms you are allowed. You are
allowed one bedroom for:
· every adult
couple (married or unmarried)
· any other
adult aged 16 or over
· any two
children of the same sex aged under 16
· any two
children aged under 10
· any other
The maximum allowance is for four bedrooms
from 1 April 2011.
Different rules may apply if you are under 25
or live in shared accommodation. Contact South Staffordshire
Council on 01902 696668 for further information or go to:
I need a property with more than four
bedrooms. Will I only get benefit at the four bedroom
The maximum Housing Benefit you get will be
based on the four bedroom rate. You can still look for
properties with more than four bedrooms, or other rooms that can be
used as bedrooms, with rents that are within the four bedroom
I am living in a self contained studio
flat what rate applies to me?
The one bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate
will apply to you.
I am already getting Housing Benefit
when will I be affected by the changes?
If you are already getting Housing Benefit you
will not normally be affected until the anniversary of your
claim. But if there is a change in your household such as
someone leaving or someone coming to live with you or if you move
the changes could apply sooner.
If I am thinking of renting and
claiming Housing Benefit, how much rent should I agree to
There is information available about the
levels of Local Housing Allowance rates on the following
The rent I am paying now is likely to
be more than the Housing Benefit I will get when the changes come
in. What should I do?
You can talk to your landlord about the
changes and see if they will drop the rent on your property. If
that isn’t possible you could start looking for somewhere
cheaper. You might want to talk about your situation with
your local authority housing options team and Housing Benefit
department.or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
My landlord won’t reduce my rent and it is going to be
difficult for me to move is there any other
Your local authority can help some people with
a Discretionary Housing Payment to meet the gap between their
benefit entitlement and the rent they pay. The amount of
money available for these payments is limited so your authority
will have to consider your circumstances carefully.
My Housing Benefit is paid directly to
my landlord, what should I do if my Local Housing Allowance rate is
reduced? Or how will I know that the amount paid to my landlord
will still meet my rent?
The Housing Benefit department at your local
authority will be able to give you information. You might
find it helps to talk to your landlord about the changes.
I am getting an excess between my rent
and my Local Housing Allowance rate. Will I stop getting
If you are getting an access it may stop from
your anniversary date following 1 April 2011. There is information
available on the following website;
Do I have to be getting Housing
Benefit under the Local Housing Allowance arrangements to get the
allowance for another bedroom for an overnight carer?
No. This change applies to all tenants who
meet the qualifying conditions and live in privately rented
accommodation no matter how their Housing Benefit is worked
I think I will be due an increase in
my Housing Benefit because I have a carer who stays overnight – who
should I tell?
Make sure that your local authority knows you
have an overnight carer so that they can look at your Housing
Benefit entitlement again. You must already have an extra bedroom
in your home available for the carer to use before you get this
help. If you are already getting Housing Benefit and meet the
conditions for this extra help you will be entitled to it from the
date the legislation becomes effective.
Other frequently asked questions
1. What if the rent is more than the
LHA, can the rent still be increased?
The landlord can charge whatever rent they feel appropriate,
however Housing benefit will still be based on the LHA regardless
of what is being charged.
2. Does the rent Service hold records of everyone’s
The Rent Service cannot use the information from the Council’s
database to establish the LHA rates. They have to collect
3. Do landlords have to give their rent figures to the
No, but the more information they have the more realistic the
LHA rates will be.
4. If there is a rent increase due on a property in
April, can the landlord base the rent on the LHA
The landlord can charge any rent he/she feels is appropriate. If
that amount equals the LHA rate for that size of property then that
5. What is a Credit Union?
A credit union is a non profit making organisation which comes
under the same rules as banks. It allows people who may have
difficulty opening a bank account to access some of the same
services and also can give cheap loans.
6. Can the tenant pay their rent by standing order from
a credit union account?
7. Where the council can pay the landlord if the tenant
is in 8 weeks arrears, is that 8 weeks of the LHA
No it is 8 full weeks rent arrears which could have accrued at
8. How will you monitor evictions caused due to paying
the tenant instead of the landlord?
From information from landlords and the Homeless Team.
9. Why do you have to wait until someone is 8 weeks in
arrears before you can swap payments to the landlord?
Because that is the time limit set in legislation. However if a
tenant doesn’t make the first payment to you after 4 weeks please
contact us and we will suspend the case and try to contact the
10. Will you let the
landlord know it a tenant is a bad payer and will you share this
information with other councils?
No, we cannot give a landlord this sort of information. We are
hoping to make arrangements with the surrounding councils to share
this sort of information.
|Housing Benefit & Council Tax Support
|Telephone: (01902) 696668
||South Staffordshire Council
|Fax: (01902) 696630
||P.O. Box 1644