Rent lower than Local Housing Allowance

Rent lower than Local Housing Allowance

New Local Housing Allowance rules

After April 2011 if the rent you pay is less than your standard Local Housing Allowance then your Local Housing Allowance is your actual rent – you do not get to keep anything.

Old Local Housing Allowance rules (pre-April 2011 claimants)

Until April 2011, if the rent you pay is less than your standard Local Housing Allowance you can keep up to £15 a week of the difference. This provides an incentive to find a cheaper rent.

If your weekly rent is within £15 a week of your Local Housing Allowance then you can keep all of the difference and the standard Local Housing Allowance rate applies.

If your weekly rent is more than £15 a week below your Local Housing Allowance then your Local Housing Allowance is your actual rent plus £15 per week. This means you can keep a maximum of £15 per week on top of your rent. For example, if your Local Housing Allowance is £100 a week but the actual rent you pay is £80 a week then the most you can claim for is £95 a week (£80+£15 = £95): in effect your Local Housing Allowance is £95 a week.

Date of Change

From April 2011 all new Housing Benefit claims by private sector tenants will be calculated under the new rules.

If you are already getting Housing Benefit you will not normally be affected until the anniversary date of your claim (the date you first made your current claim). For instance, if your Housing Benefit claim started on 1st July 2009 then your claim will be re-calculated from 1st July 2011. However, if after 1st April 2011 your circumstances change, for instance if someone stops living with you or if you move house, then your claim will be re-calculated and you will not be able to claim for more than your rent.
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