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How Local Housing Allowance works

Local Housing Allowance is used to calculate the maximum amount people renting from a private landlord can claim in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit. This maximum rent is based on where you live, the number of bedrooms you need and the rent you pay.

First we work out which 'Broad Rental Market Area' you live in (this is the area in which a fixed rate of Local Housing Allowance is payable). Broad Rental Market Areas are not the same as local authority areas - normally one Broad Rental Market Area covers a number of councils. In some cases a local authority contains two or more Broad Rental Market Areas, as the boundaries are not the same. For more information see Broad Rental Market Area.

The number of people who live with you as members of your family determines how many bedrooms you need and the size of the accommodation you will qualify for under the LHA rules. Other rooms such as living rooms, kitchens or toilets are not included in LHA rules. For more information on the number of rooms allowed see calculating your bedroom entitlement.

If the rent you pay is less than your Local Housing Allowance then this can affect the calculation. For more information see rent lower than Local Housing Allowance.

If you were a private tenant and in receipt of Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008 you are not be affected by Local Housing Allowance unless there is a break in your Housing Benefit entitlement or you move and enter into a new private tenancy agreement. For more information see date of your tenancy and Local Housing Allowance.

Local Housing Allowance rules changed in April 2011. For more information on the changes see changes to Local Housing Allowance.