Who is affected by LHA?
Started in East Dunbartonshire in April 2008, the LHA scheme did not replace the existing Housing Benefit scheme.
However, private tenants making their first claim for Housing Benefit after 7 April 2008 have their entitlement calculated using the terms and conditions of the LHA scheme.
Private tenants already in receipt of Housing Benefit before 7 April 2008 will not transfer to the LHA scheme unless:
- they move to a new address and still rent from a private landlord (even if they do not change landlords)
- they make a new claim for Housing Benefit after having no entitlement to benefit for one week or more
Who is not affected by LHA?
Not all tenants are affected by the changes. Those not affected are:
- Council tenants
- housing association tenants
- private tenants with a tenancy start date before 2 January 1989
- people who live in a caravan, mobile home, hostel or houseboat
- tenants with landlords that provide care, support or supervision
- tenants that have a rent which is mainly for board and attendance, for example hotel accommodation
How is LHA different from Housing Benefit?
The LHA scheme differs from the existing Housing Benefit scheme in two main ways:
- local authorities will not usually need to refer the amount of rent that a tenant pays to the Rent Service to determine the rental amount to be used in the calculation of a tenant’s entitlement to benefit - an LHA rate will be used
- under the terms of LHA, most tenants will no longer be able to choose to have their benefit paid to their landlords. However, in certain circumstances payments can be made direct to landlords where the local authority considers the claimant to be likely to have difficulty managing their affairs (please refer to our Vulnerable Claimants Policy).
How is an LHA award worked out?
The amount of LHA that a tenant will receive depends on:
- the area they live in
- the LHA rates for that area
- the LHA rate that they are entitled to
- the personal and financial circumstances of the tenant and the people that live with them.