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Help paying your rent – Local Housing Allowance

Universal Credit

If you claim Universal Credit any help you are eligible for towards your rent costs will have already been paid within your Universal Credit payments. Therefore you do not normally need to make a separate claim for Housing Benefit. However there are some exceptions to this and if you are in supported accommodation you may continue to have Housing Benefit paid instead.

Universal Credit is slowly being made available to working age couples and families - it depends on your postcode if you will be able to claim Universal Credit. Check your postcode to see if you can apply for Universal Credit (complete the online form which will tell you if can or cannot apply for Universal Credit). If you cannot claim Universal Credit yet you should apply for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance.

If in doubt please do not hesitate to contact us

Help to pay your rent

If you do not receive help towards your rent within a Universal Credit claim there are 2 other ways that you can get help if you are on a low income :

  • Local Housing Allowance (Housing Benefit) - for people that are renting from a private landlord
  • Housing Benefit – This is for people that rent from a housing association, rent a caravan or houseboat, or have a tenancy which began before 1989

Local Housing Allowance is help given to people on a low income to reduce the amount of rent they have to pay to their landlord if they are renting from a private landlord.

It replaced Housing Benefit in 2008. However if you have been receiving Housing Benefit since before 7th April 2008, Local Housing Allowance will only apply to you if you change address or have a break in your claim.

Local Housing Allowance is based on the size of your household and the area in which you live. View your Housing Benefit details online.

You can use online calculators to work out if you can apply for benefits and how much you might be able to get.

The amount of Local Housing Allowance you receive depends on

  • Who lives with you
  • Which area you live in
  • How much money you have coming in
  • What savings you have
  • The number of rooms you need

It is not based on the rent that your landlord is charging for your property.

We will work out if you should receive Local Housing Allowance and if so how much, when you apply for Housing Benefit (PDF, 504KB).

Housing Benefit cannot normally be paid if you:

  • Live with and pay rent to a close relative
  • Used to live with your landlord as a member of their family
  • Are renting a home that you used to share with your ex-partner
  • Are responsible for your landlord’s child
  • Used to own the property you now rent
  • Live in the home as part of your job
  • Live in a care home
  • Are a full time student

Receiving your Local Housing Allowance

In most cases payment of Local Housing Allowance will be made direct to you and it will be your responsibility to use it to pay your rent to your landlord at the right time.

Provide us with your bank details for housing benefit payments if you are renting a property (PDF, 166KB).

If you do not already have a bank account please make arrangements to open one. If you are unable to open a current account due to your credit history you can open a basic bank account.

We cannot pay into Post Office accounts, and some Building Society accounts do not accept payments – we will contact you to ask for an alternative account if needed.

Alternatively payment will be paid by cheque every 4 weeks.

For some tenants who find managing their finances difficult we can decide to make payments directly to your landlord. We may also do this if we are told that you are 8 or more weeks behind with your rent. You can request that Local Housing Allowance is paid directly to your landlord (PDF, 39KB). Read more about payments direct to your landlord in our Safeguards Policy (PDF, 200KB).

When payments are made

Payments are made directly to tenants every 2 weeks in arrears, and to Landlords every 4 weeks in arrears.

Payments to tenants by cheque are paid every 4 weeks in arrears.

Working out your Housing Allowance

For working out Local Housing Allowance, Harborough is divided into 3 areas: Rugby and East; Leicester; and Northants and Central. The postcode of your property is used to work out which area you live in. Find out what area your property is in. The Local Housing Allowance rate is not affected by how much rent you pay.

It is also worked out by how many bedrooms you need based on who lives with you. One bedroom is allowed for:

  • Every adult couple
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over
  • Any 2 children regardless of sex aged under age 10
  • Any 2 children of the same sex aged under 16
  • Any other child

One additonal room is also allowed for the following circumstances :

  • If you are an approved foster carer, even if you do not currently have a foster child placed with you, as long as you have fostered a child before, or have become an approved foster carer within the last 12 months 
  • If your adult child who normally lives with you is in the armed forces but is deployed away from home on operations 

We may also be able to award one extra room if certain critieria is met for the following circumstances :

  • If you are disabled and have a partner living with you, or a disabled child or adult lives with you
  • If a carer stays overnight regularly to look after either yourself or someone living in your household

Please contact us for further advice.

The room rate is capped to a maximum of 4.

Find out your Local Housing Allowance rate.

You can make an appeal if you disagree with our decision on your Local Housing Allowance.

Local Housing Allowance rates are reviewed every April by the Valuation Office Agency

Current Local Housing Allowance Rates effective from April 2017 to March 2018

Weekly Local Housing Allowance rates for Rugby and East
Accommodation   Weekly Monthly

Shared accommodation

£62.12

£269.93

One bedroom

£92.06

£400.02

Two bedroom

£116.52

£506.31

Three bedroom

£134.02

£582.35

Four bedroom

£182.96

£795.00

 

Weekly Local Housing Allowance rates for Northants Central
Accommodation  Weekly  Monthly

Shared accommodation

£52.24

£227.00

One bedroom

£82.40

£358.05

Two bedroom

£105.94

£460.33

Three bedroom

£123.58

£536.98

Four bedroom

£164.79

£716.05

 

Weekly Local Housing Allowance rates for Leicester
 Accommodation Weekly Monthly

Shared accommodation

£59.59

£258.93

One bedroom

£86.30

£374.99

Two bedroom

£109.32

£475.02

Three bedroom

£126.58

£550.02

Four bedroom

£163.16

£708.97

 

 

A single person aged under 35 years who does not have a non-dependent person living with them can get the standard rate of Local Housing Allowance for a room in shared accommodation - properties where the tenant has the exclusive use of only 1 bedroom and they can share the use of 1 or more of the following rooms: kitchen, bathroom, toilet, any room suitable for living in.

A severely disabled person under 35 years and care leavers under 22 years can get the Local Housing Allowance rate for a one bedroom self-contained property as long as they rent a property of at least that size. Anyone that can get the severe disability premium will be able to get this for the 1 room rate regardless of the size of their accommodation.

Backdating Housing Benefit

We cannot usually start your claim before the date that we received it.  However, if you can show that there was a good reason for not making an application earlier we will consider backdating your benefit payments. We cannot backdate payments because you did not know or did not think you were entitled to benefit.

We can only backdate your claim for a maximum period of 1 month for working age customers or 3 months for pensioners. 

Make an application for backdated payment of benefits (PDF, 93KB).

Housing Benefit for 2 properties

Housing Benefit is normally only paid for the rent you pay on one home at a time. There are a few exceptions to this and you may be able to get extra help if you:

Apply for Housing Benefit for 2 properties (PDF, 375KB).

Fear of violence

You may get Housing Benefit if you have left your former home and are staying away because of violence or fear of violence. The violence could have been either in your home by another person or outside your home by a former member of your family. We always have to consider if it is reasonable to pay Housing Benefit and we may pay it for up to 52 weeks. For Housing Benefit to be paid you must intend to return and live in the home you left.

Apply for Housing Benefit for 2 properties (PDF, 375KB).

Students or trainees (couples that live in separate properties)

Couples who are living in separate rented properties may get Housing Benefit for both properties. We must agree that you cannot avoid living in separate accommodation and that it is reasonable to pay benefit on both homes. There is no time limit on these payments.

Apply for Housing Benefit for 2 properties (PDF, 375KB).

New home but still paying rent on old home

If you have moved to a new home, which you rent, and still have to pay rent on your old home you may be able to get some help. The situation has to be unavoidable, for example if you were offered a new home to rent but were unable to give your old landlord the notice they needed. Housing Benefit may be paid for up to 4 weeks on your old home. For this to be considered you must have moved to your new home.

Apply for Housing Benefit for 2 properties (PDF, 375KB).

If you are temporarily absent from home - temporary absence rule

Normally Housing Benefit can only be paid if you are actually living in the property you are claiming benefit for.

However there are situations where we may still pay Housing Benefit if you are temporarily away from your home for up to 4, 13 or 52 weeks, depending on your circumstances.

To keep receiving Housing Benefit when not living at your property all the following must apply:

  • You must intend to come back to live in the property
  • The part of the property you normally live in must not have been re-let or sub-let to someone else
  • You must not be likely to be away for more than 4 weeks (13 or 52 weeks in special circumstances)

If you are paid housing benefit under the temporary absence rule and there is a change in your circumstances that means you no longer intend to return to the property you are claiming for, we will stop paying benefit from the date of change.

Also if it comes to light whilst you are away that you will be away for longer than initially thought you should contact us straight away as we may have to stop paying benefit.

Whilst you are away you should still notify us of any changes to your circumstances so as we can ensure your benefit is paid correctly.

Complete a change in circumstances form (PDF, 176KB)

If you are going abroad

The government has made a change to the rules on claiming housing benefit when your absence is outside of Great Britain.

From 28 July 2016 you can usually only get housing benefit for up to 4 weeks if your absence is outside of Great Britain (Great Britain is England, Scotland and Wales and does not include Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or the Channel Isles). If your absence commenced before 28 July 2016 please contact us for further advice as the rules will be different.

In certain circumstances you can get housing benefit when you are abroad for a longer period, for example up to:

  • 8 weeks where your absence is connected to the death of a close relative
  • 26 weeks when you are getting medical treatment
  • 26 weeks where you are working on a ship or you're a member of the armed forces on operations abroad
  • 26 weeks if you are fleeing domestic violence

When you can be away for up to 13 weeks

Examples of when you can get housing benefit for up to 13 weeks include if you are:

  • staying in a relative's home to look after them while they are ill
  • move into a care home on a trial basis to see if it meets your needs
  • on holiday

When you can be away for up to 52 weeks

Examples of when you can get housing benefit for up to 52 weeks if you're away include because you're:

  • fleeing home due to violence or a fear of violence
  • a patient in hospital
  • on a government-approved training course
  • receiving care in a residential home
  • providing care for a child whose parent or guardian is away from home receiving medical treatment

If you are in prison or on remand

You can get housing benefit for up to 52 weeks if you are on bail or in prison on remand.

If you have been sentenced and are in prison, you can only get housing benefit for up to 13 weeks.

If you are absent from home again

If you return to your home for at least 24 hours, your period of absence away from your home starts again.

For example, you were in hospital for six months and were discharged, but after a week you had to go back into hospital. You can then get housing benefit for up to another 52 weeks.

This does not apply to if you are a convicted prisoner allowed home on temporary release

Tell us if you want to claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support for a period of temporary absence from your property (PDF, 401KB).