Please Note: Local Housing Allowance changed from April 2011 and changed again from January 2012
From April 2011 Housing Benefit changed for those customers renting their home from a private landlord who claimed Housing Benefit after 7 April 2008 at their current address. What the change means for those affected is that the amount of Housing Benefit paid may go down.
What are the changes?
The maximum £15.00 excess that some customers get will end . This means entitlement to Housing Benefit for existing customers will reduce from the LHA anniversary date by a maximum of £15.00 per week, and immediately for new claims, change of address and increase/decrease in room allowances.
The excess is because, for some customers, their contractual rent is lower that their Local Housing Allowance Rate, the difference up to a maximum of £15.00 is classed as eligible rent when the amount of Housing Benefit entitlement is worked out.
Additionally, existing claims will have a maximum of 9 months from the LHA anniversary date
before the new LHA rate reduces current entitlement, providing there is no change of address, break in claim or increase/decrease in room allowance. Surrey Heath Borough Council's Housing Benefit Section can help you to find the exact date the new LHA rate will affect you. Contact details can be found on the Contact Us on the right hand side of this page.
From 1 April 2011 there are maximum levels for Housing Benefit payable in any area. The maximum levels are:
To work out which bedroom rate applies to you please use this link - Bedroom Calculator Opens in a new window
Currently the LHA rates for the areas covered by Surrey Heath Borough Council area are all lower than the new cap, except for the 4 bedroom rate in the Guildford LHA area, which does cover properties in the Surrey Heath area.
If you want to know what your Local Housing Allowance rate is now, visit the LHA Direct website Opens in a new window. This will help you plan for the changes next year. These rates change every month, so keep checking.
LHA Information up to 31st March 2011
The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the cornerstone of the government's Housing Benefit reform programme. LHA is an allowance based on the size of the household, the area the property is in and the number of bedrooms required. There are no changes to the entitlement rules - these will be based on household income and savings and proof of a valid tenancy. Payment will normally be to the tenant, who will then pay the landlord.
Each local authority will be divided into Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA). Rent Officers will set individual LHA rates for each BRMA. These will be published by the local authority so that landlords and prospective LHA customers can be clear about the maximum amount of rent that LHA could cover. Surrey Heath has 3 BRMA's, all with different rates. These BRMA's are Guildford, Blackwater Valley and East Thames Valley. View the current Local Housing Allowance RatesFile Type: Adobe PDF document, File Size:34.73 Kb (5 seconds @ 56K) Opens in a new window.
Local Housing Allowance Rates
To help calculate your Local Housing Allowance use the links below:
There are leaflets on the Local Housing Allowance below, to help you find out more details about the scheme. There are also leaflets to help you set up a bank account.