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The Local Housing Allowance Cap

From April 2019, many social housing tenants will see the help they get towards their rent from Housing Benefit / Universal Credit capped at the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to them.

This is because changes mean that if the amount you are entitled to under the Local Housing Allowance rules is less than the amount you would get under the ‘Bedroom Tax’ rules, the help you get will be based on the lower amount.

So, if the Local Housing Allowance rate applicable to you in your area is lower than the amount of help you are entitled to at the moment, and you have no change in your circumstances, you may see a reduction in the help you can get from April 2019. You can check The Local Housing Allowance rates for your area can be found at http://lha-direct.voa.gov.uk/Search.aspx

Will this apply to me?

  • You could be affected by this change from April 2019 if:
  • You live in ‘general needs’ housing, you are claiming help with your rent via Housing Benefit and you took on your tenancy on or after 1st April 2016.
  • You live in ‘general needs’ housing and you are claiming help with your rent via Universal Credit. (It does not matter when you took on your tenancy).
  • You live in supported or sheltered accommodation. (It does not matter when you took on your tenancy). The lowest ‘Shared Accommodation Rate’ of the Local Housing Allowance will not apply to anyone in supported accommodation

Will anyone not be affected?

You will not be affected by this change if all the following apply on 1st April 2019:

  • you live in ‘general needs’ (i.e. not supported) accommodation and
  • you took on your tenancy before 1st April 2016 and
  • you are still receiving help with your housing costs through Housing Benefit – ie you have not yet had to make a claim for Universal Credit

NOTE: this new rule can affect you however old you are i.e. pensioners are not excluded.

Don’t forget - if the changes do apply to you, but the amount of help you get towards your rent under the ‘Bedroom Tax’ rules is less than the Local Housing Allowance rate for you, the help you get towards your rent will not change due to this new rule.

Please contact us if you are concerned about this change.