Benefits - Local Housing Allowance

For those in the private sector we use a rate based upon a set of values provided by the Valuation Office for the Harlow area. The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate a client qualifies for is dictated by the size of their household. For new applications the LHA rate remains in place unless there are any changes in the household, regardless of any contracted rent increase.

There is no right of appeal against this decision and the only extra help available to meet any shortfall created or enlarged between the rent amount and the Housing benefit entitlement is by applying for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP).

Current Local Housing Allowance rates for Harlow

(CM17-CM20 but not Hertfordshire)

The Local Housing Allowance rates from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020

Size Criteria Weekly LHA Monthly LHA
£74.39 £323.24
1 bedroom £141.44 £614.59
2 bedrooms £174.82 £759.63
3 bedrooms £210.17 £913.24
4 bedrooms £288.08 £1251.78

How many rooms am I allowed?

If you claim as a new private tenant, one bedroom for:

  • Each adult couple
  • Any other adult (aged 16 or over)
  • Any two children under 10
  • Any two children of the same sex aged 10 to 15
  • Any other child.

The number of bedrooms you need is used to decide. The LHA rate your claim will be based upon.

Example 1: If you rent a 2 bedroom property and you need a 2 bedroom property under LHA rules, Housing Benefit will be calculated using the 2 bedroom rate.

Example 2: If you rent a 3 bedroom property but qualify for a 2 bedroom rate, you will only receive Housing Benefit calculated using the 2 bedroom rate and will have to pay the shortfall from your other income.

Example 3: If you rent a 1 bedroom property but qualify for a 2 bedroom rate we will use the 2 bedroom rate up to the actual rent liability but not beyond it.

Single people under 35: If you are a private tenant you will get the LHA shared accommodation rate. There are some exceptions and you should ask us for more advice.

Single people aged 35 years old and over and couples with no children: If you have 1 bedroom and share one or more of the following; living room, kitchen, bathroom or toilet, you will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate.  If you have 1 bedroom and do not share your living room, kitchen, bathroom or toilet you will be entitled to the 1 bedroom rate.

Joint tenants: Joint tenants are people who are not a couple but share a property and are named separately on the tenancy agreement. Joint tenants will get the LHA for their own household; they cannot include the family of the other tenant. Single Joint tenants are normally paid the shared accommodation rate even though they have their own bedrooms.

Young Individuals

If you are single and under 35 you are referred to as a young individual by the Housing benefit regulations, this age limit was extended from 25 to 35 on 1 January 2012. This affects the maximum amount of Housing benefit that we can pay to you. If you are a private tenant your rent will be restricted to the single room rate above. There are a few exceptions to this rule these are as follow;

  • You rent your home from Harlow Council
  • You rent your home from a registered Housing Association or Registered Social Landlord.
  • You are aged under 22 and were formally in Social Service care under a court order(under section 31(1)(a) of the Children Act 1989) which applied(or continued to apply) after your 16th birthday
  • You are aged under 22 and were formerly provided with accommodation by Social Services (under section 20 of the Children Act 1989) but are no longer in that accommodation or remain in it but the accommodation is no longer provided by Social Services
  • You have one or more dependants
  • You qualify for a severe disability premium when your benefit entitlement is calculated
  • You previously lived in certain supported hostel accommodation (you need to contact us for further details as not all hostel accommodation satisfies this criteria; telephone 01279 446633)

If any of the above apply to you your Housing Benefit will not be restricted to the single room rate but paid at the rate applicable to your household. There is one more exception:

  • You were living in the property and could afford to pay the rent before you made a claim for benefit and you had not received Housing benefit in the last 12 months. In this case your rent will be restricted to the single room rate after the first 13 weeks.

If your rent is restricted there may be some help available through a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP). However, if you knowingly commit yourself to a rent that you cannot afford there is little chance of a DHP being made.