Housing Benefit

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate (link opens in new window) is the maximum Housing Benefit allowed for most private tenants. Your individual LHA rate depends on where you live, and how many bedrooms you need for your household.

Where you live

Central Bedfordshire is divided into 4 areas for LHA, called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMAs). To find out which one you live in, download a list of parishes by BRMA (link opens in new window) or visit the Valuation Office Agency (link opens in new window) to search by postcode. Please contact us for advice if you are not sure which BRMA you live in.

How many bedrooms you need

You are entitled to one bedroom for each of the following, up to a maximum of 4 bedrooms:

  • every adult couple
  • any other adult (aged 16 or over)
  • any two children of the same sex under 16
  • any two children aged under 10
  • a child, if there is no other child they can share with
  • a foster child or children
  • a non-resident carer or group of carers

We will allow an extra bedroom if:

  • you are an approved foster carer between placements, for up to 52 consecutive weeks from your last placement
  • you are a newly approved foster carer, for up to 52 consecutive weeks from when you are approved
  • you have a non-dependent son or daughter in the armed forces, who is away from home on operations

Extra bedrooms are not allowed for children who visit the household at weekends.

Extra rooms for disabled people

We will allow an extra bedroom for children who would normally be expected to share with another child, but cannot because of their severe disabilities. We will decide whether we can allow an extra bedroom on a case-by-case basis.

The law does not allow us to pay for an extra bedroom for couples who cannot share because of a disability or a room for equipment related to a disability.

If you need an extra bedroom in these circumstances, or if you are living in a property which has been adapted because you have a disability, you may be able to get extra help from a discretionary housing payment.

Restrictions on LHA entitlement

If you live in one room and share facilities such as a kitchen or bathroom with other people, there is a special LHA rate. If you are under 35 and live on your own, you will also normally receive this rate.

If your actual rent is lower than your LHA rate, your maximum Housing Benefit will be your full rent.

Protection from the LHA rules

In some cases your maximum benefit can be protected from LHA restrictions. After the protected period runs out, your maximum benefit will reduce to your LHA rate.

You will qualify for 13 weeks' protection if:

  • you, and your partner if you have one, have not received Housing Benefit from any council in the 52 weeks before your new claim
  • when your rent liability started, you and the occupiers of your home could afford the financial commitments involved

If you qualify for 13 week protection, then for the first 13 weeks of your claim your maximum benefit will be your full rent (less any charges such as water or electricity), instead of the LHA rate.

You will qualify for 12 months' protection if:

  • any of the occupiers of your home have died within the last 12 months
  • you have not moved home since the date of that death

If you qualify for 12 month protection, then for the 12 months following the death, your maximum benefit will be:

  • if you were getting Housing Benefit at the time of the death, your maximum benefit before the death
  • if you were not getting Housing Benefit at the time of the death, your full rent (less any ineligible charges)

We will not use LHA rates to decide your benefit if:

  • you have been claiming Housing Benefit at the same address since before 7 April 2008
  • you rent your home from the Council or a Housing Association
  • you live in supported housing
  • your tenancy started before 15 January 1989
  • you live in a caravan, houseboat or hostel
  • you pay rent for board and lodgings

Contact us

Telephone: 0300 300 8306
Email: benefits@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

Please quote your benefit claim reference in all correspondence – your claim reference is either an 8 digit number starting with 900, or a 5 digit number. You can find it on any letter we’ve sent about your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support.