Assistance with paying rent for private accommodation
If you’re on a low income, whether you’re working or not, and need financial help to pay all or part of your rent, you may be able to get Housing Benefit. If you are renting a property or room from a private landlord, the Local Housing Allowance is used to work out how much Housing Benefit you get.
The most Local Housing Allowance you can get is the same as your ‘eligible’ rent.
Eligible rent includes:
- rent for the accommodation
- charges for some services, such as lifts, communal laundry facilities or play areas.
Even if it’s included in your rent, you won’t get any Local Housing Allowance for:
- water charges
- charges for heating, hot water, lighting, or cooking
- payments for food or fuel in board and lodgings or hostels.
The amount of Local Housing Allowance you may get also depends on members of the household as well as the claimants and partners personal and financial circumstances.
Your local council will look at:
- money you and your partner or civil partner have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits, and occupational pensions
- your savings (and your partner’s or civil partner’s savings)
- your circumstances: such as your age, the size of your family and their ages, whether you or any of your family are disabled, and whether anyone who lives with you could help with the rent
- the particulars of your home and the rent you pay.
Your Council will calculate your housing benefit based on the appropriate LHA rate or your rent, whichever is lower. Local Housing Allowance rates are set for different types of accommodation in each area. The rates range from a single room in a shared house, up to properties with four bedrooms. You are entitled to one bedroom for:
- every adult couple (married or unmarried)
- any other adult aged 16 or over
- any two children of the same sex aged under 16
- any two children aged under 10
- any other child
- however, if you rent a room and share some facilities such as the kitchen, or are under 25, you may fall under the new ‘Shared Accommodation Rate’. Please note as of January 1 2012 the shared accommodation rate will go up to include the under 35s.
Checking the rates will help you find out how much help with your rent you might get – before you find somewhere to live. Knowing this will make it easier for you to decide which properties you can afford.
The payment will normally be made straight to your bank or building society account. Payment is not normally made to your landlord – it is up to you to pay your rent to your landlord. If you don’t pay your rent, you may be taken to court and evicted from the property.
If you are worried about managing your money, ask your local council if they can help you. In some cases they may be able to pay your local Housing Allowance to your landlord.
Due to ongoing welfare reforms please ensure you read the Lichfield District Council welfare reforms leaflet.
Lichfield District Council benefit calculator.
Contact Lichfield District Council by telephone on 01543 308900 or visit in person Lichfield District Council, District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6YY Monday to Friday 8.45am to 5.15pm daily.