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Local Housing Allowance if you rent privately

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is not a separate benefit. It's the rate used to work out the maximum amount of benefits you can get towards your rent. It applies when:

  • you rent from a private landlord or letting agent

  • you get Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit

Your LHA rate is based on:

  • how many bedrooms you’re qualified for

  • the council area you live in

Check how many bedrooms you can claim for

Your LHA rate depends on how many bedrooms you're qualified for. This is worked out based on who you live with and their ages.

You can claim 1 bedroom for each single person aged 16 or over. 2 people are expected to share a room if they’re either:

  • a couple

  • both under 10

  • both under 16 and the same sex

If someone in your household is disabled and needs regular overnight care, you can have an extra bedroom for a carer to stay in.

You can claim for a maximum of 4 bedrooms.

Directgov's LHA bedroom calculator lets you work out how many rooms you can claim for.

If you’re under 35

You can usually only get the shared accommodation rate if you're single. This is lower than the 1 bedroom rate because it's based on the cost of renting a single room in a shared home.

You could get a higher rate if you’re under 35 and any of these apply to you:

  • you live with your partner, children or other household members

  • you get the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment or Adult Disability Payment

  • you get the middle or high rate of Disability Living Allowance

  • you get the Armed Forces Independence payment

  • you’re a care leaver and under 25

  • you’ve lived in a hostel or refuge with support services for at least 3 months since you were 16

  • you’re a former prisoner aged 25-34 and subject to MAPPA conditions

  • you're a victim of domestic abuse

  • you're a victim of modern slavery

Check how much you could get in your area

Once you know how many bedrooms you can claim for, check your council’s LHA rate on Directgov.

This is the maximum amount you can get. If your rent is lower than this, you'll only get an amount equal to your rent.

If you’re in work, your benefits will be reduced based on your income, so you might not get the full LHA rate. Your partner's income and savings are also counted.

Your benefits could also be reduced if:

  • you're affected by the benefit cap, which puts a limit on the total amount of benefits you can get - check the limit on GOV.UK

  • you live with other adults who are not joint tenants, called non-dependants - check our advice on non-dependant deductions

Use the Turn2Us benefits calculator to check how much you're entitled to overall.

If LHA does not cover your full rent

If your rent is higher than your LHA rate, and you cannot afford to pay the difference, apply for Discretionary Housing Payment from the council. They’ll decide if you’re eligible based on your circumstances.

If you're having problems paying your rent, check our advice on:

If your circumstances change

To make sure you’re getting the right rate, report any relevant changes:

Last updated: 11 February 2024

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England