Introduction to the LHA scheme

An introduction to the local housing allowance (LHA) scheme.

This content applies to Scotland

Key aims

The aims of the LHA scheme include: 

  • giving claimants an incentive to ‘shop around’ for accommodation at a rent that will be met by the LHA, and 

  • promoting personal responsibility and financial inclusion by making payments direct to the claimant rather than the landlord, and preferably into the claimant’s bank account. 

LHA calculations are less complex than the main housing benefit rules, and it was hoped that they would reduce delays in processing claims.  

The LHA rates for each area are available online

Flat rate allowance

The key principle of LHA is that entitlement will be based on a flat rate allowance, rather than on a rent officer’s figure for an individual claimant. Rates are published by the local authority each month, but are only reviewed in April of each year. 

LHA rate is based on: 

  • the 'broad market rental area' in which the claimant lives, and 

  • the composition of the claimant’s household. 

Households of the same composition and who live in the same area are subject to same LHA rate, regardless of the actual rent, size or desirability of the accommodation they live in. 

The maximum LHA rate is for a four-bedroom property. See How LHA is calculated for more details.

Last updated: 3 August 2017