The circumstances under which a claimant can receive payments at a higher rate than the LHA they would otherwise qualify for.
Rent previously affordable
Where a claimant, or linked person (see below), was able to afford the rent when the tenancy began (or s/he entered into the agreement to pay), and s/he had not claimed housing benefit for at least 52 weeks prior to the claim, the LHA rate will not apply for the first 13 weeks of the claim if the claimant's eligible rent (see the section on Eligible rent and rent restrictions) is higher than the LHA they qualify for.
The 13 week protection rule will apply unless one of the following occurs:
a change of circumstance which results in an entitlement to housing benefit which is equal or more than a claimant's current entitlement
the death of a linked person
the claimant moves home.
Death of linked person
In the event of the death of a linked person (see below) housing benefit will remain at the level used to calculate the claimant's entitlement on the day before the death occurred for 52 weeks. For example if the category of dwelling deemed appropriate for the claimant's household decreases the LHA rate will remain at the rate that applied before the death for 52 weeks after the death.
The protected rate will end if there is a change of circumstances because:
the claimant moves
the claimant's household size changes (other than as a result of the death of a linked person)
there is a death of another linked person (in which case a protected rate may apply for a further 52 weeks).
A linked person is a:
member of the claimant's family, ie her/his partner or dependent child/young person who is part of the claimant's household
relative of the claimant or her/his partner who lives in the same dwelling, unless the relative has a separate right to occupy the premises.
Guidance on how the rules governing the protected rates should operate is set out in Chapter 8 of the Local Housing Allowance guidance manual.
Last updated: 3 August 2017