If a tenant makes a new claim for Housing Benefit on or after 7 April 2008, any entitlement to benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates.
These changes only affect tenants who rent their home from a private landlord.
If a tenant is already getting Housing Benefit on 7 April 2008, they will not be affected by these changes unless:
they move address to a home rented from a private landlord
they have a break in their claim – if they stop claiming Housing Benefit for any reason (for example moving into work). Any new claim for benefit will be worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates.
Local Housing Allowance is a flat rate based on household size and location. Tenants living in similar circumstances will receive similar amounts. Local Housing Allowance makes it easier for tenants to find out in advance how much rent might be covered by the benefit.
The only change for most landlords is that payment of benefit worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates will usually be made direct to the tenant. The tenant will still be responsible for paying their rent to the landlord.
There is a range of safeguards to protect the interests of landlords. These include direct payment to landlords where a tenant is eight weeks or more in arrears with their rent, where it is thought that the tenant will have difficulty managing their affairs or is unlikely to pay their rent.
Some useful leaflets can be found under related documents on this page.
If you would like any additional information on Local Housing Allowance and the changes to Housing Benefit: