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Private tenant housing benefit

What is Local Housing Allowance (LHA)?

Medway Council and other local authorities use LHA rates to work out Housing Benefit for tenants who rent privately. How much you get is usually based on:

  • Who lives with you
  • The size of your property
  • What area you live in
  • What money you have coming in
  • What savings you have

LHA does not depend on how much rent you pay, but on the LHA rates for the area you live in.
To find out how much you can get visit our LHA rates page or Directgov's LHA bedroom calculator.

Who can apply for LHA?

LHA is for people on a low income who are living in private rented property and claiming housing benefit for the first time.

You can't get LHA if you:

  • Are a council or housing association tenant
  • Have a tenancy that started before 1989
  • Live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • Live in supported housing provided by social landlords, charities or voluntary organisations who also provide care, support or supervision
  • Are a MHS homes tenant and your tenancy started before 1989

Housing benefit will continue to be paid under the previous scheme for these tenants.

How is payment made?

LHA will, on most occasions, be paid directly to the tenant and it will no longer be possible to have payments made straight to the landlord. The payments will be made into the tenant's bank account or by cheque.

This will mean that that the responsibility to make sure that rent is paid will now lie with the tenant. One of the safest and most reliable ways of doing this is to set up a standing order straight from a bank account.

If you do not have a bank account and require further information, you can find advice at the Financial Services Authority.