New Tenancies and LHA

New Tenancies and Local Housing Allowance

From 1 April 2019, the government is changing the way Housing Benefit (or the housing element of Universal Credit) is calculated.

What does it mean for you?

For all new tenancies from 1 April 2016 (1 April 2017 for supported accommodation tenancies) onwards, the amount of benefit that you may receive from 1 April 2019 could be reduced.

This is because the relevant Local Housing Allowance rate for your household size is based on how many bedrooms you need, and not on the size of the property. This may mean that from April 2019 your benefit will not cover all of your rent, and you will have to pay any shortfall on your rent yourself.

The current Local Housing Allowance rates for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City are shown in the links below, along with examples of how this might affect various households.

What do you need to do now?

If you sign a new tenancy or renew a tenancy after 1 April 2016 (1 April 2017 for supported accommodation) you will need to think about whether you will be able to afford the rent in the future.

It is important that you remember that your home is at risk if you do not pay your rent.

What is the Local Housing Allowance

At the moment your housing benefit is calculated against the rent due for your home. In the future this is changing and the maximum benefit will be based on the Local Housing Allowance. The amount of Local Housing Allowance you can receive depends on the size of your household.

Local Housing Allowance is based on the number of bedrooms you are assessed as needing not on the number of bedrooms in the property.

One bedroom is allowed for:

  • every adult couple
  • any other adult aged 16 years old or over
  • any two children regardless of sex aged under 10 years old
  • any two children of the same sex aged under 16 years old
  • any other child

Shared Room Rate for Single Under 35 year olds

If you are aged under 35 years old you are entitled to receive the standard rate for a bedroom in shared accommodation. This shared rate will be based on properties where a tenant has the exclusive use of only one bedroom and where the tenancy provides for him/her to share the use of one or more of:

  • a kitchen
  • a bathroom
  • a toilet, or
  • a room suitable for living in

Single over 35 year olds, care leavers under 22 years old, and couples with no dependent children will be entitled to the rate for a one bedroom property. For example, a one bedroom flat or studio or other kind of self-contained accommodation, provided you actually rent a property of at least this size.