The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to calculate Housing Benefit for tenants renting from private landlords. LHA rates relate to an area in which a claim is made - these areas are called Broad Rental Market Areas (BRMA). A BRMA is where a person could reasonably be expected to live taking into account access to certain facilities and services.
How Local Housing Allowance rates are calculated
The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) Rent Officers collect rental information from letting agents, landlords, tenants and other sources. LHA rates are based on private market rents being paid in the BRMA which can differ from advertised rents.
These data do not include all rents that might exist in each BRMA. In accordance with DWP legislation, Rent Officers are tasked with collecting a sufficient sample from the 12 month period ending 30 September prior to DWP publishing LHA rates on 1 April. These published data are the rents collected and comprises both new and renewal rents in payment, as negotiated between landlord and tenant. These rents do not include any value attributed to services which are ineligible for housing benefit (effectively net rents). Housing benefit supported rents are also removed where possible.
The LHA comprises a set of rates for a number of categories - Categories A to E which are:
a) ‘Shared Accommodation’:
Exclusive use of one bedroom and sharing the use of one or more of a:
- room suitable for living in
b) 1 bedroom dwellings: those with one bedroom and exclusive use of a kitchen, a bathroom, a toilet and a room suitable for living in
c) 2 bedroom dwellings
d) 3 bedroom dwellings
e) 4 bedroom dwellings
The Rent Officer maintains lists of rental information for each category of LHA rates. These are the list of rents, downloadable in the documents link above.
In accordance with DWP legislation, mathematical calculations are applied to the list of rents to determine the
LHA rate which is the lower of:
- the 30th percentile on a list of rents in the Broad Rental Market Area
- the currently set LHA
You can find the LHA rates on LHA-Direct by searching by postcode or local authority area. BRMA maps and graphs are included in the search results.
The download link is for the complete list of rents for England and is provided for users to self-filter rents for defined BRMAs and LHA categories as required.