Local Housing Allowance

Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is a rent assessment scheme for those who rent in the private sector. It determines how much Housing Benefit someone renting in the private sector can receive, based on rent levels in their area and number of people in their household.

Does LHA apply to you?

LHA applies to you if:

  • you make a new claim for Housing Benefit (or if you stop claiming it and then reclaim) for accommodation you rent from a private landlord
  • you are already claiming Housing Benefit and move into a home you rent from a private landlord

LHA does not apply to you if you have:

  • a tenancy with the Housing Executive
  • a tenancy with a housing association
  • a tenancy where you get support from health and social services, a housing association, a charity or a voluntary organisation
  • a tenancy which is not included in the current rent restrictions (these are tenancies which started before April 1996)
  • a tenancy in a caravan, mobile home, houseboat or hostel
  • a tenancy where your rent is restricted under the Private Tenancies Order (2006) or the 1978 Rent Order

How much LHA do I get?

If you are looking for a home in Northern Ireland we publish the annual LHA rates on this website.

You can check the LHA rate for the property and area you are interested in to find the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you will receive, before you make a decision to rent.

Is there help if I can’t pay all my rent?

If you decide to move into a property with a rent that is higher than the rate of LHA you are entitled to you will need to pay the difference.

You may be entitled to some additional financial help to meet this shortfall through a  Discretionary Housing Payment. 

These payments cannot be guaranteed in all cases and any award may not cover the full shortfall.

Awards are made for a limited period only and are designed to provide you with some time to come to alternative arrangements with your landlord or to find cheaper accommodation.

How often will the Housing Executive review my rate of LHA?

Your rate of LHA will apply until further notice, unless your situation changes, for example, if people join or leave your household. In certain cases your LHA may be protected.

How is LHA paid?

You can choose if you want to receive payment directly to your bank/building society account or if you want us to pay it directly to your landlord’s account.