Entitlement is based on the circumstances of the claimant, their family and any other adult occupants (non-dependants).
Local Housing Allowance
Perhaps the most misunderstood area is that of the level of rent on which the entitlement is based.
Local Housing Allowance (LHA) means tenants with similar circumstances living in the same area will get the same amount of LHA.
LHA is based on the area you live in and how many people live with you and not the amount of rent being charged.
The amount of LHA for the property is the rent figure we use in the housing benefit assessment (subject to a maximum amount of £15 above the rent being paid).
For more information about Local Housing Allowance, contact the Benefits team or see Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
Housing benefit for tenants who do not receive local housing allowance
Housing benefit for a tenant who does not fall into the categories for local housing allowance can only be assessed on rent, which has been determined by the local rent officer.
The eligible rent for housing benefit purposes will normally be the rent less any amount in respect of items covered by the scheme.
The main items not covered are heating, hot water, cooking, meals and water rates but there are other less commons ones such as personal laundry.
The maximum rent will be the figure set by the local rent officer in respect of a particular claim.
The council must by law (in certain circumstances), send the details of the rent to the rent officer at the point that the claim is made and every 12 months thereafter.
The rent officer will provide the council with the maximum rent to be used and the council will then deduct any ineligible amounts.
This figure will then be used as the starting point in the assessment.
In any situation where a restricted rent is used as a result of the rent officer fixing a level below the actual payable rent, the council will write to the tenant to explain this.
At the point of making an assessment for the first time the council will probably use a temporary rent level (called an "indicative rent") whilst they are waiting for the rent officer to assess the rent.
Once the assessment is received from the rent officer, the claimant's entitlement will be adjusted accordingly.