The Local Housing Allowance Shared Accommodation Rate will apply to single claimants aged under 35.
From January 2012, the shared accommodation rate of Local Housing Allowance that currently affects single claimants under the age of 25 will be extended to people under the age of 35.
The shared accommodation rate reflects the costs of renting non-self contained accommodation in the private sector where the tenant has exclusive use of a bedroom but shares other facilities such as a bathroom.
What this means is that single claimants over the age of 25 but under the age of 35, are currently allowed to claim a maximum Local Housing Allowance for one bedroom, self contained accommodation which for the month of September 2011, is up to £87.69 per week. When the changes are introduced from January 2012, the maximum Local Housing Allowance will be limited to a shared accommodation rate which for the month of September 2011, is up to £65.00 per week.
What will happen from January 2012 -
For new claims -
Single claimants under the age of 35 and making a new claim on or after 1 January 2012 will be entitled to the shared accommodation rate rather than the one-bedroom self-contained rate
For existing claims -
Single claimants who are under the age of 35 and receiving transitional protection from the April 2011 Local Housing Allowance (LHA) changes will move to the shared accommodation rate at the same time as their transitional protection ceases
All other existing single claimants who are under the age of 35 and not receiving transitional protection (these will be people whose claim was made on or after 1st April 2011 but before 1st January 2012 or, claimants who's benefit is paid under pre LHA arrangements) will move to the shared accommodation rate on the anniversary date of their claim.
Important information to note
Please remember that if there is a break in the award of benefit, the claimant changes address or, there is a change in the number of household members, the new rules will come into effect earlier than described above.
Exemptions from the shared accommodation rate will be -
- Where an overnight carer is required
- The claimant qualifies for a severe disability premium
- There are non-dependants living in the claimants household
- Recently spent time in a homeless hostel or, are at risk of sleeping rough
- Ex-offenders where multi-agency arrangements are in place under the Criminal Justice Act 2003.
Until the changes are introduced from January 2012, we will not be able to provide any details regarding the Local Housing Allowance rate for shared accommodation, as this varies from month to month. However, the current shared accommodation rate is £65.00 per week and has remained at this value since April 2011. This should provide an indication of the likely rate from January 2012. There is more information about the change at the Direct Gov website, please see related links for this website.
For anyone struggling with these changes, there is a scheme where additional financial support can be provided by the Council. This is called a Discretionary Housing Payment. It's not part of the normal Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit schemes and as the name suggests payments are awarded according to the Council's discretion. If you require any further information about this scheme then please refer to 'Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme' within the Related Articles section of this page.