Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar Local Housing Allowance Further information

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Further information
You can get further information on LHA from the Housing Benefit
section at the Comhairle:
Benefits Service
Town Hall
Point Street
Isle of Lewis
Telephone: 01851 707 450/461
Local Housing Allowance
Housing Benefit is changing on the 1st April 2008
Or visit our website
Information is also available on the Department for Work and Pensions
website (
Independent Advice
The Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to
give you free help and advice.
Barra 01871 810608
Harris 01859 502431
Lewis 01851 705727
Uist 01870 602421
Information for
What is Local Housing Allowance?
LHA is a new way of working out Housing Benefit. LHA is for people
on a low income who rent from private landlords. LHA is based on the
number of rooms people are allowed, not how much the rent is. The
number of rooms allowed depends on who lives with the tenant.
Follow this link to read more on Housing Benefits,
Rather than introduce a precise list of circumstances in which payment
could be made to the landlord, we have been given discretion in deciding
when that would be more effective. We can decide to make payment
direct to a landlord in a number of circumstances including:
Which landlords does Local Housing Allowance affect?
LHA affects any landlord who enters into a deregulated private tenancy
agreement with a person awarded Housing Benefit. By deregulated we
mean entered into since 1989 and not covered by one of the exceptions
listed below.
Who is not affected by Local Housing Allowance?
LHA does not affect:
• Tenancies with registered social landlords
• Protected cases, such as supported housing provided by certain
local authorities, social landlords, charities and voluntary
• Tenancies which are excluded from current rent restrictions
• Tenancies in caravans, houseboats and hostels
• Tenancies where the rent officer decides that a substantial part of
the rent is for board and attendance, such as hotel
How does Local Housing Allowance affect landlords?
The only change for most landlords is that LHA will be paid to the
tenant. The tenant will be responsible for paying their rent to the
In recognition of the risk that some tenants may struggle with the
responsibility of paying their rent, safeguards will be put in place.
if we consider that the tenant is likely to have difficulty managing
his or her own affairs. We have called this ‘vulnerability’.
Examples of this could include tenants with a learning disorder or
a drug or alcohol problem that would mean they might have
problems managing a budget. We have detailed advice for on
what counts as ‘vulnerable’ for LHA
if we think the tenant is unlikely to use their LHA to pay their
rent. This could be if we know the tenant has consistently failed to
pay their rent in the past
when the LHA has been backdated or there has been a delay in
processing a claim and a large amount of benefit is to be paid. In
these cases we can decide to make the first payment of LHA by
cheque payable to the landlord, although it would be sent to the
claimant (this is the same as Housing Benefit Regulation 94.)
Making the first payment direct to the landlord is also expected to
provide a good indication that the tenancy has actually been
if the tenant has built up rent arrears of eight weeks or more and
payment direct to the landlord has been implemented (under
current Housing Benefit regulations), we can decide to continue
making payments direct to the landlord after the arrears have
fallen below eight weeks
if the tenant is having deductions from their Income Support or
Jobseeker’s Allowance to pay off rent arrears.
To implement any of these safeguards, new and existing, the Comhairle
must have documentary evidence.
The Comhairle can continue to pay benefit to the landlord if this was in
place before the transfer. This can continue for six months or until the
tenant’s benefit review is due, whichever is sooner. This allows time for
the Comhairle to make decisions about whether or not payment to the
landlord needs to be continued in individual cases.