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Due to essential maintenance, the following systems will be unavailable from 3.00pm on Friday 31 March until 8.00am Monday 3 April 2023: our online council tax, business rates and housing benefit services, and our welfare assistance form. You will also not be able to register to pay council tax online, make a change of address for council tax or cancel single person discount. You are still able to make a payment during this time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you're of working age and think you may be eligible for help with your rent, you must apply for Universal Credit instead of Housing Benefit. Please note that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is responsible for Universal Credit.

Claim Housing Benefit when you rent privately

If you rent your house privately your Housing Benefit will be worked out using Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules.

Who does LHA apply to?

LHA applies if you rent from a private landlord or letting agent and have made a new Housing Benefit claim since April 2008.

There are exceptions - if you have meals included in your rent or if you rent a caravan, mobile home or houseboat your Housing Benefit payments will be decided on an individual basis by a rent officer from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA).

How do you apply for LHA?

You make a claim in the normal way.

How does LHA work?

It uses a different set of rules for working out the maximum amount of Housing Benefit you can receive. These are known as the LHA rates and are set by the VOA rather than the council. The rates determine the maximum amount of Housing Benefit that can be paid based on the number of bedrooms your household needs and on where you live. They change in April each year and are based on the value of the rental market in a particular area. They can go down as well as up. 

What rate will I get?

Search for current LHA rates by postcode. Use the Local Housing Allowance: bedroom calculator to work out the bedroom entitlement for your household. 

How is LHA paid?

Find out how your housing benefit is paid under LHA rules.

Contact us
03000 26 2000
Our address is:
  • Transactional and Customer Services
  • PO Box 238
  • Stanley
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH8 1FP