Changes to the LHA arrangements from April 2011
From 1 April 2011, we are making major changes to the LHA arrangements, including how the LHA rates are worked out. The main changes are:
- setting rates at the 30th percentile in each area, a reduction from the 50th percentile currently used. This means about three in ten properties for rent in the area should be affordable to people on HB rather than five in ten properties as now
- making the four bedroom property rate the maximum payable
- no longer allowing customers to keep the difference between their rent and the LHA rate
- disabled customers who need overnight care may be able to claim for an extra room for a non-resident carer
- introducing a maximum weekly rate
The maximum weekly rates will be:
- £250 for a one bedroom property
- £290 for a two bedroom property
- £340 for a three bedroom property
- £400 for a four bedroom property
People making new claims from 1 April 2011 will be affected straight away. Existing customers will normally be affected from the anniversary of their claim. They may be affected sooner if
- there is a change in the size of their household that affects the size of dwelling they are entitled to, or
- if they move.
Existing customers can get transitional protection for a further nine months from the date that that the changes apply to them. This transitional protection means that many existing customers will not be affected until January 2012 and some will see no change until March 2012.
Background about the April 2011 changes
The Government announced changes to the LHA arrangements in the Emergency Budget on 22 June 2010.
In July 2010 we published detailed information about the impact of these changes.
Following a report and recommendations from the Social Security Advisory Committee the Government has modified its original proposals. These are set out in its response to the Social Security Advisory Committee.
The Government has also published documents assessing the impact of the changes.
- Housing Benefit: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance arrangements impact assessment (205KB)
- Housing Benefit: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance arrangements equality impact assessment (280KB)
Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry
The Work and Pensions Select Committee has conducted an inquiry on the impact of the changes to Housing Benefit announced in the June 2010 Budget. The Minister for Welfare Reform provided evidence to the Committee on 3 November 2010. The evidence included the following analytical supplement.
- Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry: analytical supplement (1.41KB)
- Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry: analytical supplement annex (501KB)
Dealing with the April 2011 changes: good practice findings
We have been visiting local authorities to discuss the work they are doing to deal with the changes. The following document contains the good practice we have identified from these visits: