Private tenants on a low income and who have less than £16,000 in savings may be eligible to claim help towards their rent. As Blackburn with Darwen is now a full service Universal Credit area, your tenant may claim help with their housing costs via universal credit and not via housing benefit.
Local housing allowance rates
Please visit the Valuation Office Agency website for the current rates.
When calculating someone’s entitlement to housing benefit/local housing allowance, consideration is given to the number of bedrooms in the house, compared to the number of residents in the house. This then forms part of the calculation when working out how much help they may receive.
A bedroom is allocated for each of the following (only up to a maximum of 4 bedrooms):
- Each lone parent or couple
- Each other person aged 16+
- Two children under 16 of the same sex
- Two children under 10 of the same or opposite sex
- Any other child
- An overnight carer or foster parent (qualifying criteria applies)
- A child who is unable to share a bedroom due to a severe disability (qualifying criteria applies)
- Adult child in the armed forces (qualifying criteria applies)
When the rate is less than the weekly rent charged: maximum rates
The maximum we can pay is the local housing allowance rate, so if the rent is £90 but the local housing allowance rate is £80 we could only award £80 as a maximum award. It would be your tenant’s responsibility to pay any shortfall in their rent. If the rent is lower than the local housing allowance rate, we will pay the amount equal to the rent. The tenant’s income and household is also taken into account when calculating any award so they may not receive the maximum allowed.
Single tenants under 35 years old
A single person under 35 years old will receive the shared bedroom rate no matter what the size of the property is.
There are some exceptions where the under 35 rule does not apply:
- Single people aged between 25-34 and who have previously spent more than 3 months living in homeless accommodation. (Proof will need to be provided)
- Single people under 22 and have been in care (Proof will need to be provided)
- People who get the Severe Disability premium in their benefit
- People who need an extra bedroom for a non resident overnight carer
- People who are managed under active multi-agency management under the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA)
Room rates and under occupancy
Your tenants housing benefit/local housing allowance may be restricted if the house they live in is deemed to be larger than their household needs.
Local housing allowance is paid every 4 weeks in arrears by BACS. It is normally paid to the tenant but there are circumstances where we can pay to the Landlord in order to safeguard the tenancy, such as:
- The tenant is unlikely to pay the rent
- The tenant is not capable of handling their own affairs
- The tenant is more than 8 weeks in arrears.
If you think your tenant falls into one of these categories you must inform us straight away as duplicate payments cannot be made. You will need to provide proof of any arrears.
Changes in tenant circumstances
If you are aware of the change, you must inform us straight away to avoid any overpayments. If Local Housing Allowance has been paid direct to you, you may be responsible for paying back any overpayment. The claim will be suspended whilst we determine the change but we will advise you if this happens.
Amending bank details
If you receive payments direct and need to amend the bank account payments are made to please email your new bank account details to email@example.com and include your sort code, account number and account name.
Discussing tenant's claims with the Council
We will share some information with you if your tenant has signed the Landlord information sharing agreement of the claim form. However, even where this has been done, we can still only share very limited information about your tenant with you due to data protection rules.