The questions and answers below are intended to explain in more detail how the changes will effect Housing Benefit entitlement.
Will my Tenant be affected by the changes to Local Housing Allowance rates?
Will they be affected by the caps?
The caps are most likely to affect people who are renting properties in central London Boroughs. If their weekly rent is more than the cap for the Local Housing Allowance rate that applies to them, their Housing Benefit will be reduced.
How do they know which Local Housing Allowance rate applies to them?
They can use the following information as a guide to work out how many bedrooms they are allowed. They are allowed one bedroom for:
My Tenant needs a property with more than four bedrooms. Will they only get benefit at the four bedroom rate?
The maximum Housing Benefit they get will be based on the four bedroom rate. They can still look for properties with more than four bedrooms, or other rooms that can be used as bedrooms, with rents that are within the four bedroom rate.
My Tenant is sharing a house with other people, will the changes to Local Housing Allowance rates affect me?
The new way of setting Local Housing Allowance rates from October 2011 could lead to a reduction in the shared room rate.
My Tenant is living in a self contained studio flat what rate applies to them?
The one bedroom Local Housing Allowance rate will apply to them.
My Tenant is already getting Housing Benefit when will they be affected by the changes?
If they are already getting Housing Benefit they will not normally be affected until 9 months after the anniversary of their claim which falls after 1st April 2011. But if there is a change in their household such as someone leaving or someone coming to live with them or if they move, the changes could apply sooner.
When is their anniversary date?
Their anniversary date is the date they first made their current claim. For example, if they claimed Housing Benefit on 5 September 2008 their anniversary date is 5 September.
This means that the changes the Government is making from 1 April 2011 could affect them from 5 June 2012. Although if they are receiving an excess payment they will lose this extra payment on 5th September 2011.
How will they know what the Local Housing Allowance rates will reduce to?
OR If My Tenant is thinking of renting and claiming Housing Benefit, how much rent should they agree to pay?
There is information available about the levels of Local Housing Allowance rates that might apply based on current rent levels. They can go to one of the following websites:
This information will give them an idea of the amount of rent that might be met by Housing Benefit from 1 April 2011. The figures are estimates and will be updated regularly. Rent levels and rates may change between now and April 2012.
They also need to remember that in southern areas, such as Central London, Local Housing
Allowance rates will be restricted as follows from 1 April 2011:
In spite of stamp duty change, area is key for growth of PRS