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April 2011 changes

  • Council tax and benefits

From 1 April 2011 the Government made changes to Housing Benefit for private tenant claims assessed under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) Scheme.

Who this affects
Anyone renting property from a private landlord and receiving Housing Benefit who made their claim for their current address on or after 7 April 2008.

LHA rates are calculated so that 3 out of 10 properties are available at the new LHA rates instead of half of properties.

There will be maximum rate or cap so that LHA weekly rates in any area cannot be more than

  • £250 for a one bedroom property per week
  • £290 for a two bedroom property per week
  • £340 for a three bedroom property per week
  • £400 for a four bedroom property per week.

These rates are the maximum amount but what you receive will depend on where you live your income your savings and who lives with you.

The five bedroom LHA rate has been abolished. The maximum level is for a four bedroom property.

The maximum £15 weekly Housing Benefit excess payment that some customers can get will end. 

When the changes will affect you
If you were claiming Housing Benefit before 1 April 2011, you will have some protection from the changes detailed above.

If your circumstances do not change you can be protected from these changes for up to 9 months after your LHA anniversary date. This will allow you time to decide what to do. However, if you receive the excess payment of up to £15.00 per week more Housing Benefit than you receive in rent this will end on your LHA anniversary date.

The changes will affect you sooner if:

  • you are getting Housing Benefit and move home
  • your Household changes, such as someone leaves or comes to live with you
  • if someone leaves your household and you need fewer rooms then the change to the new LHA rate will happen at once
  • if someone joins your household or one of your children reaches the age of 10 or 16 so that you need an extra room we will look at your claim and see if you would be better off with the new LHA rates or staying on the old rate. If you will be better off staying on the old rates then you will be protected for up to nine months. To see the LHA size criteria or look at the Local Housing Allowance Direct web site.

Your anniversary date
You can work this out from the date you made your original claim for Housing Benefit, or the date we last changed your LHA rate.

For example:

  • if you first made your claim for Housing Benefit on 5 September 2010 your yearly review date will be 5 September 2011
  • if someone leaves or joins your household or one of your children reaches the age of 10 or 16 so that you need an extra room, this will become your anniversary date.

Information and advice:

  • LHA Direct - to find out your Local Housing Allowance rates
  • The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) - information on Local Housing Allowance, Fair rents & Council Tax and more
  • The Citizens Advice
  • Shelter - confidential housing, welfare benefit and debt advice through a network of advice services; freephone Housing Advice Helpline on 0808 800 4444 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday and 8am-5pm Saturday – Sunday
  • Gov.uk - up-to-date information on the Housing Benefit changes.


  • Housing Benefits Service
  • Burnt Oak Library, Watling Avenue, Edgware HA8 0UB
  • Tel: 020 8359 2111
  • FAX: 0871 911 6101
  • Email: benefits@barnet.gov.uk
  • Housing Benefits Service postal and Type Talk
  • London Borough of Barnet, Benefits, PO Box 2015, Pershore, WR10 9BG
  • Tel: 18001 020 8359 2111

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