When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Local Housing Allowance

You must pay rent to your landlord in return for living in the property. If you stop paying your rent, are late with a payment or do not pay in full, your landlord may begin eviction proceedings against you.

Housing benefit is a social security benefit which helps people on low income with their housing costs. It can cover rent, rates and some service charges. There are different systems for working out housing benefit for social tenants, who rent from the Housing Executive or housing associations, and for private tenants, who rent from a private landlord or agent. 


The amount of benefits you will get depends on your personal circumstances, such as your income and savings, the size of your household and the area you live/wish to live in.

All tenants have a legal right to apply for housing benefit to help them with their housing costs. You should get to know how housing benefit is calculated and paid.

If you think you may be entitled to help with your rent, you should make a claim for housing benefit as soon as possible. In some circumstances you may be able to backdate your claim.

If someone has to pay rent or rates for their home and is on a low income, they can make a claim for housing benefit. There are some people who cannot apply for housing benefit.

If you are awarded LHA, you will usually have the right to choose whether you want the allowance to be paid to you or directly to your landlord.

Private tenants can apply for extra housing benefit if the amount they are getting doesn't cover their rent. This is known as a discretionary housing payment. The Housing Executive decides whether you are entitled to extra benefit and how much you should get.

Private tenants who claim help with their rent will get either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. There are two different systems used to calculate how much Housing Benefit someone will get. In most cases, the Local Housing Allowance system dictates how much Housing Benefit a private tenant can receive, but some older tenancies will still be assessed under the old Housing Benefit rules. This will only apply to protected tenancies and tenancies in which a claimant has continuously been receiving Housing Benefit since before April 2008 without a change in circumstances. 


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