If you're a private tenant, local housing allowance through housing benefit can help towards the cost of your rent.
The rate of the allowance depends on the number of rooms you need and the area you live in, and it ensures that those who live in similar circumstances in the same area receive the same amount of support towards their housing costs.
Local housing allowance does not apply to council housing or homes managed by registered social landlords. Nor will it apply if:
- your rent has been registered as a 'fair rent';
- your tenancy started before 1989;
- you live somewhere where you are provided with care, support or supervision; and
- you live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat.
How it is worked out
The weekly rate of local housing allowance depends on the area in which you are making your claim, called 'broad rental market areas'. Here are the current figures for each broad rental market area in Scotland. Although previously calculated monthly, since April 2012, the allowance has been updated annually. The local housing allowance figure is based on the 30th percentile of rents and NOT, as previously, on the mid point (50th percentile) of all rents.
The Scottish Government uses market evidence to set local housing allowances and to determine fair rents.
How much will you get?
If the rent is higher than the local housing allowance rate you will have to pay the difference or find alternative accommodation whose rent is within the allowance rates.
Note that entitlement to local housing allowance is means-tested and you will need to provide a valid tenancy agreement as proof.
How local housing allowance is paid
Local housing allowance is normally paid to the tenant, who will then pay the landlord.