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Local housing allowance

Local housing allowance may affect you if you are able to claim Housing Benefit.  If you claim housing costs through Universal Credit the rates may differ.  Please view the Department for Work and Pensions website for more information.

Local housing allowance (LHA) was introduced on 7 April 2008. It is the way we work out the maximum housing benefit rate for people who rent from a private landlord.  It’s based on how many people live in your household and where you live.

LHA does not affect you if:

  • You rent your property from Cornwall Housing
  • You rent your property from a Housing Association
  • You have a tenancy that started before 15 January 1989
  • Your rent has been registered with the rent officer as a fair rent
  • You live in a caravan, mobile home or houseboat
  • Your accommodation is provided by a council, housing association, registered charity or voluntary organisation.  You are also provided with care, support or supervision
  • You live in accommodation where your landlord provides some or all of your meals

If one of the above applies your Housing Benefit rate will be calculated differently.

Your LHA is based on how many bedrooms your household needs.

The LHA rate is based on one bedroom for:

  • Any adult couple
  • Any single tenant aged 35 or over
  • Any other adult aged 16 or over (this includes boarders or sub-tenants)
  • Any two children of the same sex where both are under the age of 16
  • Any two children, regardless of sex, where both are under the age of 10
  • Any other child

There is also a rate for a room in shared accommodation.  This applies to most single people under 35.

LHA is only paid for up to a maximum of four bedrooms.  If your property has more than four bedrooms, you won’t get LHA for the extra bedrooms.

You can calculate the number of bedrooms you need by checking the direct gov website.

How many bedrooms do I need

The current rates for Cornwall are shown below. These are updated in April each year.  There are different rates for different areas and every post code in Cornwall falls into one of these areas. You can use the LHA postcode finder to check which area your property is in.

April 2021 rates

Area Name1 Bed Shared1 Bed Self Contained2 Beds3 Beds4 Beds
Kernow West £80.97 £113.92 £143.84 £169.15 £212.88
Plymouth £73.50 £103.56 £134.63 £159.95 £195.62
North Cornwall and Devon Borders £70.00 £97.81 £123.12 £149.59 £184.11


If your LHA is less than your rent, you will have to make up the difference.  If you need extra help to pay your rent, you may be able to apply for a discretionary housing payment.