LHA Money Advice for Tenants

The Local Housing Allowance was introduced from 7 April 2008 and is used to work out claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord.

How will my benefit be paid?

If your claim is assessed under the Local Housing Allowance rules, you will usually have your benefit paid directly into your bank or building society account, if you have one, or by cheque. We will only make payments direct to your landlord under certain circumstances. You cannot choose to have your benefit paid direct to your landlord.

In some exceptional cases we may be able to pay direct to your landlord.  For further details please click here to see our LHA Safeguard Policy.


What will happen if I don’t use my benefit to pay my rent?

As a tenant you are responsible for paying your rent to your landlord. This is the same as for tenants who do not get benefit. If you do not pay your rent your landlord may apply to us to have your benefit paid to them or, they may take other action to recover their money including evicting you from your home.

Eviction means that:

  • you will lose your home
  • your benefit may not be paid to you in the future
  • you may have difficulty finding new accommodation, as your landlord is unlikely to give you a reference
  • you will still have to pay the landlord the money you owe and possibly extra money to cover any court costs
  • an application for re-housing could be affected as you may be considered to have made yourself intentionally homeless


How can I pay my rent?

The easiest way to pay your rent is if you have your benefit paid into a bank or building society account. That way you can arrange to pay the rent to your landlord automatically. This is called a standing order. As long as you have enough money in your account, you won’t have to worry about remembering to pay your rent and your landlord will know the rent will be paid automatically.

If you do not already have a bank or building society account, you may want to set one up.


Opening a bank/building society account

If you don’t have a bank or building society account, now may be a good time to think about opening one.

You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. There are many organisations that can give you advice about money, including if you have already tried to open an account and have not been able to. Please see below details of some useful contacts.


Help with managing your money and debt

If you are concerned about managing your money or you have debts, try not to worry, but do not ignore your problem – it will not go away. If you cannot pay your rent because of money problems you may be evicted from your home. You must ask for help. There are many organisations that can give you advice about debt and money problems. They are listed below.


Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service provides a financial health check service.

For more details visit Money Advice Service.

This can help you work out your financial priorities and make decisions about your money.

The Money Advice Service also have a budget calculator to help you to think about your spending and to work out whether you have enough money coming in to cover your outgoings.

For more details visit: Money Advice Service Budget Calculator

Telephone: 0300 500 5000
Opening Times: Mon - Fri 8am - 8am, Saturday 9am -1pm


Step Change Debt Charity

Step Change Debt Charity (previously Consumer Credit Counselling Service) provides free expert debt advice over the phone. Everything is free and confidential, from budgeting advice to practical Debt Management Plans. This service is available to everyone in the UK

For more details visit their website www.stepchange.org

Telephone: 0800 138 1111 Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-4pm


Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice offer advice on debt problems and a very wide range of other money and non-money topics.

To find your local Citizens Advice Bureau, look in the phone book or Yellow Pages, or visit their website at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/


Dawn Advice

Dawn Advice is a member of the Citizens Advice Service and provide free, independent and confidential debt advice to anyone living in the North East (Durham, Northumberland, Tees Valley, Darlington, Middlesbrough, Tyne & Wear, Gateshead, Newcastle, Sunderland) or Cumbria (Carlisle, Keswick, Windermere, Kendal, Ulverston, Penrith, Barrow in Furness, Whitehaven).

Telephone: 0300 3031931
Opening times: Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5pm

Free, confidential, independent and impartial debt advice by telephone for anyone living in the North East or Cumbria.

For more details visit their website http://www.dawnadvice.org.uk/



National Debtline

This is a telephone-based service and is a national helpline for people with debt problems in England, Wales and Scotland. They will discuss debt problems with you and explain the options available to you.

For more details visit their website http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/

Telephone: 0808 808 4000
Opening times: Mon - Fri 9am -9pm, Sat 9.30 - 1pm

or write to them at:

National Debtline
Tricorn House
51-53 Hagley Road
B16 8TP



Payplan provide free debt advice and management.

For more details visit their website http://www.payplan.com/

You may contact them by email http://www.payplan.com/contact-us.php

Telephone: 0800 280 2816
Opening Times: Mon - Fri 8am - 9pm, Sat 9am - 3pm

Mobile calls may be cheaper on 0207 760 8980

or write to them at:
Payplan  Ltd
Kempton House
Dysart Road
NG31 7LE


Age UK

Age UK provides information on income and benefits for older people.

For more details visit their website http://www.ageuk.org.uk/

Telephone: 0800 169 6565

The Money Charity (previously known as Credit Action)

Our vision is for everyone be on top of their money as a part of everyday life.  So, we empower people across the UK to build the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, to make the most of their money throughout their lives.

For more details visit their website http://themoneycharity.org.uk/

Telephone: 0207 0628933

or write to them at:

Credit Action
15 Prescott Place


If you are struggling to live on the money you have or are experiencing problems with debt, you may want to think about whether you are getting all the benefits or tax credits that you are entitled to.

For more information and advice you can visit the central government money advice section on the internet at Gov.uk. This also has a wide range of public service information and links to other organisations which you may find useful if you are looking for help or advice.

If you have any queries about Housing Benefit and how it is worked out using the Local Housing Allowance rates please contact:

Housing Benefit SectionIRRV
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL

Telephone: 0845 600 6400


The Council now offers nine local area code telephone numbers for customers to use when calling the central contact centre.

For more details about the numbers, along with frequently asked questions, please click here.

Fax: 01670 620098

E-mail: benefits@northumberland.gov.uk