When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit or local housing allowance

Advice for landlords in Northern Ireland

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choose option 5. 

There are two schemes for working out how much housing benefit or Universal Credit an applicant can get. Most private tenants are assessed under the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rules.

Some private tenants will still be assessed under the housing benefit rules. These include:

  • protected tenants
  • tenants who have been continuously claiming housing benefit since before 7 April 2008 without a change in circumstances.

The amount of housing benefit that a tenant gets under the LHA rules depends on the tenant's age, household size and the area in which the property the tenant rents is located. LHA does not always provide enough housing benefit to cover the tenant's full monthly rent. This section deals with Local Housing Allowance rules. 

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.

The local housing allowance (LHA) system calculates how much benefit private tenants get towards rent. Both Housing Benefit and Universal Credit use the LHA rules. 

The amount your tenant gets in benefits will not usually match the rent you charge. It's common for tenants to get a lot less than they have to pay the landlord. 

You may be asked to pay back Housing Benefit or Universal Credit if your tenant was not entitled to this money.