When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit or local housing allowance

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 choosing option 5. Lines open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

There are two schemes for working out how much housing benefit 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 amount of benefits tenants get towards rent will not always match up to the amount of rent you charge. Instead, the amount of benefit paid depends on the size of the claimant's household, their personal circumstances and the area in which they live.

Housing benefit is paid in arrears and at either fortnightly or four weekly intervals. When a tenant moves out of the property you need to tell the Housing Executive so it can stop the claim. If the tenant moves out, but the Housing Executive is still paying housing benefit, it may try to reclaim this overpayment from you.