The Chancellor has announced that Housing Benefit (HB) for tenants in social rented housing will be capped at Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates from April 2018 for tenancies which started from 1st April 2016. This will pose a challenge for supported housing with higher rents than those set for the private sector for HB purposes. In the Autumn statement at 1.126 (page 36) it is stated that supported housing will come under this cap but that additional DHP will be funded by the government to cover it. This would apply from April 2018 and will affect tenancies starting from 1st April 2016.
The policy change will be of significant concern where rents are higher than LHA rates as it effectively removes entitlement to full HB. The Chancellor has stated that there will be additional funding for DHP to help cover the shortfall but there is no guarantee this would cover the full cost or for how long, and it is not yet clear what this means for Scotland in terms of additional funding.
The Unit is in discussion with officials and with other umbrella bodies across the UK as further clarity is sought about the Chancellor’s intentions. The scope to make a case for exempting Specified Accommodation from the changes is being explored by the Unit.
In the meantime, if you are able to identify supported housing services where the rent plus eligible service charge is higher than the LHA rate in that area please contact the Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org