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LHA: Money and debt advice for tenants

Local Housing Allowance is a new way of working out new claims for Housing Benefit for tenants renting accommodation from a private landlord. It also affects tenants already getting Housing Benefit who move into accommodation rented from a private landlord. Local Housing Allowance was introduced on 7 April, 2008. If you live in a housing association property Local Housing Allowance will not affect you.

How will my benefit be paid?

With Local Housing Allowance you will usually have your benefit paid directly to you. You cannot choose to have your benefit paid direct to your landlord.

If you are likely to have difficulty paying your rent, you can ask us to pay your benefit to your landlord. Please see Local Housing Allowance: tenants who are likely to have difficulty paying their rent for more information about this.

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 your from your home.

Eviction means that:

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 should be able to open an account either at a bank or building society.

You can get advice about opening and running a bank account from any bank or building society. And 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 won't go away. If you cannot pay your rent because of money problems you may be evicted from your home. You must ask for help. If you are worried you may be evicted please contact our Housing Advice Department on 01795 417666.

There are many organisations that can give you advice about debt and money problems. Some are listed below.

British Bankers' Association (BBA)

The BBA produce some useful leaflets on proving your identity and a range of banking services. For more information:

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The FSA provide a financial health check service. For more details visit The Money Advice Service - Health Check

This can help you work out your financial priorities and make decisions about your money. The FSA 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 The Money Advice Service - Budget Planner

StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange debt charity provides free debt advice, money management tips, payday debt help and help with budgeting. StepChange can't pay your debts for you, but as a national debt help charity they can help you find a way through your financial difficulties. Visit their online tool Debt Remedy - for advice and a personal budget. This service is available to everyone in the UK

For more details:

Consumer Credit Counselling Service
Wade House
Merrion Centre
Leeds
LS2 8NG

Citizens Advice Bureau

  Sheerness Faversham Sittingbourne
Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice Bureau,
12-14 Hope Street, Sheerness

0844 499 4124

Citizens Advice Bureau,
43 Stone Street, Faversham

0844 499 4125

Citizens Advice Bureau,
17 Station Street, Sittingbourne

0844 499 4125

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) 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 Citizens Advice Bureau.

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:

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

Payplan

Payplan provide free debt advice and management.

For more details:

Payplan Ltd
Kempton House
Dysart Road
Grantham NG31 7LE

Bankruptcy - Insolvency - debt advice service

Telephone helpline and online resource for consumers seeking debt advice.

For more details:

Bankruptcy-Insolvency
Gable House
239 Regents Park Road
London, N3 3LF

Age Concern

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

For more details:

Age Concern England
Astral House
1268 London Road
London
SW16 4ER

The Money Charity

Credit Action provides information and guidance for people with debt or money worries.

For more details:

The Money Charity
15 Prescott Place
London
SW4 6BS

Shelter

The housing and homelessness charity.

Get advice from Shelter about Debt, Mortgage arrears and Rent arrears.

Advice UK

Advice UK is a registered charity and is the UK's largest support network for free, independent advice centres.

For more details:

Advice UK, Head Office, 12th Floor
New London Bridge House
25 London Bridge Street
London
SE1 9SG

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 either phone us or 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:

Disclaimer: Remember that this information is a guide only. It is not meant to say exactly what your legal rights are. While we have tried to make sure that the information in is correct, it is possible that there may be incorrect information or some ideas may be oversimplified. Also, please remember that the information is likely to become less accurate over time because of changes to the law.

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