Local Housing Allowance and the Rent Officer


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Presentation by Mike Joslin and Anne Mason - Lettings Research Team

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Local Housing Allowance and the Rent Officer

  1. 1. Lettings Research working in partnership with Landlords Local Housing Allowance and the Rent Officer Mike Joslin and Anne Mason Lettings Research Team (South West)
  2. 2. VOA Rent Officer Functions <ul><li>We continue to set LHA rates each month </li></ul><ul><li>We still make determinations on pre-April 2008 Housing Benefit claims – every 52 weeks. This scheme carries on until a break in claim or move. </li></ul><ul><li>We still register rents under the 1977 Rent Act </li></ul>
  3. 3. The role of Rent Officers in Local Housing Allowance: <ul><ul><li>Ongoing review of the Broad Rental Market Areas (LHA) [BRMA] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collecting lettings information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Setting the Local Housing Allowance [LHA] </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Local Housing Allowance Timescales <ul><li>The new system was introduced for new claims from 7 April 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Every month, Local Housing Allowance rates for each property size are published for over 150 BRMAs that cover England </li></ul><ul><li>These figures are generated automatically from data collected by Rent Officers </li></ul>
  5. 5. The Local Housing Allowance <ul><li>Personal entitlement based on household size </li></ul><ul><li>Claimant can choose smaller or larger accommodation according to price and ability to pay </li></ul><ul><li>Basing the LHA on the middle of the range for a certain property size means that half of the rental properties of that size in the area will be affordable within the LHA amount that tenants receive. </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Local Housing Allowance <ul><li>LHA figures are published on the LHA-direct website so that people know the rates before signing a tenancy </li></ul><ul><li>LHA figures are also published by each local authority </li></ul><ul><li>The median figure is generated from 12 months of data using an automatic process </li></ul><ul><li>It is a 12 month rolling database </li></ul>
  7. 7. lha-direct.voa.gov.uk
  8. 8. lha-direct.voa.gov.uk Plymouth 1 Bed LHA £98.08
  9. 9. Plymouth 1 Bedroom LHA
  10. 10. So what is a Median LHA? <ul><li>The median rent is the figure halfway up the distribution of the List of Rents in the BRMA. </li></ul><ul><li>In practice the average List of Rents contains in excess of 200 items of data </li></ul><ul><li>£175.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£185.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£185.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£190.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£195.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£195.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£200.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£200.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£200.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£200.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£205.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£205.00 </li></ul><ul><li>£210.00 </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Current Situation <ul><li>Changes from 6 th April 2009 are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>LHA levels for 6 bedrooms or more will be capped at the 5 bedroom rate for all new claims. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Existing claims will continue until the anniversary of the claim. Transitional protection then applies for up to 13 weeks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If change of address for large household, the 5 bedroom rate will become applicable </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Lettings Research Teams <ul><li>How does the rent officer compile a list of rents? </li></ul><ul><li>Teams of rent officers collect lettings data and analyse the market. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Analysis of the lettings data held and the PRS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Research of key market segments and related sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Targeted collection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The aim is to ensure that our database reflects the volume and range of properties within the Private Rented Sector. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Lettings Research Methods <ul><li>QA and analyse the data we already have </li></ul><ul><li>Identify any gaps in our database </li></ul><ul><li>Contact landlords for information about the local market </li></ul><ul><li>We collect information from all available sources but are particularly interested in lettings for self managed properties </li></ul>
  14. 14. Analysing the data (IN&W London)
  15. 15. Mapping the data
  16. 16. Plymouth and South Devon H.E.R.B.S.
  17. 17. Plymouth City Centre travel time/distance
  18. 18. How Can You Help? <ul><li>LHA levels are determined by the actual rental levels in each BRMA – in other words, the ‘market’ </li></ul><ul><li>Landlords are the best source of lettings data </li></ul><ul><li>The more lettings data we gather, the more robust and reflective the LHA figures are. </li></ul><ul><li>Do you let rooms? We would be interested to talk to you </li></ul>
  19. 19. Lettings Information Request                                                                                                               Parking Heating per RENT BEDROOMS LIVING ROOMS PROPERTY DESCRIPTION POST CODE ADDRESS DATE LET TENANTS NAME (Optional) LANDLORD NAME/ADDRESS : MARKET RENT ANALYSIS [email_address] VOA, 4th Floor, Broadwalk House, Southernhay West, Exeter, EX1 1TS FAO: Anne Mason. Fax No: 01392 606945 /Tel: 01392 606973 Mob: 07776 328515
  20. 20. Lettings information that landlords provide will.... <ul><li>Be held securely and confidentially </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that the LHA reflects the market </li></ul><ul><li>Give confidence to all our customers </li></ul>
  21. 21. Contact Details <ul><li>Visit our website: www.voa.gov.uk/lettingsresearch </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail us a completed lettings form: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Call Anne Mason. Rent Officer (Lettings Research) Mobile No: 07776 328515 </li></ul><ul><li>Fax us your lettings details on the lettings form Fax No: 01392 606945 </li></ul>
  22. 22. Further Information <ul><li>Your Local Authority </li></ul><ul><li>lha-direct.voa.gov.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Valuation Office Agency (www.voa.gov.uk) </li></ul><ul><li>DWP (www.dwp.gov.uk) </li></ul><ul><li>www.direct.gov.uk </li></ul>
  23. 23. Any questions? <ul><li>Lettings Research working in partnership with Landlords </li></ul>