We occasionally get asked if we accept people on LHA (Local Housing Allowance) or Housing Benefit. The answer always has been “no” but we thought it would be useful to explain why and perhaps even more so in the current climate why the LHA payment system does not work for us.

We have always specialised in offering house share accommodation to working professionals and key workers in Chelmsford. In most circumstances it is better to be a specialist in a certain tenant sector rather than trying to provide something for everyone. Quite often, working professional people do not want to live with people that are not working. That is something that we agree with and one of the main reasons why we do not allow people to move into our properties if they are in receipt of LHA payments from the local authority.

A less apparent reason why we do not take in tenants on benefit is that it conflicts with the insurances we have set up for the properties. Insurance companies want to know the type of tenants living in the properties and they are less inclined to offer an insurance policy that covers professionals and those on benefits.

From a pure economic point of view the current LHA payment system just does not work for us as landlords. In Chelmsford, the current shared house LHA rates can be found here

As at April 2012 the rate being offered by the Council is £73.46 per week. Our average rent for a room in one of our properties in Chelmsford is approximately £100 per week. That is a shortfall of around £26 per week that the tenant is expected to top up. In reality there never seems to happen and therefore the system just doesn’t work for us. For landlords that offer lower quality accommodation and therefore charge less for their rooms the system is ideal.

We hope this explains our reasoning for not taking tenants that are on benefits or LHA payments and that you will be able to find alternative accommodation in Chelmsford.