Reply To: Decision that may cover multiple HB regs

Andy Thurman

I have nothing to add on the ‘mechanisms’ of the decision/tribunal process (already set out very well for you) but I would also caution on the need to substantiate each alternative as fully as possible.

The concern over this case is understandable but what are your reasons for the suggested arguments…

Deprivation? – Seems it was a lack of any such capital in the first place that is at the heart of this! There is, of course, the difference between the market value and the ‘sale price’ but, for this to be a deprivation decision you would need to explore the deals fully AND link it to the attempt to get HB. Maybe the loan agreement is worded such that the transfer of ownership is the outcome of non-compliance? I have no idea but do know I would need to find that out as otherwise any decision would be speculative. If they did not know about HB (and HB rules), how were their actions in June 2022 linked to the claim for HB prompted a year later by Age Concern? It could be a very clever set up but you need more than a knowledge that the property is worth more than the loan.
Contrivance? Much as above – could/should the nephew have acted more reasonably? (maybe they are just heartless/maybe they had reached the end of their tether due to Aunty/Uncle reneging time and again on the loan repayments.) What is more to the point is demonstrating a collusion between them to facilitate HB being awarded. If he is the rightful owner, why should he let his relatives live there rent free?
Commerciality? Six months rent already paid weakens this one. The advice to ask for safety certificates may prove the nephew is a bad/naive landlord but does that actually show it to be a non-commercial liability?
Non-compulsion to sell – seems they did have no choice?

This does not necessarily mean you should pay – there may be further details available and reasonable questions that can be asked.