Reply To: Fuel Costs For Communal Areas

Peter Barker

The Basey case is most certainly authority for treating exempt accommodation as “sheltered” for service charge purposes. It was a supported living scheme where the claimant had his own bedroom in a shared house with shared kitchen, bathroom and living room. The Court rejected the Council’s argument that sheltered accommodation is a term with a precise legal meaning, even though it doesn’t have a written definition in the HB Regs.

I’m not sure how you would then differentiate between fuel used for different purposes. You argue that the ineligible charge is unreasonably low and use the standard deductions in para 6 … but para 6(4) gives the claimant the chance to override that with evidence of actual fuel use, which I assume you probably have already.

You’ve prompted me to have another look at Basey as it’s a while since I read the full decision and I think it’s pretty clear that the Court was happy enough to treat a kitchen as a “room of common use”, and not just living areas that tenants use together at the same time.