Reply To: shared lives licence agreement

Peter Barker

It’s RO referral if a “substantial part of the rent under the tenancy is fairly attributable to board and attendance”.

“Rent” means any of the payments listed in Reg 12(1), which includes service charges payable as a condition of the right to occupy the dwelling.

So this would be an RO referral case if the meal charge is payable as a condition of tenancy, with eviction as a potential consequence if the charge is not paid. If it’s not a condition of tenancy, and the (theoretical) consequence of non-payment is withdrawal of the service or a debt claim in the county court, then it would be RO referral based on just the accommodation charge, and the meal charge is left out of it completely.

Getting clarification from Adult Social Care and/or the “landlord” might well prove difficult as they often do not understand that they have entered into a private agreement for accommodation. I ran a course for a group of Adult Social Care staff recently and I wanted to run out screaming. The way they see it, the Council pays the carer a fixed fee for accommodation and support, which is then part-funded by HB. They just couldn’t get their heads around the idea that the carer and client are free to negotiate whatever terms they wish in their private agreement for the accommodation, with the Council paying a fee for support only. They kept saying “but these are the rates we pay” and I was saying “you don’t pay anything for accommodation, the client does”.

Paying HB (or UC for that matter) for shared lives relies on everyone going along with the convenient fiction that there is a genuine, commercial liability for rent but this lot sure made it difficult.