Reply To: Change of address…..again!


D&A Reg 8(5) seems to tie Reg 8 to the definition of an advantageous change in Reg 17(2). But the drafting is slightly vague, I think: an advantageous change for Reg 8 purposes only “includes” those listed in Reg 17(2), and Reg 17(2) itself in turn only lists things that are “included”. So it’s not exhaustive.

So to develop Mark’s point further:

If the maximum rent for the new property comes out higher than the old one, that would seem to be advantageous because it is clearly included in Reg 17(2) eve though, in absolute terms, the claimant has more rent to pay.

But it seems that a council could go beyond that and argue that a claimant whose maximum rent is lower at the new property but whose net contribution is lower still (downsizing to escape a size restriction, perhaps) has also had an advantageous change. This argument would be possible because Regs 8(5) and 17(2) do not seem to rule out the possibility of council coming up with other examples of advantageous changes o top of the ones listed in those Regs.

Obviously, ones first instinct is to say that it would be extremely harsh ever to treat a reduction in HB as an advantageous change. But I think there are circumstances where it might work to the claimant’s advantage. In particular, if the change of address comes to the council’s attention late and there would be an overpayment if you just looked at the amount of HB in isolation; but viewed in the context of the claimant’s net contribution to the rent, the change is actually advantageous and therefore takes effect from the week in which it is reported. Hey presto! No overpayment. Anyone want to test that theory by putting some numbers to it?