self-contained or not?

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  • #286523
    mrs banner
    Participant

    Our housing department is using a new property for temp accommodation. It is a 2 bed property with 1 tenant in it. If it was self-contained, subsidy would be 90% of the 2 bed LHA rate and fuel charge deductions would be for the whole property. However, they have said a second tenant could move into the second bedroom which would change the subsidy to the 1 bed LHA rate and 1 room fuel. As another tenant ‘may’ move in, do I assume the accommodation is not self contained from the outset? The housing dept have said the rent charged is £60 per night for the current tenant and would be £60 per night for the other tenant if one did move in. Thanks

    #286526
    Peter Barker
    Keymaster

    From Article 17 of the Subsidy Order:

    (4) For the purposes of this article and articles 17A, 17B and 17C, accommodation is self-contained if P’s household is not required to share one or more of the following with another household—

    (a)a kitchen;
    (b)a toilet;
    (c)a bathroom.

    Don’t know if that takes you any further forward, but that’s the definition

    #286527
    mrs banner
    Participant

    Thanks. I think I have to define the property as shared as a second tenant could move in at any time.

    #286528
    Peter Barker
    Keymaster

    I think it comes down to whether the term “is” includes “could be”. If they do not have exclusive legal possession of K/B/T, does it matter whether there is another tenant currently in occupation? Does the regulation contemplate the legal or practical situation?

    I don’t know, but my gut is telling you could get this through audit if you cite the definition in Article 17(4) and say that you have concluded it is satisfied when there are no other occupiers.

    Andy T – are you around?

    #286531
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    “Andy T – are you around?”

    I am now! I’m not sure, however, what to advise…
    There is certainly the possibility of the self-contained argument (for as long as the second room is not occupied) but it may be self-defeating unless the claimant has access to the second bedroom (or you are prepared to gloss over the fact that they don’t). I suspect the second room will be locked so use of the two room rate would be dubious – the subsidy order refers to the “accommodation” rather than the “property” so this would suggest it would have to be defined as 1-bed.
    It is, therefore, preferable to define it as non self-contained – legally, they are required to share the kitchen etc. and are likely to physically do so during their period of occupancy. As this is temporary accommodation, there is likely to be regular turnover of occupants – would it revert to self-contained every time either room was vacant for a short period?
    So – I think I am going with non self-contained (which, as 100% rather than 90% is not too far short of the 2-bed cap).

    Sense check – this is a leased property/used on licence? (Not owned by LA or on lease of more than 10 years.)

    Further sense check/curiosity – £60 per night? £420 per week? For a room in shared house?

    #286532
    mrs banner
    Participant

    Thanks Andy.

    In terms of the actual property – one of our hotel owners we use regularly for homeless people has bought some properties and we are putting people in them as an alternative to the hotel. The landlord invoices us and we then invoice the tenant. They sign an occupancy agreement. We don’t own the property or have a lease of longer than 10 years.

    In terms of the rent, can we restrict temporary accommodation? Although the rent is excessive, the tenant could be in for a short period of time (daily charge) and the nature of the type of tenant does mean there could be more issues than a standard tenancy type.

    #286542
    Andy Thurman
    Keymaster

    As they are rent rebate cases, you can’t really restrict – if you did you would, effectively, be over-riding the Housing team’s decision as to the amount of the liability.
    While £60pn (or even more) is the ‘going rate’ for hotels (because they will charge the LA the same as they would charge an ordinary customer), it seems massively inflated for a room in a shared house. Apologies for the candour but I’m surprised Housing can’t source (or agree) something cheaper than this – the landlord, imho, is having a laugh at the Council Tax payer’s expense.

    #286549
    Kay_Tade
    Participant

    You have not said what the tenancy agreement (License) exactly stipulates, unless I am missing something? You can’t “assume” what the agreement says.

    If it says he has use of the whole property/accommodation, until this changes, then he has full use of the whole accommodation.

    If it says otherwise, then that’s just the case. Use of the one bedroom shared facilities, even though there is no other tenant present.

    I think the claimant’s “right of occupation” in relation to the accommodation provided s what matters here and everything comes afterwards, subsidy and HB award.

    Yes, it will be a pain for everyone involved if they keep chopping and changing occupants (if it changes the rights of occupation) BUT they (TA team) have to decide what that is from the onset or as they go along.

    #286553
    mrs banner
    Participant

    Kay – Thanks for stating what I should have thought about in the first place. Sometimes situations appear more complicated than they are. I have checked and it says double room so that’s clearly room only and shared facilities.

    Andy – I have raised the issue of the charges with the housing team – I do think the landlord is taking advantage of the situation.

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