13 week protection – affordability

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  • #38195
    Jayne_Brown
    Participant

    Customer moves in and claims CTB only as rent paid in advance by father. She then also applies for HB. Can I treat the customer as being able to meet the financial commitment for her dwelling (when it was her father that paid the rent in advance for the first six months) and apply the 13 week protection?

    #107620
    susan
    Participant

    The protection usually applies if the claimant or a ‘linked’ person(basically means a member of her household) could meet the financial commitments (inc h/hold bills etc as well as rent) at the time she signed the lease. If her father lived with her, its quite any easy decision.
    If he didn’t then it depends on how you want to view it. You could accept that she could afford it because she was given the money by her dad (especially if she is only claiming HB from when the advance payment ran out – if she was asking for HB backdated to tenancy start date then it could be argued that she couldn’t afford her rent from when she entered into the liability.

    The other view (and probably the one I would take if I’m honest) is that if her non-resident father paid her rent because she couldn’t afford it then that itself establishes that she could not meet her financial commitments for the dwelling.

    hope it helps!

    #107634
    Jayne_Brown
    Participant

    Thanks Sue. Her Father isn’t resident and that’s what I’m thinking. She was never able to afford it by herself.

    #107636
    Jayne_Brown
    Participant

    Looking at it from another angle – as father gave her the money to pay the rent as a gift and she does not have to repay it – the capital was hers to do with as she wished. Therefore she could afford it?

    #107696
    Andreas
    Participant

    Maybe it’s a question of interpretation?

    In my opinion, the claimant could afford her rent at the time she entered the lease (rent was paid in advance after all) so I don’t think it matters who gave her the money; it’s what she did with that money that counts.

    I don’t think this is the same as someone who enters a tenancy without the ability to pay any rent – and who then has to claim HB to meet their liability. I think this person entered the tenancy, paid their rent and then had to make a claim to keep meeting that liability.

    #107704
    susan
    Participant

    Hi Andreas
    I agree – it could be a question of interpretation but I think we’ve overlooked the fact that she claimed CTB from the outset. I only noticed it when I re-read Jayne’s post.

    The reg does state that the clmt would need to satisfy the LA that she was ‘able to meet the financial commitments’ when entering into the liability for rent. As the person is expected to have ‘met the financial commitments for the dwelling’ before being given the 13 wks protection – is it not a case that by claiming CTB she is in effect stating that she could not meet her commitments (rent is only one of the financial commitments related to a dwelling) as it was necessary for her to claim help with CTax from the outset?

    I know it could be argued that she only applied for CTB after she entered into the liability for rent so it really is down to how each person inteprets the reg itself and the policy behind it. which I must admit I interpret as being a safety net for a claimant who has a liability which they are able to meet, then they have a problem (even if it is an hour later!)that results in a reduced income and this protection gives them a bit of breathing space while they try and plan ahead..

    But if i was to give a reply at a reasonable time of the day – especially after a long weekend off – and the auditor wasn’t in – and if the daughter has tidied her room – and you may get a whole different answer….

    Plenty food for thought Jayne

    #107710
    Jayne_Brown
    Participant

    Thanks for comments Susan and Andreas

    #154695
    CJay100
    Participant

    Hi Jayne

     

    I have the identical situation, would you remember the decision you made. I am inclined to award the protection on the basis that I have a new claim towards the end of the paid rental period to decide. I also will have a DHP to look at so I am leaning towads HB protection before DHP.

    Thanks

     

    #154696
    Jayne_Brown
    Participant

    Hi

    we did award the 13 week protection as with the money the father gave her she could have afforded the rent. Hope this helps

    #154697
    Pete Mc
    Participant

    I think you would maybe look at the intention of this protection.  For me it is there for people who take on a tenancy that they can afford (and expect to be able to afford for the foreseeable future) then something changes (usually loss of their job or relationship break up) which means they cannot afford the rent anymore.  The protection is there to give those people a few months to sort out their finances and either move somewhere cheaper, renegotiate the rent, get a new job etc.

    In my opinion it was not created for this scenario, this girl has never been able to afford the rent, it was paid for her, and she's had 6 months to work out what she needs to do.

    That's my interpretation anyway, I'm sure others have their own, as would a judge!

    #154701
    CJay100
    Participant

    I was going down the 'linked person' route but this does not work for me as the fatther paid it as a condition of the tenancy before she moved in. I have since been advised she will need to pay her father back the bond.  He hasn't resided. I have now not awarded the 13 week protection. Its a shame as there is a £40.00 shortfall. We tend not to as policy award the full shortfall in DHP. I can't help her now with a backdate with the new rule as she didnt claim at the time in April so the month has gone:  

    "linked person" means—

     (a)

    any member of the claimant's family;

    (b)

    if the claimant is a member of a polygamous marriage, any partners of his and any child or young person for whom he or a partner is responsible and who is a member of the same household; or

    (c)

    any relative of the claimant or his partner who occupies the same dwelling as the claimant, whether or not they reside with him, except for a relative who has a separate right of occupation of the dwelling which would enable them to continue to occupy it even if the claimant ceased his occupation of it;

    #154713
    pbirks
    Participant

    why would the fathers contribution nor be seen as a charitable contribution ? If you take that route – he gave her the money ansd she said – dad don't give it me, just pay the rent on my behalf, then she's fine as the charitable income from dad is disregarded.

    It is a pity daddy is asking for it back now (probably because he thinks it will strengthen her arguement for the 13wk protection)

    Did she apply for CTR as soon as she moved in and what was her income?? if you add daddys amount for the rent on top of that (which is a disregarded income) then she would quite likely pass the "affordability" route.

     

    #154773
    jmoore
    Participant

    Not sure if this will be of any help but …. when my daughter needed a house to rent in Kent they would not take me as a guarantor because of my self employed status, my husband becasue he is too old so I paid the rent in advance to get her a house.  To get the house she had to pay 6 months rent up front.  Which I did.

    The only difference is that my daughter claimed HB from the day she took occupation.  I had no expetations of the rent being repaid.  It was also not capital that she could spend where she liked it was paid directly to the Lanldords agent.

    #154775
    Andreas
    Participant

    I accept 'financial commitments for his dwelling' could include CTax – and there may be a argument that those financial commitments should potentially include utilities – but I am not convinced that is the intention.

    Para 3 also says 'where the relevant authority is satisfied [a person] was able to [meet those commitments] when they were entered into…'.  It doesn't say met/did meet those commitments so it is a question of how to 'satisfy' yourself that they 'were able to' when they took them on.

    Para 3 is also subject to para 4 and para 4 only makes reference to an award of HB…

    (3)Subject to paragraph (4), where the relevant authority is satisfied that the claimant or a linked person was able to meet the financial commitments for his dwelling when they were entered into, there shall be no maximum rent during the first 13 weeks of the claimant's award of housing benefit.

    (4)Paragraph (3) shall not apply where a claimant or the claimant's partner was previously entitled to benefit in respect of an award of housing benefit which fell wholly or partly less than 52 weeks before the commencement of the claimant's current award of housing benefit.

    …it is still a question of interpretation for me – a reference to CTB (CTR/CTS?) would/could/should have been included in para 4 if that was the intention.

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