Absent partners and rent liability.

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    Any help gratefully received.

    I have an appeal from a claimant whom we have refused HB to as the father of her children is (or was, as the case now states) paying the rent of £130.00 per week in full, although he no longer lives in the property. He also pays approx £80.00 per week maintenance to our claimant. Both these payments are, as I understand it, on a voluntary basis and are not the results of a court order etc. Both names are on the tenancy agreement. Our refusal was on the grounds that her liability had been covered and she therefore had no ongoing liability for rent as it was met from elsewhere. CTB has been paid

    On appeal I am told that from 3.9.06 the partner will no longer pay the rent and I have a signed statement to that effect along with the rent book to back up the statement. I should add, at this point, that both the appeal and the statement are written in the same hand, but the statement has been signed by the partner. Call me suspicious, but I can’t help wondering if it’s genuine.

    What I am wondering is whether the initial refusal was correct and the decision should be superseded from 21.8.06 only as that is the first Monday after rental payments ceased or not. If it is held that the claimant had a liability throughout, how should I treat the £130.00 rent payments made to 20.8.06. I seem to recall that any payment made by an absent partner fell to be treated as maintenance but can’t remember where I read it (so now wonder if I dreamt it or am making things up as I go along ( does this make drafting legislation my next stop?!)).

    Any ideas, thoughts or caselaw gratefully recieved.


    I was under the impression that Reg.8(2) means that a person has a liability even where it has been discharged. I remember looking at a very similar case to the one you describe, and my initial reaction was to say that the clt was not entitled as she had no liability for the period during which her ex partner had paid the rent (his name was on the tenancy agreement as well – she said because he had paid the deposit for her and LL insisted). I was pointed in the direction of 8(2) by a more senior officer.

    As regards the treatment of payments from an absent partner, I also recall being told that they were treated as maintenance, but cannot seem to lay my hands on the relevant provision at the moment!


    Have asked around the office and have come to the conclusion that payments from an absent partner are classed as ‘voluntaray payments’, which are usually disregarded under Sch.5 para 14, but not where the payments are made by a former partner.


    I think the Regs are very clear on the discharged liability v income issue. Extract from HB Reg 42:

    [i:3fd8a5e325]”(6) Any payment of income … made—

    (b) to a third party in respect of a single claimant or in respect of a member of the family (but not a member of the third party´s family) shall … be treated as possessed by that single claimant or by that member to the extent that it is used for the food, household fuel or, subject to paragraph (13), rent or ordinary clothing or footwear, of that single claimant or, as the case may be, of any member of that family or is used for any council tax or water charges for which that claimant or member is liable”[/i:3fd8a5e325];

    Para (13) defines “rent” as eligible rent less non-dep deductions – in other words, the rent that HB is supposed to cover.

    This is backed up by Reg 8 as emmadring says.

    So I think the correct approach from the outset would have been to include the £130 as maintenance income (it cannot be voluntary income, as emmadring correctly points out).

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